Roger Ebert, famed Chicago film critic, passed away this week and although I wasn’t a devotee, I do remember seeing his show many years ago. As I read the article in homage to him, I read about how, in the later days of his cancer, his mouth and jaw were eaten away enough that he couldn’t use his mouth in the same way you and I can and this caused him to turn to writing to express himself, especially creatively. When he did that, he could forget about his disability for awhile and feel like the “me I was meant to be.”
Isn’t that a foretaste of heaven? To feel so utterly you when doing something? I reflected on that and wondered when I most feel like the me I was meant to be, as God created me to be. When do I feel joy? I immediately thought of two places/activities: when I’m at the whiteboard in front of teenagers that I love, [hopefully] illuminating a concept for them; and when I’m in my kitchen at my mixer, making something with sugar, flour, butter, chocolate. Other places come to mind, like in the arms of my sons/husband, reading a good book (especially in a hot tub or on a beach) texting a friend, or singing with my daughter. These all show how the Lord gives us innumerable tastes of joy and sweetness right here on Earth.
What I like the most is how my former list is not just a receptive act, like the latter one is; but how He allows us to participate in our joy. I don’t know why teaching and baking come so easily, but I’m thankful they do because it’s so fun. I’m in my ‘happy place’ when I’m engaging in those ways. And did you notice how when you’re experiencing joy like this, others vicariously do too? We get swept up in others’ passions and especially where frosting is involved, then we’re all having fun.
Thankfully, our first son is noticing this as he recently decided that school is not the place for him. He was born on the go and he’s stayed that way, exhausting his parents along the way. Now our little busy body is a grown man who is finding joy in his work and using all his gifts that coalesce each day. Thank God for his energy, his quick adaptability and his likability. He, like me and you, is discovering that when we do what God has gifted us to do, we echo Roger Ebert and feel the “me I was meant to be.”