People who are willing to work at life are glory.
There is this notion peddled by our popular culture that life is meant to be dedicated to the pursuit of happiness. To be unhappy or challenged or stressed or vexed has come to mean that somehow there is some deep pathology within that must be danced from. And dance we do: we shop, we drink, we over schedule, we watch hours upon hours of television in order to numb the niggle that will not leave us.
The niggle is holy. The something-is-not-right-here that wakes us in the night or clenches our belly is holy attention clang. What that niggle means is that we are called to turn and tend and learn.
Lots of folks find ways to dance from that learning. Others learn to listen and do the sometimes agonizing work of exploring the meaning of the niggle.
Joseph Campbell maintains that the purpose of our life is not to find happiness, but instead to find and make meaning.
There is such grace in the vision of life as meaning making. It implies journey rather than resolved landing point. It implies falling down and getting back up and suffering and soaring and leaning into beloveds and our God.
Life is about making meaning. Growth is optional, I suppose, but to choose soul numbing over growth seems a profound squander of the gift of life.
Jesus walked lonesome valleys. He taught us we can’t walk them by ourselves. We walk in the company of the Holy and our soul kindred. This walk into wholeness in the way of Jesus is exactly why we are church. Growing soul through the gift of community is why we open our doors each day.
Niggles are learning gift. Thank God for companions on our soul’s journey into meaning.