Finding Your Place in Creation

Honey Mesquite (photo, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station)

Honey Mesquite (photo, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station)

Sister Alma Rose gets around. She don’t just sit on her grass-green porch in her grass-green rocker at her big white house at Hilltop Farm and crochet doilies and spout wisdom the way Old Faithful spouts… whatever it is that Old Faithful spouts.

One day, when Sister Alma Rose was in Arizona, she was setting next to a sunny window — sometimes, in southern Arizona, it’s exceedingly difficult to find a window that ain’t sunny — and she’s gazing absently at the mesquite tree right out next the window. As y’all probably know, mesquite trees has thousands (or maybe millions) of tiny oval leaves… and Sister Alma Rose says to herself, each one of those leaves is absolutely essential to the life of that tree.

That’s when Sister Alma Rose understood that each of us is like one of them little tiny leaves. We all have us a place in Creation — a niche only we can fill — and finding that place — which is the place that both gives us, as individuals, the most joy and fulfillment, and also does the most possible benefit to the world, to the universe, to “all sentient beings,” as the Buddhists has it — is everyone’s assignment.

Jon Sullivan)

Old Faithful (photo: Jon Sullivan)

Soon after that, someone (Dr. Gerry Swanson, a great man) gave Sister Alma Rose a copy of The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, which, if y’all ain’t read it, is a lovely little fable about how the Universe knocks itself out pointing y’all in the direction of your niche, your place, your destiny, your joy… and simple abundance. And if y’all ain’t paying attention, then the Universe will give y’all a big, and often uncomfortable, jolt to wake y’all up. Bonk. Thud.

Anne Lamott has written that huge pain often precedes huge joy, only she didn’t use them exact words, but Sister Alma Rose can’t find the place where Anne Lamott put that thought down in words much more eloquently whimsical than Sister Alma Rose’s words. It’s like giving birth, that huge pain is, and y’all who’s done that knows that when y’all’s in the middle of it, there’s a time when y’all’s thinking, this is not a Good Thing, I am hating this, and then, out jumps the Joy.

Sister Alma Rose was in a Dark Place when she wrote the song “All Alone.” The Universe was pulling her every which-a-way, and she just throws herself into God’s arms and says, “Take me away, somewhere, anywhere but here,” and God holds her a bit for a little rest and then sets her down in a new place, where there’s love, and light, and a calling. Sister Alma Rose prays y’all will find that place of your own, and maybe, if y’all be paying attention, y’all will find that place without the Universe having to pick y’all up and drop y’all down real hard on y’all’s head.

All alone, just me and you, O Lord,
we are all alone in the world. I need you to
help me through this moment, God— please
strengthen me when I am weary.
My only home is here with you. There’s a
peace I’ve never known before.
I need you alone, my God,
and nothing more.

There’s a sickness in my heart
only you can heal. When I
come apart, only you
can make me whole again.
Only you my tattered soul can mend.

Only you can lift my spirit high. Only you
can shine in the dark; only you can
heal my broken heart and put my
mind at ease when I am afraid. But you
paid the price. Now I am free. You
gave your life for me, and I will
never need to feel all alone

Reconcile me, Lord, to
brother and sister. Help me to
find my place in Creation. Take my life
and make it a celebration of your grace.

And the flame inside my heart will blaze, and will
light the way for others, lost and
all alone, as I once was… and together
we shall gather in your love.

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