It’s rare that I post anything I think about that’s more religious than philosophical, in part because I don’t feel comfortable sharing my faith much outside direct conversation with other people. There are certain pieces of myself that are not for public consumption, despite the fact that I typically share just about anything with people if I can do so directly at a place and time of my own choosing. However, at certain moments sharing is necessary, even if only in an online and therefore somewhat distant manner.
One appropriate occasion for sharing comes from my first visit to the church where my youngest sister is now working. The church itself is not my focus, nor is the sermon from her senior pastor – instead it was the “children’s moment” that grabbed first my mind and then my heart with a single comment. In speaking about the Christmas story, one of the groups of people mentioned along with Mary, Joseph, the cow, angels, and shepherds was the wise men. Specifically, the astrologers or magi who brought three gifts.
What was most pertinent to my mind however was not any of that, but the mere statement made that although the Bible states three gifts were given, we have no idea how many wise men were actually present. I was suspicious of this at first, because I seemed to remember that somewhere somewhen someone had named the individuals present and that there were three. Perhaps we just think that wise men had figured out that things work better when each person chips in on the gifts.
It did make me think about just who the wise men were and what role they would have played in their societies at that time. A person who can afford to drop everything and wander off following celestial movements is not a person tied down with everyday reality. Such people are seekers, like me, who quite possibly will never be satisfied. I struggle to find fulfillment, especially at this time of year, in my life choices and lifestyle, in my faith, in my sense of purpose, and in my relationships. I remain often not quite satisfied, which can be a source of consistent frustration.
Yet it is also a gift. My inner restlessness has prompted me to not settle for a mundane existence. I have done many things that others have not and never will. I have traveled, lived abroad and in various cities across the U.S., experimented with multiple professions, learned, taught, changed, and thrived in a variety of environments. And while all that movement can chafe at times, it has also made me something greater than I would otherwise be, something I can’t quite see clearly from the inside. It will continue to transform me, and even though I will continue to struggle with the amount of change and questioning and self examination and development I take into my life regularly, I embrace the fact that I will in some manner be continually unsatisfied with my life.
Most of all I hope that that seeking means I will be able to give my own gifts to others due to those experiences and that continuing search.