What do you want to be when you grow up? I remember what power that phrase used to hold, so much possibility. I grew up privileged, I had options. I could be a lawyer, a doctor, an anything. It seemed life had unlimited possibility. I did believe I could be an astronaut, a president, an all-star athlete.
Eventually life led me to a series of choices and decisions. I had likes and dislikes I discovered. I chose computers, then television, then journalism, advertising and PR. I did radio, TV, downhill skiing and guitar. I flew airplanes. I sang. I immersed myself in so many different directions, I took bits and pieces of possibility and put it on my plate, tried it out, discarded what I didn’t like. I weeded out that which I no longer had time or commanded my attention. I majored: computer science and communications. I did a double-emphasis in communications: print/journalism and advertising/PR. I weeded myself down with those choices and chose a profession, a career. I’ve been working in my field for 25 years (yikes!).
Somewhere along the way I answered that question: what am I going to be when I grow up? I’m going to be a computer person, a business owner. I’ll trade this in for something else. I’ll wear many hats, but I’ll come back again and again to what I love: computers and writing.
So it would seem that I grow more specialized, less interesting; I’ve chosen my bed and I’ll sleep in it. But I’ve traveled. I’ve learned a foreign language (in my post-graduate years). I’ve focused on who am I through exploration with meditation, spirituality and religion. I’ve taken up new hobbies (horses), a hobby farm and am living the dream. (This is my beautiful house. This is my beautiful wife.)
I do sometimes miss that time of unlimited possibility. What will I be when I grow up? What will I do? What’s next?
Two events have meant something to me lately. First, Rogue Priest’s blog: Let It Haunt You spelled out so much of what I believe Sur Pwenn stands for. Sur Pwenn means on point. (He may have been talking about jujutsu, but all paths lead to God.) While I am initiated into the priesthood, it’s not the end (the accomplishment) but the beginning. I stand on the point of priesthood and I have a world of possibility before me. What kind of priest will I be?
The second event was giving some advice to a friend in need, priestly advice. In doing so, I realized that there are so many different kinds of priests out there (and many that aren’t me). There are healers; there are cleaners. There are warriors and administrators. There are people who perform ceremonies and celebrations. There are those that specialize in taking care of certain problems. There are historians and monks. There are those with special gifts.
In Vodou there are many different Lwa, spirits that guide us. There are different faces and facets of each of the Lwa. Different Lwa call to us: they may guide us, walk with us at different times. We may sync so strongly, they may be a Met Tet to us. Others may just be messengers or riders. With so many possibilities, it makes me realize that there are many different kinds of Oungan I could be. Again I find myself facing a new world of possibilities.
What am I going to be when I grow up?
It’s not that I expect to only be one thing. I don’t expect that I will always stay the same. In that vein, I realize that’s why people’s Met Tet may change throughout their life. They dance with different Lwa, they change.
I’ve spoken of healing, I can see other paths. I don’t have the same talents as some of the other Oungans and Manbos, but this doesn’t make me less or inadequate, it makes me different with my own sets of talents and skills. And I’m at the point, sur pwenn, of discovering what those are. After going beyond each and every crossroads, there is yet another one I come to. Life is a series of choices.
Where Am I Going Next?
I can see things that interest me; I can see my possibilities before me. I don’t know exactly what I will be. That kind of sight isn’t my talent. Becoming an Oungan is just the beginning. It makes sense to have a sur pwenn, a point of disembarking. I come to a crossroads and can see healer to the left, one who calms unhappy spirits to the right, one who dances ahead. There are things I am not and will never be. Things others in my house excel at. There’s nothing wrong with that. I may become one thing or another. I may become one thing then another. My life has changed so much, I hope it never stops changing. I hope to find something deeper at each and every turn. I’ll try not to fret if I can’t see, hear, speak, draw or read what others do. That may not be me. That me be the doctor, lawyer, teacher, warrior or something else entirely, the path I didn’t take. I am not less for it.
It’s actually really nice to be sur pwenn: on point. I have a world of possibility ahead of me. I get to find out who I am and who I will be. I’m back where I was as a child, discovering what I’m going to do, what skills I have, what I enjoy. I get to add more to my plate and see if it tastes good.
There are differences. I have responsibility. I’m not at the end, mission accomplished. I have duties I need to perform. I am still figuring it all out. It’s nice. It’s a hell of a lot of fun.