pastoral/spiritual care

Live the Life of You

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”  -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In Jewish tradition, the story is told of a rabbi named Akiva who became gravely ill.  Believing that he was dying, family and friends came to the rabbi’s bedside.  They were surprised to find Akiva weeping inconsolably day and night.  Nothing anyone said seemed to help.  Finally, one of the rabbi’s students approached him.  Kneeling by the bed, he asked his teacher, “What troubles you so, my friend?”

“I fear the judgment to come,” Akiva answered.  “For when I look at the life of Moses, I am ashamed by how little I have done.”

His student smiled, and with a wisdom beyond his years answered, “But God will not judge Akiva by how well he lived the life of Moses.  God will judge Akiva by how well he lived the life of Akiva.”

Like the rabbi, we can easily get caught up in comparisons.  When we measure our own lives against those of our heroes, or even our colleagues or neighbors, we may feel as if we come up short.  But in God’s infinite wisdom and love, we were each created unique, with a different set of talents, quirks, strengths, and weaknesses than anyone else.  God does not expect us to be anyone other than who we are.  Being wholly and abundantly ourselves is the greatest gift we can give God and the world.

How well am I living the life of Stacy Sergent?  How well are you living the life of you?

God, thank you for making us like fingerprints or snowflakes, no two alike.  Help us today to follow the special path you have for each one of us, not to try following a trail that is not our own.  Give us the grace to live in a way that honors you with our uniqueness.  Amen.

-- Chaplain Stacy N. Sergent


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