The fall marathon of traveling and speaking is coming up for Steve and I. We will be crisscrossing the world sharing about Partners, Burma, life and God. We may even share stories about other stuff, such as our dog Marley and our fine daughters, Elise, Naomi and Kristin.
As I was preparing for my talks today (which is still on the stage of: Oh, my gosh, what am I going to say? Where is my Bible? What are the themes that are ‘in’ right now? I am reading five different books, trying to get the inspiration and wisdom that I feel I need.) I thought: I wish I could speak about something fun, something that would give people tools to get rich, beautiful and famous. It would be nice if I had, in my voice, the ten infallible steps to everlasting success.
Instead my themes will all involve refugees, the tools of dictators, admonitions to simpler lives and our responsibilities to work for righteousness, and some useful tools to do so. (Good flashlights and worm medicine are among them.)
Could it get boring? Could it be that people will just get up and leave as I am in the middle of my dissertation, detailing the importance of sustainable development? Well, yes. But as I am thinking of the different speaking opportunities I feel an excitement rising. I don’t need to focus on numbers, on dos and don’t, on theory theology, or on other theories for that matter. I can focus on life. I can focus on the lives of people I have met.
I am thinking of all the people that have made me a richer person over the past year. What did they do that impacted me? What did I learn about life from them? I did for example learn that if you have a lot of fish, you share. I learned that even if it rains and we are wet and uncomfortable, we can still be happy and sing. I learned that one can be grateful for a plate of rice. I learned that courage it to do something scary. I learned that guests feel more welcome if you have lit candles when they arrive. I have learned that it is better to deal with clutter right away. I learned that your teenagers still love you even though they are mean at times. I learned that hugs should not be super short, especially not the ones you give your husband. I learned that one can carry all of one’s belongings in a basket on one’s back.
This and more I have learned, not from books, but from being with people. Wonder if this could be the outline for my teaching? I will not offer financial solutions (other than this: Don’t spend what you don’t have), but I can offer some insight into contentment and happiness. Now, if only I can find my Bible. Then I can find that Jesus taught us a lot of the same things my friends taught me.
Hope to see some of you this fall.