Do Your Best
This is a phrase we don’t use much in our home, as B dislikes it. Hearing doing one’s best is an impossible mountain he’s yet obligated to climb (and fail). I’m curious about it because it’s become part of a life-mantra a spirit-friend and I laughed aloud together: Show up. Don’t know why. Do your best. Several times this week, I found myself showing up without any pretense of purpose--not knowing why I was there--then making a small, therefore unexpected contribution. Is that doing my best?
Like yesterday morning at a Zoom presbytery meeting. I contributed a small action that seemed to mean a lot to someone I don’t know well but care about all the same. Because I had shown up, because I stayed present, I could assist in moving forward a process of unfortunate (and increasing) miscommunication with least harm. I left the meeting before it concluded. It felt like I had served a purpose, so was complete.
All of which places in me once again in feeling so very mis-aligned within institutional settings that don’t gather as I know human beings can gather, that don’t make decisions in ways I wish human beings could…that ultimately don’t love one another in ways I know human beings can love one another...when we learn to slow down, to actually see one another across inherited/ingrained habits or processes we’ve been deceived to think are being the church. Again and again, I wonder why the hell I’m still within the church as configured today. Am I addicted to purpose or would leaving be doing my best?
I spend little time and energy within Presbyterian Church (USA) things anymore. There’s not enough there there to feel like it matters for what I value. Renouncing jurisdiction–my ordination–doesn’t feel Led...yet. This affiliation matters in my work at United. I do have a primarily sacramental understanding of Godde’s work in the world. Ordination to Word&Sacrament offers a coherent formal container for that, even as how the PCUSA goes about its business stymies me. The processes continuing to be used–Robert’s Rules of Order, etc. etc.--insure that politics will overpower interconnection and mission. I’m clearly not in charge, though, so as community norms dictate, once a year, I show up.
Twice this past week, because I’ve shown up without any pretense of purpose, I’ve made an unexpected, small contribution that seemed to matter a lot to another who was getting stymied by or unheard within "the community." Which was also arguably doing “its best” within its socially-accepted process, it should be noted. A friend’s words therefore landed in me as gift this week: “...which is why you play an important role…you see people like us,” she said.
For now, maybe I simply stay put, if only to be present with those whose holy hungers/gifts are getting lost in the current ruins. Doing my best could mean showing up without any pretense of institutional purpose.
That I can do.