It must be a wonderful thing to be able to engender such hope in people. Scary on the delivery front – but wonderful.
I’m continuing to read ‘Dreams from my Father’
Wonderful phrases. ‘The family … preferred a straight-backed form of Methodism that valued reason over passion and temperance over both.’
Most extraordinary of all is the reflection on what is akin to vocation. He comes to terms with a way of being black which leaves behind the easy path to victimhood. He constructs a way of assessing the various influences in his life: ‘I can see that my choices were never truly mine alone – and that is how it should be, that to assert otherwise is to chase after a sorry sort of freedom.’
Best of all, he can imagine that it might have been otherwise: ‘…. allowing my ambitions to travel a narrower, more personal course, so that in the end I might have taken my friend Ike’s advice and given myself over to stocks and bonds and the pull of respectability’
To reflect on your life and be able dispassionately to recognise that it might easily have turned out differently .. that seems to suggest a considerable maturity which is able to hold in tension the serious intent and the ‘almost chance’ in life.
I think that, when I am exploring vocation with people, it’s that sort of personal insight that I am looking for. So I’m off on retreat next week to do a bit of the same kind of rooting around in my own vocation.
I too am in the middle of the book. Thrilling to have a president who can write so well, as well as possessed of the kind of self-knowledge you describe.
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