Poor and Blessed
Talking to a man going through a devastating life transition. Now in his sixties, he’d always been a man who could make things happen through sheer intellect and effort: built businesses from the ground up and rose to top leadership in church and ministry. He derived his identity primarily from those two focuses—from ironclad beliefs that were both anchor and compass.
But a series of disillusioning events at the church drove a deconstruction of his faith and beliefs that cast him adrift, a down-spiral that included alcohol and a bad fall that incapacitated him long enough to lose his business and nearly his family as well. Four years later, he’s saying he wishes he could go back to the days when life made sense, that he’s not contributing anymore, doesn’t feel value to life. Thinks maybe he should move to a larger city where he’d have opportunities to volunteer, maybe write a book, start a new business.
I so resonate with this man.
I know that true identity never comes from temporary accomplishment and recognition, but from a silent place within that no one will ever see or applaud. That experiencing this deeper identity infuses meaning from inside out, rather than trying to extract it, vampire-like, from another source. And yet I still feel the pull to do something others will see as significant, leave a legacy that will outlive, a mark on the world like carving into a tree that I was here.
I know that in two generations, no one will remember me.
Two generations. That’s it. Even if I leave a book or legacy, my products may be remembered, but not me. If I can’t find value right now, typing these words careless of whether anyone reads them, I won’t find it anywhere else.
When Jesus says we’re blessed when we’re poor in spirit, he’s saying just that: to have an attitude of poverty even if we’re rich, admit complete dependence, realize we don’t exist individually but only in connection with each other, is the only meaning that is permanent. We’re blessed—whole and complete—the moment we can stop striving to be different to be remembered, laying back into the grateful anonymity of oneness with all that is.