I was living a life that was not my own,
a life spent in obedience to dogma and doctrine,
instead of listening to my heart.
I tried to conform my life to a set of standards
whether they were mine or not.
If that sounds like what I was supposed to do with values,
it is because that is what I was taught.
It was a simplistic brand of moralism
that reduced my ethical life
to making a list and checking it twice
against an index of virtues and sins,
and then trying very hard to be not naughty but nice.
There were moments in my life
when I was so unformed
that I needed to use church catechism
to make me self-righteous.
But I found something very wrong
when such moments recurred in adulthood.
Trying to live someone else’s life,
or to live by an external religious norm,
doing my spiritual growth great harm.
Before I told my life what I intended to do with it,
I needed to listen for what it intended to do with me.
Before I told my life what truths and values I had decided to live up to,
I had to let my life tell me what truths I embodied,
what values I represented.