Finding my way

For some weeks, I have been on walkabout, as a friend says (she feels that the word “journey” is over used amongst spiritual folks – I get her point.) Certainly “walkabout” is a better word than “pilgrimage,” because I have no idea where I am headed – only that I was feeling led out of the church family that had been my haven for more than four years. It can be a lonely feeling, not knowing what I am looking for, or where I am going to find it. Thankfully, I have had many friends supporting me as I wander out in the wilderness.
One of those friends, Michele, sent me an encouraging quote today: “You don’t need to know where you’re going to know you’re headed in the right direction.” Just the word I was needing. In a culture that values certainty, it is good to know that I have many friends who do not expect that from me.
Michele’s quote reminded me of something we used to say in Divinity school: “I am on a ‘need-to-know basis’ with God.” The idea was that we felt pretty sure that what we were up to in that moment was something that pleased God – even that God had led us to this place and time – but the future was murky. And that was ok, because we trusted that God would give us what we needed to know when we needed to know it.
I am so blessed to have been in a threshold place for so many years – to be day by day on a need-to-know basis with God. And I do not mean that in an inspirational greeting card sort of way – it has been difficult, no doubt – as when the Israelite people agreed to the covenant with YHWH, I am blood besprinkled. Also like the Israelite people, I am not entirely up to the challenge on many days, and I can get weirdly nostalgic for my days of enslavement in Egypt.
But most of the time, I am aware that I have come a long way from those adolescent days when, listening to the words of articulate atheist drummer and lyricist Neil Peart, I misunderstood the phrase “The point of the journey is not to arrive,” to mean that the idea was to avoid arriving anywhere, as opposed to what he most likely (and more wisely) meant: do not focus so much on the destination that you forget to be present to your present. Certainly I was pointedly avoiding arriving for many many years. Now, instead, I am freed to be in the moment by the assurance that my arrival is in the hands of One more competent than myself.

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