I had never heard the phrase, until about a month ago. And why would I? Apparently it is a phrase that comes out of the Peter Drucker school of management theory — not exactly my specialty. There is even a consultancy manual to guide the executive towards diversification. The friend who used the phrase in relationship to my life and the many and varied ways I am drawn in my life, said that they first heard it while travelling in Africa and believed it to be a cultural term, not a business one. In my dreams, my research led me to anthropological tracts about the glorious of a natural, unsegmented life and the evils of the western emphasis on specialization. I like my made-up definition better, of course, but the truth of it is, though, that hearing those two words lifted the weight of the world from my shoulders and gave me permission, well, to be me.
You see, when you graduate from seminary, everyone expects you to seek ordination. Otherwise, why did you go to seminary?
And if you have devoted your life to making music and performing, surely you must be all about your singing career, right?
And if you happen to be a somewhat appealing writer, why aren’t you focusing on that career? Or your call to live into the storyteller’s art?
And what about that call to listen and to teach? Why aren’t you focusing on growing your practice as a spiritual director? Why are you still singing? Why do you spend so much time at the library?
And the ultimate question — why don’t you just grow up and choose something to do?
Why? Why? Why? These are just a few of the questions that I meet on a regular basis, from people who know me just a little and from people who know me well — because, well, going plural is just not the done thing in our culture, not a willing done thing, anyway.
I used to believe that in that moment when I finally heard God’s voice clearly , well, my calling would be one thing, right? A solid path, a single way — something clear and, well, direct. I could not have been more wrong. And I could not have spent more hours and days tied in knots, thinking that I didn’t yet know my next step because, well, it was a single thing.
There are many threads to my life — and sometimes they get, well, a little tangled. And I know that to many people, I look unfocused. And, I spend way to much time crying because I believe their analysis.
I’m changing that. I choose to believe God’s analysis instead — yes, people, I’m going plural. I’m stopping the quest for a tent big enough to hold all of these things and tie them together into a single cloth — I realize now that I am that clothe. I am the woven creation and on the best days, love operates the shuttle.
So, world, I am putting myself on notice. This is the last day I complain about being splintered, about being pulled in too many directions. This is the last day that I let that perception immobilize me. The loom is dressed. Let the weaving begin.
I’m going plural in a big, big way. Many colors, many threads — who knows what the final clothe will be like?