[In] the Book of Isaiah (55:10-11) the word of God is envisioned as the rain God sends to earth, and the prophet declares that it will not return empty, but bearing good fruit. If we are made in God's image, perhaps we are also words of God in this sense, and our life's pilgrimage is to determine what our particular word is and how we are to bring it to fruition. Within this frame of reference, we can envision the whole of our life as a journey home.
Kathleen Norris, Acedia and Me
Back in the early 1960s, I was confirmed in the First Congregational Church of Ridgefield, Connecticut. I remember some things about that day very clearly: what shoes I wore, where I was standing, how the light looked on the green carpet. The tall minister gave me a new Bible with my name written on the front page, and shook my hand. Then he said "Laurel, here is your Personal Watchword…", and read a scripture verse from a small card. I remember that he gave me the card. I remember that I put it in my Bible, a treasure tucked into a treasure.
But I don't remember the verse. My family moved many many times, and when in her packing frenzy, my mom was ruthless with her children's treasures. If she thought we should have outgrown something, it simply disappeared. Stuffed animals, plastic horses, books simply never showed up at the new place. So the little card is long gone.
When I hit my 20s, I got rid of that Bible myself.
By then, I had collected a lot of books about other spiritual traditions, and the one I grew up in seemed small. And, perhaps, a little mean. But mostly, it was Not Hip, as almost everyone I knew hastened to inform me. Eventually, I decided to eschew all spiritual traditions, because I could not figure out how to balance any of them with so-called "real life".
Which makes me laugh today. And lately, I have been wondering what my Personal Watchword was. Was it Old Testament? New Testament? Cautionary? Loving? Would knowing what words Reverend Lund had chosen for me then be of value to me now? Would my life have been different? Fewer clouds, or a better drenching?
Now, fresh on the heels of yet another relocation, here comes my hilarious God, giving me a new friend, who loans me Ms. Norris's book. Wherein she suggests that we are the Word. And then an old friend writes and shares the perfect prayer. Once again, Godde getteth the last laugh.
Well, whatever. I'm in. For what has been, thanks. For what is to come, yes.