At the 2014 Encampment of the New Message from God, Patricia Summers, the wife of Marshall Vian Summers, asked a question. She asked, “What are the ingredients of someone who has what it takes?” In the four years in which I have been engaging with the New Message, I have lost count of the number of times Patricia has asked this question in one form or another.
The heart of a finisher
I understand her to mean, “Who has the capabilities to faithfully serve a great cause?” “Who can calmly consider tasks orders of magnitude beyond their current capabilities?” “Who can live a meaningful life while preserving their vitality?” “Who can represent a purposeful life in a world which rejects the very idea of purpose?”
These questions are hardly idle speculation. There have been many people over the years who have recognized the benefit that this body of material would bring to the world. There have also been many people over the years who, for whatever reason, could not bring forth or keep what was required to stay with it. It requires a certain intellectual, a certain imaginative, a certain intestinal fortitude to engage with this material. How is it developed? How is it maintained?
On Day 4 of the Encampment, some answers were offered to those questions in the form of short phrases.
Tempered competence. The sentence in which this phrase occurred was, “We don’t need idealism, we need tempered competence.” The context suggests “stable-tempered competence.” Many idealistic individuals have come and gone over the history of the New Message. While these individuals have made many excellent contributions, they aren’t making any contributions now. The heart of a finisher gives of itself today, and the next day, and the next day…
A life fueled from heaven. The context suggests developing the strength to do things other than what I would do, to develop capabilities other than what I would develop. The heart of a finisher can keep from indulging its preferences.
Reckonings – facing one’s self. There are things inside me that have kept me from working successfully with other respondents. The heart of a finisher can take an inventory of its emotions, its thought life, its imagination?
Verication. Verication is a New Message practice of moving toward greater certainty regarding some idea or action with the help of other people. The word was first used in the book Greater Community Spirituality. The heart of a finisher sings in an ensemble with many other hearts.
Secret room explorations. What is the secret room? A place in a person where confusion, ambition, shame, etc. are not only tolerated but maintained. I consider the idea of the secret room to be very sympathetic to Carl Jung’s idea of the shadow. The heart of a finisher is unafraid to face that shadow.
Simple pleasures. It seems to be part of this long journey to cultivate things I enjoy, and can enjoy in moderation, for no other reason than that I enjoy them. The heart of a finisher can enjoy simple pleasures.
If someone were to ask me, “What is the heart of a finisher like?” I don’t believe I would have offered the above list. But there it is. I pray that I would have the heart of a finisher.
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