As I get older, I seem to be more affected by things - more emotional, more ready to cry, more aware of the things which are less than perfect in this world. Sometimes I wonder whether it's just being tired more often that leads me to this - I can feel myself getting emotional at the end of movies, not just the heartstring tugging stuff! Not that I burst into tears at X-men or anything.
I think the more I see of life, the more profoundly affected i am by it. I see the horror of violence and war, the evil that people can perpetrate, the loss which comes from death and the power of the ties of love that bind us. I like to think that I am becoming more aware and empathic than I was as an empty headed teenager, and certainly part of the process of growing older and maturing is having a certain dissatisfaction with the way things are, and longing to change things for the better. It's not a case of 'it was so much better when I was younger' because in lots of ways it wasn't. I'm just more aware of the joys and horrors of the world now.
In part having kids has made me see how fragile and precious life is. Taking lots of funerals also makes me aware of the same thing, and what a profound effect the most simple soul can have on many lives just by being a normal, thoughtful, caring individual. All those moments which those of us in ministry are privileged to share a role in - birth, marriage, death, the struggles and triumphs of everyday life have served to broaden and deepen my appreciation of the present moment and the things which are most valuable - namely family, friends, love, companionship, hope and faith.
My growing knowledge of Christian faith (even us ministerial types are on a constant 'learning curve') has caused me to grow in passionate commitment to 'growing the kingdom' - sharing and living gospel values of justice, peace, love, spiritual and social growth. I think as I get to know Jesus better I see more and more of his agenda - a radically inclusive, constantly questioning faith which longs to bring in God's kingdom - or perhaps more accurately, the 'reign of God' in the hearts, minds and lives of women and men who are dedicated to following this strange, difficult, committed, grace-filled Son of God. I hope I never lose that ability to cry, laugh, shout and whisper in faith or that vision of a world made whole which compels me to follow, to serve and to be the one who God is calling me to be.
God bless you in your seeking and finding, in believing and belonging.