What good is it for a tennis racquet to have a sweet spot if the ball never hits that spot?  Worse yet, what good is the sweet spot if the racquet only ever hangs on a hook collecting dust?  While I believe that God has indeed created us with particular things that make us most fully alive, these sweet spots are wasted if the time and place for their use is never sought.

Shel Silvesteen wrote a lovely parable of acceptance and belonging in his children’s book, The Missing Piece.  It is surely a comforting thought that despite always feeling either like you don’t fit in or that you have a piece missing that you do fit in or that that piece exists, you just have to search for it. But what about the journey of searching?  Did God create a jigsaw puzzle and then scatter the pieces around leaving them to find the one place where they belong?  My gut leads me to believe that the experience of the sweet spot is about the moment as much as it is about identifying the spot.  Too much of the stress of busy-ness lies in the worry about what may or may not come in the future, so why add to that the worry of finding what your purpose is?  No, the discovery of the sweet spot happens in those glorious moments of presence when you feel fully alive.  You may be cognitively aware of the location of the sweet spot on the racquet, but you don’t truly know where it is until that fully present moment when you swing the racquet and feel the connection with the ball.

I’ve been practicing Tai Chi for nearly a decade now.  I have learned that proper form doesn’t come from the outside imposing movement on my body, but comes from the inside, where the power itself, the chi, moves through my body.  When I get a gesture correct I can feel the internal connection, something no teacher can give me.  The goal is to channel the chi that exists independent of me through my perfectly connected body to direct it to a specific point with power.  Yeah, I know, it sounds like so much New Age woo woo.  I thought so too at first, so I approached the practice as physical workout.  It is indeed that, but when I started feeling more energy after an hour of Tai Chi than I did before I started to believe that there was some truth here.  When I can find my Tai Chi sweet spot I get more out than I put in.

So reflecting on finding my sweet spot I’m not able to make a list like Eric has. If I tried I would be constantly changing the order and adding new items since I find my sweet spot in the moment; on the journey, not at the destination.  There are so many moments when I feel fully alive, doing so many different things. At least for my own sweet spot, the best description comes down to “I know it when I feel it.”  So maybe the sweet spot has as much to do with being fully present in the moment as it does arriving at a moment when one reaches a point of feeling fully alive.

Jesus reminded us not to worry too much about tomorrow but instead to seek the Reign of God, which is already present among us. If finding, knowing and using your sweet spot is a taste of heaven (and surely it is) then why not listen to Jesus and look for it here and now?

Rev. Ian Lynch is pastor of  First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Brimfield, MA He blogs about the intersection of spirituality and society at CultureDove.blogspot.com and the intersection of spirituality and ornithology at  https://birdparables.blogspot.com


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