Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Perspective: Raising or Experience

NaBloPoMo Prompt for 2/18: What has had more influence on your life perspective: your upbringing or your experiences?

At this point in my life, my experiences have had a greater influence than my upbringing. The testing, tempering, and trial of what my parents imparted has been transmuted into something different in me. 

Still, it must be said that my upbringing has likely shaped some or many of the experiences of my life. 

My parents both went West at some point. So did I. 

My parents pursued things unexpected. So did I. 

There are many things like this in my life. 

Two years ago, I was at a preaching conference where one of the speakers was explaining the concept of Midrash- a way of filling gaps through imagination and prayer to extend a biblical story. He spoke about how Midrash would be a new concept to the congregations we serve. Additionally, we needed, as clergy, to learn to wrestle with Scripture in the deep way. "It's okay to be frustrated with God," he said. 

I turned to my friend at a break and said, "What actually frustrates me here is that I already know this. If I learned anything from my parents, it is this: faith is hard, horrible, hefty work. You will definitely limp away. But, by God, you will be blessed. 

Blessings may not always look like what you want. Or what you hope for. Limping is not fun. It is never about being happy. But there is joy unparalleled in exploring beyond the words, beyond the pat answers, beyond the Sunday morning. 

In the wrestling, in the singing, in the tears, in the silence, in the communion, in the isolation, you will hear whispered the words of eternal life. Because they do not exist anywhere else."

This was the Midrash of my parents- the perspective that I left there house with- in my head and my heart. 

There are many things they taught that I decided to unlearn and some that I forgot. But Midrash, the story of faith that is beyond words, that is my experience of God. And I only know it because my parents brought me up to recognize it. 

1 comment:

Mary Beth said...

I wish I could buy you a drink and sit face to face to talk more about this. I am very fascinated by the question you raise, because my initial response would've been "raising," but considering it in the light of your post, I am not sure now.

I lived with my parents for 18 years, but there have been 30 other years since then...hmm.