Monday notebook: How Life Works

Featured image: Hey this is a serious post, so I have to balance it with some levity! Source: imgur/michaelscotchtape

How Life Works

All the way into young adulthood, I was told a lot about how life doesn’t work:

You can’t always get what you want: that’s not how life works.
You can’t presume everything you believe is true: that’s not how life works.
You can’t predict the future: that’s not how life works.
You can’t make everyone get along: that’s not how life works.
You can’t be certain that people will accept your work: that’s not how life works.

All of that may be true, but so much negativity in one go can hold a guy back, it seems. And I know that I’m not the only one. My privilege means that racism, sexism and homophobia wouldn’t be the reasons I’d be rejected: how much harder is it for folks who face discrimination all the time? But I did feel my young age, and the sense of overwhelming disadvantage that my whole #millenial generation has experienced. Those weighed on me as I sought to move forward with life, to find a sustainable and meaningful career.

Then I hit the roadblocks scattered intentionally throughout the discernment of ordained ministry. Then I looked back on my sermons and reflections and saw the potential for professional writing. Then I found the PWC program at Humber, and dove head-first into a world of folks who may or may not know what a “bishop” or “synod” is (some do, some don’t), who genuinely act for inclusion rather than settle for performativity, who challenge me to call myself a professional writer whose time, effort and work are worth reading, worth even getting paid for.

Looking back on my time in formal ministry, looking ahead to whatever might come, and looking squarely at this Fall 2021 semester, I can recognize another voice that has consistently told me how life works. Actively, positively:

What you want is a clue to what you care about, “where your treasure lies”:
that’s how life works

What you believe to be true, your trust and your faith, is the all-important foundation of where you come from, and everyone’s from somewhere:
that’s how life works.

What you plan and dream are expressions of what you hope for, “the evidence of things not seen”: that’s how life works.

Who you seek out, the friends and family that you accept and who accept you, are the right people to build lasting relationships of peace and charity, “the ground of all virtues”:
that’s how life works.

The more you write, the more you pitch ideas, the more you hone those ideas, and the more editors who get to know you and what you can do, the closer you get to a sustainable job:
that’s how the writer’s life works.

Life isn’t about focusing on what you can’t do: that can’t possibly be the way life works, because working is active, not passive. Sure, we need to have a healthy respect for limits. But vocation, meaning, work: it’s about putting yourself out there, as a creative act in itself. That’s how life began, In the Beginning, and it’s how it works now.

I started this site just before the pandemic, learning WordPress through LinkedIn Learning and slowly building the site up as a place to share reflections and sermons, as I put myself through the ups and downs of ministry life. It’s now taken on a new purpose, a place where I express myself to the world, build a bridge to the world through my writing.

As you read, I hope you see that you and I are not simply crude matter.
We’re luminous beings, cities on a hill. Let’s shine.

Published by Matthew Neugebauer

MA in Theology, Anglican, Star Wars #Prequelist, Toronto FC Supporter

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