So says Bruce Herman, an art professor at Gordon and one of the keynote speakers at a conference I attended this past weekend. Geared toward students taking titled leadership positions across campus for the upcoming year, Bruce gave his attentive audience a number of other points of advice, but I stopped listening and started thinking after that one. It's not just being EMPTY, as in nothing, useless, space. It's being an empty FORM, having something of substance that is at once moldable, bendable, usable, formable and even breakable. When put in positions of service, as I will be this upcoming year as a Gordon in Lynn intern working with adults with disabilities (newly dubbed by my friend Ellen as "Linterns"), we can't assume we are the all-powerful and all-knowing descending upon the inner-city needy and poor. We are going in to the city and actually into our LIVES with the hope of being a usable and empty and unbiased form.
Is that easy? No. Not at all. Because we know so much about God already, right? We know which jobs he'd put us in. We know what assignments he'd give out. We know those tasks at which we'd succeed. And yet we are often surprised. Even when we feel called, we are surprised. And if we're doing a good work, should we even know? If we are still looking for those "success stories," no matter how few or how small or how humble, are we truly submitting ourselves as empty forms before our God? I think these are hard questions, but good ones as I approach my senior year (I just got my application for graduation--CRAZY!!) and the thought of career and calling. To be doing God's work is a tremendous and frightening task; to be his puppet even more so. But He who holds the strings sees the whole play, and if the grand climax is transcendence and truly knowing God, then maybe the best thing I can do is be an empty form.
*Note to self: take a class with Bruce*