The Gift of Misfits
The world is so empty if one thinks only
of mountains, rivers and cities;
but to know someone who thinks and feels with us,
and who, though distant,
is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us
an inhabited garden.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Our faith and scripture is clear that God is with us in life (think Advent - Emmanuel, God-with-us, think Palm Sunday/Easter)...going through our struggles with us...not rescuing us out of things, but calling forth the best in us in every situation. We are not just biding time in this life until we “get to heaven” later. No...God is with us here, right in the middle of it all...and calling us to listen deeply for the nudgings and proddings of the Holy Spirit, especially in the Dark Wood times of our journey. And, for this, we need travelling companions by our side. Not just any travelling companions, but “misfits” as Eric Elnes calls them in his book Gifts of the Dark Wood.
He describes a misfit as someone who is being as intentional as you are about embracing the gifts of the Dark Wood and finding their place in the world. Intentional about responding to the Holy Spirit in living God’s love at home and in the world. Elnes names 3 types of misfits who can serve as powerful companions in our travels in the Dark Wood where there are gifts that help us : interpretive guide or mentor, a small band of travelling companions, a misfit community of faith (157-162).
Who has been part of your “misfit” community? Who has been with you at times in the Dark Wood journey of your life? Perhaps a mentor, a guide, a small group, your faith community?
This Sunday, in the response time you will be invited to write a thank-you note to someone who has been part of your “misfit” community. You might want to get started early!
Palm Sunday blessings. Hosanna! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord! (Mark 11:9)