Let Your Life Speak
Listening for the Voice of Vocation
by Parker J. Palmer
Published: Jossey-Bass Inc., 2000
Learning to listen to the way God created us instead of trying to fit ourselves into the mold we think we “should” follow – this is the “bent” of Palmer’s book. I would have to say that the “bent”of my life has been to fit into molds – molds created by others, by my own misinterpretations of life, and by my desire to please others first and foremost. This has been my “brokenness” which has limited God’s purposes in me.
The message in Let Your Life Speak invites us to ourselves, selves created to uniquely express one specific of the image of God, and thus to God Himself. In this light, we are being called into community, into relationship that gives and receives, feeds and is fed, needs and fulfills needs, sorrows and rejoices with one another, invites one another into God’s glory and brings great glory to God as His reflection is revealed here on earth.
Parker invites us, through his own story, into process and journey, to learn to listen to our lives in order to truly become ourselves. He invites us to learn to discover our way as way closes, as way drives us to ground, and as way brings clarity to our vocation and purpose in this life. We are invited to be real, to be honest and live with integrity, honoring who we were created to be in order to truly lead from within. Let Your Life Speak also invites us to understand and revel in the beauty of each season of life and to fully enter in to the sumptuous bounty of what each season offers us to enrich our own stories and our interactions with our communities. Intentionality is required to bring ourselves to the place where we are free to honor the purpose and beauty of each season in our lives, but, oh, the abundant fruitfulness that is poured out when we do!
A couple of my favorite passages:
As I learn more about the seed of true self that was planted when I was born, I also learn more about the ecosystem in which I was planted – the network of communal relations in which I am called to live responsively, accountably, and joyfully with beings of every sort. Only when I know both seed and system, self and community, can I embody the great commandment to love both my neighbor and myself. (p. 17)
The key to this form of community involves holding a paradox-the paradox of having relationships in which we protect each other’s aloneness. We must come together in ways that respect the solitude of the soul, that avoid the unconscious violence we do when we try to save each other, that evoke our capacity to hold another life without dishonoring its mystery, never trying to coerce the other into meeting our own needs.
It is possible for people to be together that way… (pp. 92-93)
Truly, I desire to let my life speak, and to speak well of the way I am created!