Archive for June, 2011

Seeya Bo Peep.
June 5, 2011

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.  To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.  The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.  So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.  But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.  After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.  The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’  His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’  The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’  His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’  Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’  His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.  ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.  For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”
Matthew 25:14-30

 

We all know that five talent guy, right?   The one with the charm and the focus, the one who stayed in the library while we watched some bound-to-let-us-down-or-confuse-us series finale.  It’s the guy who now has his student loans paid off because of the enviable job he got because of how hard he worked at a great college because he got into that college because of his scholarships because he could gosh darn throw/dunk/kick a foot/basket/soccer ball after wheeling senior citizens around at his job at the nursing home before sharpening his pencils to underline every last hidden meaning in one of the unabridged novels of an author you not only couldn’t pronounce, but only had the Cliffsnotes partially glanced at.  It’s that guy.

We “like” the photo of his new office-with-a-view on facebook, we high-five him at the class reunion, we brag about him to our friend’s friend who thinks they’ve got it figured out… “Oh yea? Well my best friend Mr. Five Talents is saving orphans while climbing the Forbes ladder.” 

Do we want to be him? Eh.  We want the credit score and our moniker carved into a snazzy brass nameplate or etched on the frosted pane of a glass door, but do we want to stay late at the office? Take the inevitable risks? Volunteer away our free time?
Not really.  Or at least not any more than we wanted to chime in at a study group over two-steppin’ at a frat party.

(Un)fortunately I am related to not one, not two, not three, not four, but five “Five Talent Guys” …  that’s right … 5/6 of our clan took Matthew, and the Lord, pretty darn seriously when it was time to take what they’d been given and max out their potential for the Kingdom.
I see it in the faces of my Dad’s patients, Mom’s sons, Bob’s degrees and disarming humility, Dave’s, well, life… and ditto for Dan.

You’d think I’d go sheepishly dig up the talent I buried, and get crackin’ at the roulette wheel… or the job fair. 

 

 

But here’s the thing…

 

 

I don’t think I’m doing it wrong.

 

Not too long ago I sipped a lemon-sweet martini and threw my out-of-control lion mane back in laughter, catching up on the lives of friends who were major players, and sometimes the only good things, in a dark season I choose quite often not to revisit.  Life’s funny, and so, even in it’s sometimes sad retelling… there is humor.  But sometimes… there’s just nothing comical about it.

One of my beautiful friends, a woman angelic in her sincerity and kindness, tipped a brave smile while telling us that the son she & her husband have waited and prayed for, will not be coming home to them from Ethiopia this summer even though they had waited.  And prayed. 

And so while she stared down the barrel of a season without what she’d planned for… she said something to me.
“I don’t think we’re going to paint & prepare the nursery… I don’t think I could walk by it every single day.”

No kidding.
I wouldn’t either.

Nor would I be able to walk into a Pottery Barn Kids, or be able to RSVP “yes” to the eleven baby shower invites latticed into my French board, or diaper tots on my church’s changing table.

 

And while in most ways her situation doesn’t completely match or echo where I’m at with my spade and my covered earth, it did give me an image for why I furiously dig instead of deal.

 

I don’t want to look at a glaring representation of broken hope.
I don’t want to hear the word “No.”
I don’t want to fail. I don’t want to hurt. I don’t want to know for sure that I’m not actually as good at __fill in the blank__ as I thought I was.

 

So here’s my genius plan.  … I’ll keep what you give me safe & sound, Jesus, and I’ll feel pretty proud of myself while I tap my toe over the dirt that covers what I’m keeping safe for you.

I’m most definitely not going to see the missing zeroes in my bank statement and run off to full-time ministry in Manhattan.  I am absolutely not going to quit my job, give up my health insurance, and spend my days busily writing out all that swims in my head and heart to finally finish my book.
Listen God, I’m still styling, I’m still building relationships, I’m still telling jokes, I’m still listening, I’m still typing away on my computer keys… just on a smaller, less fear-filled scale.

tap…tap…tap… dirt’s secure… talent’s safe.

 

Plus God… where would I start? Wait… but God, now that I think about it, I do want to start… I want life to start. Wait, God, are you listening? I’m sorry… please don’t let me go wasted.  Remember when we worked as a team? Do you remember the faces of those women when we spoke at the Relate conference? Do you remember the giggles elicited at that styling event? Did you see that e-mail from the girl who was changed from the blog? Wait… wait, please don’t let me go wasted… I didn’t mean to disappoint you, listen, I’m just scared… I’m so scared… God I don’t want to live apart from You and I don’t think I can live unless I use my me-ness, and understand why my pieces were patched together like this.  Quick, help me, I have to get under this sod… but now the shovel seems too heavy and I… no, I, no.  I don’t want to get my hopes up.  I don’t want to try and then realize that apron-strings and undressed mannequins were the best I’d ever do.  Can you help me please? Please? Please God?
I’m so scared.  And so lost. And so tired.  And my life looks like an empty nursery, it exhibits all that’s been hoped for but doesn’t have the gift in it yet so that it makes sense.  My personhood seems like a crib without the babe… just purposeless.

 

 

 

“You’re always afraid to take the first step cause all you see is every negative thing ten miles down the road.”

 

Does anyone else see in Will’s eyes that he’s just so afraid? And that’s why he doesn’t have an answer?
I can bullshit with the best of them too.  I don’t think I’ve ever waxed on about shepherding, but I sure have daydreamed out loud about stand up comedy joke telling, book writing, column contributing, adopted kid parenting, husband loving, and when it comes down to it… I’m not doing any of those things.

Sure, yes, absolutely there is honor in refilling glasses & folding cardigans, but what’s not honorable is doing those things because you are simply too afraid to dig your talent up out of the ground and do what you were created for.

  

 

“Much dreaming and many words are meaningless.  Therefore stand in awe of God.”  Ecclesiastes 5:7