Thursday, December 13, 2012

What does that MEAN?

The other morning I was working from home and so had the rare fortune of being on Skype at the same time as my college buddy E-Dubs, back in the States. As always, conversation was both edifying and ridiculous. Love that girl.

One of the things we talked about was the idea of "living fully". You can insert modifiers of any sort you wish: living fully... as a mother, as an atheist, as a divorcee, as a Christian, as an adjunct prof, as a single adult, as one of those first-time-on-the-job-market-and-I-want-to-plunge-myself-into-a-deep-dark-bottomless-pit people (for which, THIS).

Part of this blog's quest is to figure out what it means to live fully as a single, and as we talked I realized I thought it meant, in some measure, "being at peace". But E-Dubs reminded me that that can't be it, in part because as a Christian a full life must somehow be reminiscent of the life of Christ, yet Christ himself lived a life of sorrow, of solitude (both sought and unsought for), of frustration at the myopic lives of his closest friends--the men and the women who were his disciples.

Anyway, we all know to be wary of the Grass is Always Greener: I'll be at peace when___ (I get tenure, I have a husband, I have a good job, I own a house, I learn how to cook a decent risotto, When Christ Comes Again To Earth, etc.). That's no good, yet it's not bad to live in hope of those things. (Here's me whipping out the theology: it's about learning to live fully in the midst of eschatological tension--the historical era between Christ's first coming (hurrah for Christmas!) and his second).

So here's the question for discussion. If "being a peace" has less to do with living fully, then what DOES? What does that phrase really mean, anyway? And what if you just..aren't...getting...there (whereever "there" is)?

Help a sister out; tell me what it means, in some small way, for us to live fully.

(Note: you may now leave comments anonymously on this blog-- this is to encourage more dialogue)


  1. I love that tumblr thing so, so very much.

    I dunno about the whole "living fully" thing, though. It just always sounds like so much... pressure. I feel like I could spend all my time wondering, "am I living fully? how about now? or maybe now?" and generally stressing out about it.

    But I have been thinking about being at peace and being content quite a bit lately, and I think, for me, that's linked simply to being aware of and attentive to all sorts of things: the flowers in my garden, a well-crafted sentence, laughter with a friend. When I pay attention to all these little transient things, I somehow feel more grateful and more contented... and less like I'm kicking the can down the road, waiting for my life to start. (Hmm. There may be another blog post on this topic...)

  2. That's really a stickler, isn't it? But I think you may have been onto something about peace being connected to living fully. Sometimes I think about the saints and note that they often seem to have both this peace and this experience of living fully. But they also experience anguish and, often, terrible physical and emotional pain (like Christ, as you mentioned). So they had peace, but they also have pain.

    Is this what we are called to, maybe -- finding peace that is NOT linked to whether or not we have pain. We are very quick to assume that peace is the absence of pain or of trouble -- that's what it means, right? But then I think about times when I have felt at peace within myself even in times of trouble -- for example, when I have done something wrong, but have resolved to repent. I still feel terrible about the situation, but I don't's not the same once I've reached that point of repentance and a desire for reparation. And it doesn't really matter what happens after that in the situation; I know I'm doing my utmost. It makes me feel...forgiven? Loved?

    I'd need to think about it more to sort it out, but maybe it is the recognition that we cannot create our own peace that opens us up to the peace "which surpasses all understanding." It seems to me like this kind of peace is what opens us up to "living fully." Do you think?

    I am enjoying this blog so much, ladies!


    (Sorry about the alias -- it's a little complicated.)

  3. Elise -

    I found your (unintentional?) typo illuminating: If "being a peace" has less to do with living fully, then what DOES?

    Being at peace may assume an arrival at some arbitrary "there." But being peace to others, often spoken of as imitating Christ (re: a Kempis for example) may be something closer to what we're all searching for when we speak of living fully.

    Just a thought...


Please comment! And please be nice. We'd prefer if you'd use your first name, but understand if you'd rather not.