sometimes you read something about someone and you think, "man, i really wish someone would say that about me someday."
well, at least i do.
and that happened this morning. i was reading frederick buechner's words about a teacher he once had who taught the old testament with passion and pizazz, just close enough to foolishness to be memorable and meaningful in a way that only a person possessed with conviction can really do. anyway, buechner is writing about this man, "james muilenburg," and he writes:
"'Every morning when you wake up,' he used to say, 'before you reaffirm your faith in the majesty of a loving God, before you say I believe for another day, read the Daily News with its record of the latest crimes and tragedies of mankind and then see if you can honestly say it again.' He was a fool in the sense that he didn't or couldn't or wouldn't resolve, intellectualize, evade, the tensions of his faith but lived those tensions out, torn almost in two by them at times. His faith was not a seamless garment but a ragged garment with the seams showing, the tears showing, a garment that he clutched about him like a man in a storm." (from Now and Then)
if words like that ended up on my tombstone, i wouldn't be disappointed. if i would come back as a ghost and see those words and hear people say such a thing about me, i would be proud of such a legacy. i would also wonder why i was a ghost roaming the earth, but that's another matter entirely. anyway, i would love it if people would call me a "fool" in the sense that i don't have to have every detail of this magical marvelous life detailed and organized and filed away in the cabinet of reason and rationality. i want to be known for living in the tensions between brokenness and redemption, questions and answers, journeys and destinations, hope and a broken heart. i don't want to pretend like my faith is a seamless garment, without doubt, without wrinkles, without wonder. no, i want the truth to be known and to be told, that my faith is, even at its best, a dirty rag, but one that i cling to as truth even so. that it sustains me. that it emboldens me. that it inspires me to live with abandon.
and so it occurs to me today, that if i want people to think such things about me when i'm gone, i'd darn well better make sure i'm living that way now: being honest about my doubts as well as my convictions, and living all of it intentionally, abundantly.