Measure (originally written 6-11-21)
“The measure by which you measure will be measured out to you.” Matthew 7:2
I am writing this Embers Post two years to the day that I finished the final leg of the Camino, walking from Sarria to Santiago Spain over five days. It is two weeks since I graduated from St Norbert College with a Master of Theological Studies. In two weeks, my wife Michelle and I will celebrate our 41st wedding anniversary. In one month, God willing, we will welcome our tenth grandchild into our family as our daughter is due to give birth to Molly on June 24th.
How do you measure a life? I have been thinking a lot about that in the last few years. I am not talking about richness or value, as I believe that all life is precious. However, I do find myself reflecting more often these days about the measure of my life, or rather how I measure who I am? It is not an external measure of my life – what others may think about me. It is something internal, a conversation that I have with myself and with God.
I have found that I do intentionally put myself to the test. I completed that MTS degree as a challenge to think bigger about God, my faith and the Church. I have walked the local 21-mile Walk to Mary from The Shrine of St Joseph on the SNC campus in De Pere to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion five times officially. Last year when it was canceled because of COVID I walked it by myself. I have pushed myself much more physically over the past three years, and while I don’t keep a log I know when I have achieved a personal best in distance or steps per day or calories burned.
I also have opened myself up, becoming more vulnerable to others. My daughter Elizabeth is one who regularly reads these weekly posts and has told me that one of the primary reasons that she does is to learn things about me – what I have experienced, how I think, what I feel - that she never knew before. Sometimes, I am not sure why I write what I do except that I feel compelled to. It is personal vulnerability, but it also a hope of connection. A hope that someone else will recognize something about their own life and experiences, thoughts, hopes and feelings that maybe that had not noticed before.
There is something about coming to the realization that you are much nearer to the end of life than the beginning to make you take stock of your values and your value. What is the measure of a person? I am finding that the answer gets more complicated just when you think that it should be coming clearer into focus
At times, to be honest, I know that these recent challenges are because I was wondering how much was left in me. Did I have enough gas in the tank so to speak, am I still capable of significant achievement? What has been going through my heart has ranged from sparks of courage to darkness of doubt – it changes daily, sometimes hourly, just like the weather.
I do know that writing this weekly blog has becomes an important part of my journey. Each blank page brings endless opportunities. There are chances to share a memory, a vision, an experience a thought in hope that it connects, encourages, or inspires or simply brings a smile. I am grateful. I pray that I am measuring up.