Last week I had the opportunity to offer an invocation – some opening words of welcome – at one of Queen’s University’s convocation ceremonies.
I told the graduates what my dad often told me in my university years: “All you can do is all you can do, and all you can do is enough.” Then I paired this encouragement with words a friend tagged on to them: “AND you can almost always do more than you think you can do.” Graduates, you have done enough, and you can do more hard things. You’ve got this.
A couple of days later, I was listening to Nadia Bolz Weber being interviewed on Glennon Doyle’s podcast, We Can Do Hard Things. Nadia was asked about the whole ‘You are Enough’ craze. What does that even mean, Nadia? (Immediately, I felt the shame of having offered the Queen’s graduates a ceremonial appetizer of bumper-sticker / kitchen-trivet tripe.)
After graciously acknowledging that ‘You are Enough’ is a way to push back on the constant demands society places on us to be and do more and bigger and better, Nadia tells us she doesn’t like the phrase. Sometimes, she said, she even thinks about writing “an anti-self-help book called You’re Not Enough. But,” she goes on to say, “there is enough and it doesn’t have to be you.” (Let that sink in.)
She goes on:
When I don’t have enough compassion to be the kind of person I want to be, there is enough. That source I came from is available to me to draw upon. I get to draw upon my own divine source through prayer or meditation or whatever it is, and that is enough. So I don’t have to be. I don’t have to have all the love, all the compassion, the mercy, the understanding, the companioning, because I have access to this unlimited source of it in the divine.
Okay, Nadia. I get it and I’m with you. I don’t have to be enough because God’s grace is enough. And I don’t have to be enough because together as a community we endeavour to fill the world with compassion, mercy, and understanding. There is enough and no one of us is doing it alone.
As Reformed Journal bloggers, no single one of us can say all the things that need to be said. And the work that we do to say the things cannot reach you without your financial contributions keeping this work alive.
I am not enough and neither are you. But there is Enough, and we can draw from and contribute toward that Enough together.
To return to my convocation invocation with a twist: All you can give is all you can give and all you can give is enough. And you can almost always give more than you think you can give.
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Together, there will be enough.
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