Advent Word: Become

Whenever I hear someone ask a child, “what to do want to be when you grow up?” I cringe. It’s not that I have any aversion to exploring career options. It’s that the question presumes there is a singular answer…a career destination…to which we must constantly be striving. To “be” is to arrive. I have a different lead-in question:

What are you becoming?

Before I ever became a social worker, I sat at the bedsides of nursing home residents hearing their stories, supporting their strengths, being present in their struggles and their celebrations of wisdom and experience.

I was becoming.

I guest lectured, then filled in to teach one class…then another…and another. I taught what I knew and learned what pedagogy worked through trial and error. My students taught me how to become a great teacher, a mentor of adults moving into their vocational paths.

I was becoming.

I wrote my first grant before I knew what that really was, or how the whole system of funded research really works. I put an idea on paper, and it was rejected. I received feedback and re-wrote it again and again and again. I learned the system. I finally found someone to take a risk and invested so that I could test an idea.

I was becoming.

Tonight, I write my thoughts on a word, tied to a deeper meaning. I pull my life story into the understanding of how God moves in the world. I share a message, and pray for the words to land where they are most needed. I rediscover sacred texts and ponder meaning, existence, community, faith.

I am becoming.

It isn’t a future destination that defines who we are. It is unfolding into the experience of transformation in this present moment, allowing ourselves to be formed with each lesson, each experience, through formal education and life’s serendipitous lessons. Like a painting we emerge, layer upon layer of color and nuance building upon each other. Even the artist must trust that the image will emerge.

We learn. We emerge. We become.


In response to the AdventWord global advent calendar project with the Society for St. John the Evangelist. Today’s word: #Become. Follow the worldwide advent calendar at:

About harasprice

Professor of Social Work and Priest in The Episcopal Church, parent, teacher, learner, writer, advocate, and grateful traveller along this journey through life
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