Thursday, July 9, 2009

telling stories, telling lies, teaching truth

Today, Fr. Ken looked me straight in the eye and asked me a shocking question.

He followed it with a shocking personal revelation.

He was smiling, and his blue eyes twinkled, but I still panicked a little, unsettled. I wiped my sweaty palms on my pants and took a breath.

Was he serious? What should I say? How to answer such a question?

I had a feeling my answer was important, but I wasn't quite sure why. Was he testing me? Seeing where I stood? Wondering if they had made the right choice when they hired me?

I took a breath and dove in.

"Yes," I answered.

"I have thought about becoming a saint."

Fr. Ken really asked me this today, and, quite frankly, I believe he wanted me to answer. He might have been surprised to discover that I have given it some thought, but I don't think so. I have the feeling he already knew the answer. He was just trying to get ME to discover it.

What led to such a profound conversation? The current project we're working on in my office involves writing copy for our website. And where there's writing, there are words. And where there are words, there's amazing, unbelieveable, awe-inspiring....power.


Yep, that's what I said. Power. And with power comes responsiblity. And challenge. And most importantly, with words come


What Fr. Ken was trying to illicit from me was not just a confused "Huh?"
Rather, he wanted a story - more exactly, he wanted MY story. He wanted to know why I wanted to be a saint. He wanted to know who had influenced me, why I had chosen my path in life. He was hoping to inspire the writing I would do for the website.

He wanted me to function in the most profound capacity for which I had been hired.

He wanted me to be a storyteller.

Once I grasped this, he hit me with the personal revelation about the life of priests that is sure to shock.

Did you know, my dear friends, that sermons are not always true?

According to Fr. Ken, priests sometimes do a bit of er, embellishing when it comes to their sermons. Have you ever noticed they tell charming little stories to hook you, to get the Gospel to come alive?

Sometimes they make them up.

Sometimes they tell stories about other folks and pretend they are about themselves.

But despite this creativity, these stories are still true, in the very best sense. As Father revealed to me, we can't ignore the facts: sermons are always true, and sometimes they really happened.

I thought about our conversation on the way home from work. I thought about it a great deal, especially when that guy cut me off on the freeway and I almost drove off the road.

Have you ever thought about becoming a saint?

Yeah, buddy, I'm thinking about it real hard right now. I could've been killed! What if I were? What kind of life am I leading? Am I becoming a saint?

I thought about it again at my doctor's appointment, particularly when the nurse informed me my blood pressure was sky high.

That's a dangerous number! I could have a stroke! This could be it for me. Am I ready? Have I really thought about becoming a saint?

I thought too about storytelling, and about the task that had been set before me. Designing website copy is all in a day's work, right? No big deal. Get some words out there, and there ya go.

At the risk of sounding like the biggest butt kisser in the history of the world, I must say that my employers deserve more than your average website, and I intend to give it to them. I didn't take this job just for the paycheck and the status and the pink desk - I took it because I believe God has placed me here for a reason.

Boy, that sounds awful. I don't like to use spiritual lingo to make me sound well, spiritual. But in this case I'm going to go wild and be honest.

The week before I was hired, I prayed. I didn't pray to get this job, although I really wanted it. I prayed that they would hire the person that would do the best for them, the person who would tell their stories with clarity. And perhaps, with power. And even truth.

So now I am that person. I'm not weighed down by the responsiblity. Rather, I feel lifted up by it. I'm going to be the storyteller they deserve.

And I might even be truthful.

As for this post,it may be not be entirely factual. Perhaps there has been some embellishment. But in my book, blog posts fall in the same category as sermons.

They are always true.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl with blonde pigtails and brown eyes. And she wanted to become a saint...

Thanks, Fr. Ken, for reminding me to write the story.

And perhaps even tell the truth.

1 comment:

Anne said...

This is a great story! I'm sure Fr. Ken is very glad he hired you and you will do your job well!

I saw your comment on my son's blog (Writings of a boy...).

This is a great blog-so glad to be here!