Sunday, July 10, 2005

A story worth repeating

I may have posted this story before; I don't know. But today, facing a number of decisions about how this day will go, I needed to hear it, and I needed to share it. It comes from the distant past, but I remember hearing it first from storyteller Doug Lipman at the first National Storytelling Festivals I attended, and found it again on the web last night. You can quibble with the theology - being grilled about my life by angels - but it's a powerful lesson nonetheless.
Once, the great Hasidic leader, Zusia, came to his followers. His eyes were red with tears, and his face was pale with fear.

"Zusia, what is the matter, you look frightened!"

"The other day, I had a vision. In it I learned the question the angels will one day ask me about my life."

The followers were puzzled. "Zusia, you are pious. You are scholarly and humble. You have helped so many of us. What question about your life could be so terrifying you would be frightened to answer it?"

Zusia turned his gaze to heaven. "I have learned that the angels will not ask me, "Why weren't you a Moses, leading your people out of slavery?" His followers persisted. "So what will they ask you?"

"And I have learned," Zusia sighed, "that the angels will not ask me, "Why weren't you a Joshua, leading your people to the promised land?"

One of his followers approached Zusia and faced him squarely. Looking him in the eyes, the follower demanded, "But what will they ask of you?"

"They will say to me, "Zusia, there was only one thing that no power of heaven or earth could have prevented you from becoming." They will say, "Zusia, why weren't you Zusia?"

--From The Storytelling Coach by Doug Lipman
Lord God, give the willingness and the strength to grow toward that which you have exclusively created me to be. Amen.


Hope said...

Becoming who we were created to be is the hardest work we do on this earth. The other day I read this quote from Marion Woodman:

"It is easier to pretend to be better than you are than to be who you are."

It's been the desire of my heart for a time already to just be me. Part of that has been coming to the conclusion that I need to let go of having expectations for myself. Just be me. So easy to say, so hard to do.

Anonymous said...

The Divine Within...

We are who we become. If God's grace is part of our life we certainly reflect who we are. Thank you St. John for the view and vision. We need to keep the Divine alive in us.

Our journey goes beyond today even though we live in the now.

Remember your own God Moments, as God has never left us. God walks in and through ou too. +

Allison said...

Beautiful, and oh-so true.

In the early stages of some counseling I went through a couple years ago, I felt that God had spoken to me, saying this:

You have stayed away from Me and run away from Me because you were afraid that I would make you change into someone different. You think you know who that would be, and you see her as boring, drab, and deprived of life, interest, and excitement.

I haven't come to change you into anyone other than who you are. I have come to peel away the layers that you have surrounded yourself with, and to remove the veils that encircle you one at a time, until you stand before me naked, exposed, and utterly gorgeous. And utterly you. I didn't create you, Allison, to be a shy, drab church mouse. Why would I create your sparkling personality just to then tell you to be something other than who you are? I don't work that way. I had great things in mind when I created you, and if you will just let Me, I'll blow your mind with how different your relationship with Me will be than you've ever imagined.

After Friday's deep thoughts, I needed a reminder of moments like that one. Thanks for providing it.

Poor Mad Peter said...


Lorna said...

For many of us, the breeze of the spirit of God comes simply to set us free - to be ourselves.
Thank you for this beautiful reminder!

Blessings, Lorna (not Moses, Joshua, but Lorna :)