Talk to the farmers, foragers and growers – they all have their versions of where to find the best fruit.
And it’s usually far from the roadside, the place where everyone walks by.
It has to be sought for, often in hidden places yet it’s worth it.
So what about us, where’s our best fruit?
Onlyness and you-ness
The other day when I encountered two completely different people using similar, intriguing words, I paid close attention.
Ian Sanders shared his story at The Do Lectures in 2015 with the challenge to ‘find what makes you tick and build on that.’ Picking up from Nilofer Merchant, he talked about onlyness as ‘the unique ability that each of us brings to the situation.’
It’s like our compass, aligned with who we are and what makes us individually function in the best way possible. It’s given a unique shape by who we are, evident even from a young age, and what we’ve experienced as we’ve walked through life.
It was a privilege to ‘listen in’ to what felt like a conversation among friends, and it named something vital for me.
Later while reading Richard Rohr’s The Divine Dance (for the third time), he explores our you-ness from a different angle, yet again with extraordinary humanity:
… Even in the eternal nature of things, you’re somehow you in your you-ness, on the path that God is leading you on, the journey you are going through, the burdens that you are bearing. All of these are combining to create the precise alchemy of your soul, your holiness, and your response. In the eternal scheme of things, we discover that all God wants from you is you.
It’s just so humbling, because it always feels like not enough, doesn’t it?
“All I want to be is like Saint Francis,” I said to my spiritual director, over and over, for my first decade as a Franciscan.
Finally, one day, he said, “Hey Richard, you’re not, and you’re never going to be, Francis of Assisi. You are not even close, all right? You’re ‘unfortunately’ Richard Rohr from Kansas.” I said to myself, This doesn’t sound nearly as dramatic or exciting.
Except when I realised: all God wants is Richard from Kansas.
Two voices, one message, because we each hear in different ways.
So, where’s the best fruit?
Look in the mirror.