Wednesday, March 4, 2009


A conversation I had with a colleague today:

Me: "I think you are worried about me."
Him: "I am not worried about you."
(insert lengthy pause)
Him: "I am worried you are going to waste your gifts."

If I had a dime for every time someone told me that I would be a rich woman. When I began talking about going to Princeton to study theology in preparation for work in the church many friends said, "O Carmen, please don't. Don't waste your gifts on the church. Go to law school. Go to Washington D.C. Do something MEANINGFUL with your life."

When I went to Princeton lots of people were concerned that I was becoming too intellectual in my faith. Some family members were concerned I was using my gifts in "mainline churches where the Spirit does not live." Don't waste your gifts there Carmen.

All of this has me thinking, "What exactly constitutes a wasted life?" I accidentally happened upon the blog of a 25 year-old Seattle woman who was just diagnosed with MS. A woman in the prime of her life who wants to climb all the peaks in the Cascade Mountain Range and dreads the day her healthy boyfriend walks away. What constitutes a wasted life?

I got news this week that the marriage of two good friends is ending. He has found happiness elsewhere and he has chosen to leave a pregnant wife. Doesn't get much worse than that. What constitutes a wasted life? This man has decided that another woman will pave the way to greater happiness and joy and satisfaction. He is walking away in dread of a wasted life. And this man is a fool.

So, here I sit with a promise to you and promise to me. I will not waste my life. It may not look orthodox. It may not look traditional. It may not look loud and powerful, but it will be honest. As honest and attentive as possible. I will savor and I will sacrifice. I will leap and I will love. I have a heart full of treasures: sights and sounds and people and memories. And yes, even hope. On the darkest of days, there is hope. Life is short. So damned short. And I am not going to waste it.

Therein ends the soapbox for the day.


Sarah LF said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. My heart breaks for her and I will keep her in my prayers.

I love this entry. Thank you for your candidness and honesty. FWIW, I trust that you will always use your powers for good. :) The world is lucky to have such a gifted woman and one who is so passionate about life and ministry. Waste to some is a treasure to others.

Alissa Maxwell said...

I have not doubt that you are already fulfilling this promise to the world. "Wasting your life" by learning about and calling others into relationship with the creator God of the universe... hard to fathom.

Delf said...

Very impressive words, especially because sometimes you might feel yourself like wasting time or even life, but very often people are only talking about wastage of life, but not knowing of the real meaning of even the small things for the person, they talked about/to.

Kareena said...

Oh my goodness Carmen, I can't believe anyone could consider what you do a waste of your life. Sounds like you have touched more lives and had more experiences than most people. I think you are doing a great thing, I am proud of you.

Jason said...

Carmen, you're awesome. Don't let anyone tell you you're wasting your life. If they insist, just send me a note with their name and address, and they won't bother you anymore. :-)

Doanz said...

Amen, Carmen. If only we all could trust God at His word, and know if we follow His lead- our moments are never wasted. :)

jennifer anne said...


Tonyalynne said...

i ache for your dear friends.

and i thank you for sharing this blog with others...

my heart beats with similar fury and passion.

love you, friend.

The Mendes Family said...

Carmen, one of the greatest things that we can do in life is to help someone else in their jouney to where ever it is they are going. You are doing that in a remarkable way so I pat you on the back! You are moving mountains with your generous heart! Keep it up my friend!

Adrian said...

Carmen, I've not checked your blog for a while and this article really caught my eye. I know from your time in Zambia that you never wasted even one minute of your time here.
Lesa amipale, mukwai.