Morning Prayer: In Which I Learned to Blossom
by Lynda McKinney Lambert
Morning Prayer: In Which I Learned to Blossom
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
Eventually it happens. We begin to think about universal questions asked by every human being from the beginning of recorded history to the present moment.
Why am I here in this world at this precise time?
What is my purpose?
For a large part of my life, I accepted the idea that my art and writing life was separate from my spiritual journey. During years of rigorous academic studies there had never been a dialogue that addressed fundamental questions concerning my creativity in connection to my personal faith and theology. I never questioned or explored my worldview. Well, in fact I didn’t know I even had a worldview. This concept never came up in any classroom discussion so I kept my personal faith walk private.
As a new professor, I arrived at the college where I would begin my career as a tenured professor. My title was “professor of fine arts and humanities.” It was thrilling for me to see my name and title on a golden plate on the door of my new office. My classroom duties began at the beginning of the fall semester. This time period is the beginning of the academic year. Initially, I faced a challenge because the core philosophy of this college is the integration of faith and learning. That meant I was expected to teach every course in such a way that my Christian faith would be central to my teaching. How would I integrate my Christian faith into my classroom courses? How could I find synthesis between academic pursuits and “integration of faith and learning?” All previous academic training and research in higher education left me in a quandary about how I would accomplish the mission of the college for the universities I attended are completely secular. Even though, I thrived in my studies there was a part of my human self that formal education never addressed. Worse yet, I was unaware of the gap. Part of me was missing, and I never realized it.
Thus, my quest for discovering how to present a personal Christian presence in my professional, academic and creative life began.
Prior to beginning my new job, I thought of my life as being divided into 2 boxes- sacred and secular. With the dynamic new teaching adventure, my entire life was turned upside down; it seemed I was in a tailspin! I had to find the way to bring faith into my discipline but my years of training and practice left me confused about the possibility of this marriage.
When I began this exciting new position, I accepted the idea that my art was separate from my personal life story and my spiritual journey. Rigorous academic pursuits had never led to a dialogue that addressed fundamental questions concerning my disciplines in connection to my personal faith and theology. Religious convictions were kept private, quiet, never to be uttered in
Academic discussions. Dozens of courses are listed on my transcripts, yet not one addressed the notion that I had a purpose in life or a calling from God.
My timid prayer one morning was a request that God would guide me in this new pursuit to allow him to be in my classrooms and with me in my lectures. I surely had no idea how this could possibly happen. This new concept haunted me as I tried to plan out my daily course activities for each class. Integration of faith and learning was on my mind continuously. But, I had to figure this out even though it felt like the strangest request I ever made for divine help. This was a crisis for me and I sure needed help so I could be in partnership with my colleagues and students. Gradually, I came to realize that my personal life, my own history and creative activities are not at all separate. Each is part of my own tree of life. With the discovery that my Christian roots run deep and were planted in good soil, the tree of my own life flourished. I was a whole, complete person bringing the truth of the ages into my professional life in my classrooms.
I always embraced the idea of being a lifelong learner and that propelled me to develop my distinct teaching style. Along with my students, we began to piece together the human puzzle, I asked the World View Questions in my studio art classes; researched them in our humanities courses; read deep into them through literary discussions; dug into our collective history; listened to the music from all time periods; read the philosophy of inspired men and women through the ages. Together, Professor and students discovered layers of connections between our individual creative work, our academic aspirations, personal and cultural history and the Christian faith.
The most remarkable discovery I made is that there should be no line that separates teacher from students. And, beyond that discovery, I learned there is no line separating the secular from the sacred in this world. I learned to be a servant leader. And, I learned to bloom!
With every passing year, I continue to see how large the world is and how it is ever expanding and changing. The entire universe stands as a witness to the creative powers of an intelligent mind. We can find the presence of a Creator God in every aspect of the creation.
Though I retired from my formal work in a variety of classrooms and lecture halls, I am still a life-long learner. Presently, my life-long passions of making art and writing are still at the center of my days. My exhibitions of art continue as I gather awards and my artworks still appear in galleries and museums across the US.
Most days, I am either in my fiber art studio working on a new piece, or in my office writing about the significance of our life journey. My art and my writing convey the timeless message of who we are in Christ. My studio and my office are light filled rooms where I encounter glory. I walk into that room and ask God, “What would you have me do today?”
Soon the work on my new book, “Walking by Inner Vision: Stories of Light and Dreams” will be completed and sent out to the publisher. But, I won’t be suffering for lack of something to do because my thoughts contain a rich bounty of stories and poems, and more books, like tight buds waiting to unfold.
As with most transitions in life, inspiration begins as a tiny seed planted deep in the mind. I envision life-changes as a little fluttering butterfly swooping across a flower garden, gliding on the breeze on a warm summer day.
Our life is a blossom dancing in the moment
on a gentle breeze as the Holy Spirit
orchestrates the music.
We dance together in Divine harmony.
by Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.
Author of Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, Kota Press.
Waling by Inner Vision: Stories of Light and Dreams, Dvorkan Press