Steve@50 part 1 – Finding the Path by Walking It
I am now 50 years old, and a month, and a day. Ouch.
Before I turned 50, I heard one of those sermons that keeps working itself out in my thoughts, specifically, it was the introduction to the sermon where Dr. Beverly Jones, the Chaplain of Southwestern University was remembering a cathedral she visited years ago in Europe, how she noticed a labyrinth built into its stone floor of the narthex. It was a room crowded with tourists rushing their way to see the sanctuary, and she looked down and saw this ancient stone path.
Dr. Jones talked of following the labyrinth to see where that experience led her; how it felt to follow a path oblivious to those pushing toward a view of the Chancel. She spoke about walking a path that others do not follow, know about, or see, and how we are still called do it, even when we don’t know where it will lead us. Quoting ancient wisdom “we find the path by walking it,” she said, and I knew it to be true to my soul.
That sermon began an interesting conversation in my mind with Barbara Brown Taylor’s latest book, an Altar in the World. Taylor talks about the spiritual practice of lost-ness, how she set out to be married, and ended up divorced, to be healthy, ending up sick, to be a village priest, and now teaches college. I think of my own journey, musician, computer scientist, pastor, and now 30 years later back to being a musician, working in a church. Like Taylor, it is a path “no one in their right mind would have chosen” , but whose treasure outweighs the “projected wages in the life I had planned.” Esteemed philosopher Guy Clark observed the same
Sometimes you write the songs, sometimes the songs write you.
We went to see the movie Julie and Julia a few weeks ago, a wonderful movie that chronicled the story of a historical Julia Child set against the modern day blogger Julie Powell as she cooked her way through Julia’s first book. Similarly lost, both Julia and Julie found their way in the art of French Cooking. It was a lostness I understood, a movie I totally connected with, because I’ve been finding my way in the kitchen too, not a French one, but an Indian kitchen, through the teachings of another Julie, Julie Sahni, and her wonderful book “Classic Indian Cooking”. If the ancient wisdom says we find the path by walking it, then I’ve found my path by cooking it. It has been a delicious adventure.