Thursday, January 20, 2011


I love words. While I feel so much of life cannot be adequately expressed through words, and still sometimes a single word carries so much with it, that there is no need for additional thoughts or ideas. While I am not notorious for my brevity, I do love powerful words. Two of my favorites these days are fortuitous - which is defined as not just something happening by chance, but something good happening by chance. The other is magis - a Jesuit phrase that means "more" - as in doing or being more somehow.

Fortuitous has come up several times for me lately. Mostly I think encounters I've had with some interesting people have been fortuitous.

A few years ago I felt this pull or push or drawing into. At first I thought that perhaps I was being called to the priesthood within my church body - the Episcopal church. So, I explored that, albeit reluctantly and with some fear and trembling. Soon though I began to feel the twinges that told me that I was misinterpreting the road signs. That the path I thought I was being pulled onto was not mine to take. With that realization came a little bit of confusion and sadness. If that was not my call, what did that mean? What will I become when I grow up? Will I figure it out prior to being retirement age?

As I continued down the road, somewhat uncertain and angst-ridden, I stumbled (in a very fortuitous way) onto a different path. While I'm still not certain what it means or how it looks, I know for sure how it feels. It feels very much like coming home. It is the magis for me - the more. I first got a glimpse of what this looks like in October as I experienced, very late at night/early in the morning, the theology and praxis of someone I knew very little of. As his excitement lit up the room, I found myself enveloped by it. It was fortuitous. And I felt blessed by the encounter. And changed in some not-so-easily expressed way.

As the months have flown by since that night, I have had so many refreshing moments with people who feel at least somewhat the way I do. That the magis is there - that at this moment in their lives they are being pulled or pushed or taken in by something, something more. Something that I can only call holy. These encounters cannot be described in any other way but to say they are fortuitous.

For example, last weekend I spent time in a community that was a big part of my life as a teenager, I was reminded again of how incredible that sense of belonging to something so much bigger than oneself really is. As I watched kids (of which I was one, sitting there some 20 years ago for the first time) embrace one another and sing and just bask in that warm glow of a loving environment, I remembered the hour I first experienced the power of loving community. It was in this community that I was first loved freely and was able to love others freely. Over and over, as I have experienced this same miracle in various forms, in different places and at different times, I realize just how wonderful a life I have led so far. And I can't help but be excited about what is to come.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend about this fortuitous business I call my life. We both laughed at how timing is sometimes so incredible that of course it can't be an accident, it's not just fortuitous after all, but something much bigger. As we talked and laughed (and cried just a little), my friend expressed to me how deeply he feels this magis. How at this transitional time in his life, it (the big IT) is still there for him. I didn't have to tell him, he already knew...I felt the same way. And how fortuitous for me. To be part of yet another encounter with someone who knows how I feel, and who feels the same way and who is happening along the same road I'm called to travel at this moment in my life. Very fortuitous, indeed.

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