On the day I turned 18, I could hardly wait for the final school bell to ring—but not for the reason you might imagine. I couldn’t wait to get in my car, drive downtown to the courthouse, and register to vote.
Women in the United States were permitted this right only 96 years ago with the passing of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads in part: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
I’m not sure why the pastorate produces so much anxiety. I suppose you have the performative aspects of it. After so many years, I still toss and turn until my sheets twist into a jumbled mess the night before a sermon or lecture. My mind preaches all night, figuring out how to say it better. I never seem to get to that point of deep sleep.
Shortly before David Steinmetz died last November, I saw him at a wedding that I was officiating. In the homily I told the story of one of my favorite Century articles—an essay that Steinmetz wrote in 2007 about Mother Teresa’s struggles with doubt.
“Choose life,” the prophet says. Choose life over the deadly ways of lesser gods. Choose life over all that shines, sparkles, and glitters. Choose life over what you possess and over what possesses you. It sounds so easy and desirable. Sure, until Jesus comes along and names the cost right out loud. If we truly choose life, we have to let go of everything.
Years ago I had a therapist who told me that the choice to live or die was mine.