We like this question in our culture. We start asking this question seriously around high school graduation, as 18 year olds go out to college to fulfill their dreams and change the world. Growing up, I was told I could be anyone that I wanted to be.
Then at college graduation, this question holds more force. “What’s next?” or “What are you going to do after graduation?” It’s not a bad question, but somehow in the focus on the future, we miss the present. Not only that, but we believe that if we work hard enough we can manipulate circumstances and people to our own advantage.
Even in the midst of chronic fatigue, I went to inner city Memphis to teach. Little did I realize what was more important was honoring my limitations, than trying to be an effective teacher in an urban environment.
I can answer the question, “What’s next?” I am going to be tutoring throughout the summer with my students from this semester. I’m going to be working at a dyslexia camp. I’m taking a few short trips this summer. I’m going to be making new recipes and eating meals with people. I’m going to be moving!
What if we starting asking questions like
- What are you noticing right now?
- What are you taking delight in? What is difficult right now?
- How are you being formed or shaped right now?
They are scarier questions. They require looking inward. They require slowly down and paying attention rather than just making plans.
As May ushers in the glories of spring, beautiful beginnings like weddings, and endings like graduation, take some time to wonder about what you need. Care for yourself, and ask for help from others for what you need. Resist the desire to be frantic, and let yourself be.
On Friday, I will be writing about what I need in the month of May. I’d love to hear about what you need in the comments, or about how you experienced asking yourself deeper questions.