In Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith, she asks the question, “What is saving your life now?” She answers it candidly and honestly: teaching school, living in relationship with creation, observing the Sabbath, encountering God
in other people, and committing herself to the task of becoming fully human. She juxtaposes what is saving her life with what is killing her life, which for a while was her dedication to becoming a perfect “professional holy person.”
She also describes what salvation means to her. “In the Bible, human beings experience God’s salvation when peace ends war, when food follows famine, when health supplants sickness and freedom trumps oppression. Salvation is a word for the divine spaciousness
that comes to human beings in all the tight places where their lives are at risk, regardless of how they got there or whether they know God’s name.”
What is saving your life now? I think this is a good question to ponder as we start Holy Week. Reflecting on this question on a regular basis might also be a good spiritual practice. What is saving my life? Personally, I would answer it the following way. Creating art is saving my life right now. The art isn’t perfect and has no production purpose whatsoever. And I don’t even consider myself an artist. But much of the art I am creating is in response to a divine prompting, an image that comes to my mind that pulses through my being and then is expressed in shape, form and color. During lent, I have used art and poetry as spiritual disciplines. This is saving my life.
My relationship with my husband and dog save my life now. I am grateful for the almost twenty years my husband and I have been married, and for how we encourage and support one another. I am grateful to have a partner on this earth who knows and loves my soul. And my dog, golden retriever Paige, is a constant reminder of the loyalty, joy and playfulness in daily life.
Accepting myself and where I am at on my journey are saving my life now. I can be critical of myself and want to be doing so much more. I can have a hard time living in this present moment and accepting who I am in the here and now. Loving myself just as I am in this moment is saving my life now.
Treating all I meet as if they were Christ, a key Benedictine virtue, is saving my life. When I let go of resentment and old hurts, when I see Christ in each person I meet, when I send out loving energy to all whom I meet on my path, I am saving my life. When I am not constricted in anger or envy or even preoccupation, I am saving my life. When I truly greet
and meet another as if they are Christ, I am present to who they are, the totality of who they are as fully human.
What is saving your life now? What is giving you divine spaciousness in the tight places we all experience in life? Where are you experiencing freedom? What is saving your life now?
Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith. New York: HarperOne, 2006.