Today I gave an invocation for a Bar Association function. Lawyers. Lots of them. I decided to call us to our best and highest selves. I gave thanks for the noble calling of the law with its roles of preserver of justice, encourager of equality and fairness, and arbiter of peace. In the spirit of prayer I asked, "May we know success in our vocation to such a degree that we one day render ourselves obsolete." May it be so and Amen.
My husband was in attendance but seated at a separate table.
"What do you think she meant by that?!" asked one of the attorneys at his table as soon as I had finished. "I don't think I like that idea...'Rendering myself obsolete.' No, I don't like that at all."
My husband let the critique go on awhile before he revealed our connection. It is a tribute to the attorney, or evidence of his professional habits, that he did not back down after the revelation. He was not so much confrontational as flummoxed. I am pleased to have sparked a little conversation. So often I receive no feedback from an invocation and am left wondering if I should have just mumbled my preschool age son's favorite blessing, "Drace. Awww man!" (Translation: Grace. Amen.) And I also stand by my words.
The goal of my religion is to create a more just and equitable world in our own lifetime. I think it is a wonderful idea that this world could become such a paradise that my services would no longer be needed. I would hope that anyone who works for justice would still believe that it is possible, and that they could be helpful in bringing it about. If we can't imagine peace, how will we know it if we see it?
I would like to share this sentiment of working toward the goal of rendering one's profession obsolete with other groups before whom I speak. When I looked at my calendar, however, it became clear that won't be possible in the near future. My next eligible speaking engagement? The Funeral Directors' Association.