“Live long and prosper.”
These were the most quoted words of First Officer Spock of the Starship Enterprise, the emotionless Vulcan science officer who featured prominently in all of the Star Trek episodes and movies played by the late actor Leonard Nimoy. But do not worry. I am not going to make this column about Star Trek trivia. Instead I want to lift up those words, “Live long and prosper.”
I think that can be a very telling principle of real life, not just sci-fi life. How can one live long and prosper? In our Judeo-Christian heritage I think of Abraham, the progenitor of Israel “who breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people.”
I think of Jesus of Nazareth who said, “I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.”
I think of men and women like them who after years and years of accumulating experiences, living with and close to the Divine and Universal Truth, they come to a realization about what is both important and essential in life — what it really means to live an abundant and prosperous life.
We often refer to this as the wisdom of age. This wisdom and knowledge does not come easy and it takes patience and time to realize that prosperity is more than accumulation of wealth or success.
I have gleaned much from the lives of such mentors in both my congregations and my family. Some of that wisdom has been said in these ways. I list them here and name them as the “The Longer I Live List.”
The longer I live, the less I care about orthodoxy (right beliefs) and the more I care about love, healing and the people with whom I’m honored to share life’s journey.
The longer I live, the less I care about being a United Methodist (et al) or even a Christian and the more I care about living the open table of Jesus, loving without judgment and seeing what happens next.
The longer I live, the less I care about the “shoulds” the church has told me my whole life and the more I care about accepting the gift of who I am and the gift of whom each of us is and is becoming.
The longer I live, the more I care about creating community where we all can come fully alive as artists and creators and caregivers and the less I care about the ridiculous rules of who should be in and who should be out.
The longer I live, the more I care about gathering up the remnants and the less I care about preserving what has been.
And I hope, as I continue to live, that I will continue to care and not care more and more and more.
I share this list, which I am sure is not exhaustive, only as a way for you and me to be more open and reflective as we move through life opening ourselves to the experiences that can sometimes be beyond words.
So as Mr. Spock said, “Live long and prosper.” And may our God be with you this week. Be gentle with yourselves so you can be gentle with others.