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Spirit-Centered Moment: by Rev. Manda Truchinski

Written by Rev. Manda Truchinski

Assistant to the Bishop, Sierra Pacific Synod

When I was in college I lived with a seminarian for a few months while I was also engaged in an immersive learning experience. Lots of things were new to me that summer. It was hard, but in a good way. I had the safety of a known timeline and all the privilege of who and where I had come from, but I was also immersed in a new world. Not every experience was new, but it was like someone had swapped the lenses in my glasses and even those things I thought I knew were different now.

The seminarian was kind enough to talk through this with me. I began to wonder about and for the first time believed that I could choose what was valuable in my life. The seminarian recycled some wisdom (as I later learned we pastors do) and told me: The way to know what matters is to ask yourself "Would I die for this?"

That was just the dramatic thing I needed to hear to break through the shell of my own ego and anxiety and pluck my heartstrings. Even to this day, I ask myself this question when I am discerning. You might think it leads me to separate everything in the world into two categories: Things I will die for / Things I will not die for, but no. Instead, it draws me into the complexity of the decisions that lie ahead of me. My query goes a little like this:

This is important to me.

But why?

Where did I come to the idea that this is or should be important?

Is it a feeling?

Is it something I was taught?

Do I like this? Why?

What is valuable about this that I do not like?

What makes me think I would be effective here?

Is it something I want or something I'm obliged to do or something I wish I coul