The 18th century rabbi, Zusha, lay crying on his deathbed and no one could comfort him. One of his students asked the rabbi, “Why do you cry? You were almost as wise as Moses and as kind as Abraham.” Rabbi Zusha answered, “When I pass from this world and appear before the Heavenly Tribunal, they won’t ask me, ‘Zusha, why weren’t you as wise as Moses or as kind as Abraham,’ rather, they will ask me, ‘Zusha, why weren’t you Zusha?’ Why didn’t I fulfill my potential, why didn’t I follow the path that could have been mine.”
Each of us has an original giftedness, from which we need to live and a calling to which we need to be faithful. Like Jean Valjean in Les Miserable, we need to ask the question, “Who am I?” and then live the answer faithfully and passionately.
In all honesty, I haven’t found this to be easy. A critical part of my struggle with it happened in 2005. One Sunday morning three months into medical leave because of severe congestive heart failure, I tried to worship at the church where I was a Senior Pastor. It was the first time since my diagnosis that I’d been back. I quickly got so exhausted that I left the service early, drove home, and went straight to bed.
Curling up in a fetal position, devastated that I might never be able to be a pastor again, I cried out to God, “How will you use my gifts if I can’t be a pastor? What will I do?” My spiritual anguish made my body hurt all over. I pleaded for an answer.
The heavy, dark storm clouds outside my window split apart and a beam of sunlight shone through the hole. When I felt its warmth, I opened my eyes in surprise. Then, as clearly as if someone else was in the room, I heard a voice say, “You will be a writer.” The clouds immediately moved back in front of the sun, and its warmth faded. The pain in my body melted away. Finally, I felt peace and purpose.
I know it’s weird, but that’s what happened.
Being Barbara Anderson
So, here I am, all these years later, beginning the book I’ve thought about since that day. I could give lots of excuses as to why it hasn’t happened sooner, but no matter. If I am to be the Barbara Anderson I’m meant to be, my life and writing will be my pulpit. The time has come. I have finally begun a book to be published in the summer of 2020.
With this step, I am changing my blog–a new name with a new purpose. I’ll still write about the humor, wisdom, and struggle of ordinary life, but reference my faith more often. I’ll adapt some of my sermons as blog posts. And, I expect to have a few guest blogs.
Here’s where you come in.
Through my blog, I’d like your input for what to include in my book. If something I write inspires, comforts or challenges you, please let me know. If you remember particular sermons or blog posts that you want me to revisit, let me know that, too. Give me feedback on what you struggle with in life, what you question, what you believe. What would you like me to address in my blog and book?
Barbara Anderson wasn’t created to be a hermit–I think and write best when I’m in conversation with others. So, join me in a conversation that bridges time zones and continents. Help me speak to you and those you love. Please comment on what I write and comment on other readers’ comments. Let’s be partners with God, together. I”m eager to hear from you.