"Watchman" (part 3)

This is part 3 of a series. First read Watchman and Watcman pt 2

Looking up at an ancient city wall, the realization begins to sink in: I am no longer a watchman.

 

 

There was a time when I knew the answers, I knew my tribe. I was a watchman. I stood for truth, beauty and goodness within my city. I fought for open doors. I sought for us to lower our weapons and open our hearts. I still do, but not from the same vantage point. Not from the wall, not always from the city. “Watchman” just doesn’t seem to apply. I can still find some visceral satisfaction in taking “my tribe,” to task. It is easy and plain to point out the hypocrisy, the places of err, the hardness of heart--but too often this comes by turning my words into weapons and hardening my own heart. I can be openhearted to anyone, but somehow can bring the hammer down on people in the city I came from. I know this is because I care. I still want to see a city with open doors, a city that serves, a city that loves. I still want to see a city that works for god in the world. Having left my city, however, I can no longer claim a post as watchman. I still inhabit the city to an extent. I still love its king, sing its songs, relish to tell its stories. But I do so now as a dual citizen. I can build common ground and work for good in and for what was my city, and I can do it beyond its walls. I can travel abroad, speaking peace and authenticity to those near and far. Somehow I know that I will still have a home here to come back to. I belong. I matter. No one inside or outside the city can convince me otherwise. I have seen hearts and lives changed by my work, my message, my presence… me. Whereas I used to be fixated on who my work was for and how it was supposed to look, now I am only fixated on why. I speak to who I speak. I live just outside the city. At the intersection, a crossroads.

 

 

I speak to warriors when necessary, but not just to argue, to show another way is possible. I speak to watchmen and gatekeepers when necessary, but not only to criticize, to invite. To draw in, to create a possibility that fear need not be the only metric to determine our behavior. I speak to leaders when necessary, to advocate and inspire changes to policy. To cultivate good for those who need it. Mostly, though, I just speak.

 

 

I speak to people. I inspire artists, believers, dreamers. I inspire people of purpose and passion to be who they are and to live their dream, and to do so in loving service of others both in and outside their tribes. I lovingly connect and create safe space for people to be themselves. Be vulnerable. Be beautiful. Be all they can be. Without a position, without a wall to stand on, without an external sense of locatedness to ground my identity, I am just me, doing the work I believe in to see others thrive. My words resonate with those who have ears to hear it.

 

 

Given the new scenario in which I stand, the term “watchman” seems obsolete. Archaic. I recognize now that the walls I once stood upon existed only in my mind and the minds of those who agreed with me. I see now that there are no walls. I see that life is a beautiful, blank canvas waiting to be painted. I recognize that I can no longer thrive in the ways I once thought and once lived. I still see things differently, that has been a constant. I still walk a road less traveled. But rather than being the antithesis of another path, it simply is my path, my journey. As I take steps down my own path, I simply invite others to walk theirs with courage and creativity. The rejection I once feared seems silly in this light, as do my past obsessions with belonging and having a place. Now, I am free. Today, I am me. I walk freely between tribes and cities to connect with the barefoot souls within each tribe. Gently, consistently, persistently I work and play. I create connections and possibilities. I pass a spark to others. I don’t need anyone to walk this road before me. I am choosing my path just as I am guided from within. The voice and song within me is as clear as ever. I can still remember when the song overwhelmed my heart and rang through my entire being, but that is not how I hear the song now. A gentle pulse, within every breath, a whisper of love and joy. The song is quiet, gentle and ambient. Like a soundtrack of peace within and beyond my life, guiding me to lose myself in my work, lose myself in the oneness of everything. I neither have to let go of my particularity nor must I cling to it. I simply AM the voice and song being expressed with beautiful uniqueness in the here and now. I don’t need everyone to get it. My song will inspire others to sing even if not all will right away. I am a wordsmith, but more than that, I am a messenger of love, of light. The way forward is more clear, even if I don’t know the destination. To work, hands. To love, heart. To inspire and draw out the pure essence of every person on their journey. I may not be a watchman, and I may lack another word to capture this ephemeral essence. It doesn’t matter. What matters is this, I know who I am and what I choose to do.