Each autumn as I begin the academic year and anticipate the arrival of students I often choose a motto, a Bible verse, or a quote that will inspire and ground me for the year. In Joyce Rupp’s book, Dear Heart Come Home, she describes a number of images of midlife generativity that can be applied uniquely to my role as a college professor who teaches primarily in the area of spiritual formation.

I want to be a house at night with light shining from all the windows calling me to be a presence and vision for others.

I want to be an apple with seeds in it reminding me of the potential of growth in all students.

I want my life to be a holy shrine where students can come and feel a sense of peace, wonder, and oneness.

I want my life to be a womb where I can provide a safe place for inquiry and help generate life for those who are searching for it.

“There are days when I dream myself to be a dandelion to the last puff; a full circling miracle hanging onto a fragile stem, complex in my beauty yet simple in my standing—knowing I’ll only grow again if each intricate delicate parachute of mine is pulled off, whirled away and seeded in some strange new soil.”

“I am convinced that if I can be honest and vulnerable with my own process, others will draw courage and comfort from it because they will see some of their own life reflected in mine. This sharing is not easy for me to do. As an introvert I feel as if I am walking naked on the pages. But I also believe I am called to do this and I want to honor this call from within.”