What an amazing leap of faith this journey is for me. I have never taken such a huge step off of such a high cliff before. Throughout most of my life I have always been a very decisive individual. Anyone who knows me will tell you that when I decide to do something I’m all over it all at once. I do what I set out to do…it is just how I roll. I have not handled this adventure any differently. I got the call from God, and I leapt with both feet. But wow, when I look back at where I jumped from, even for me this is a major undertaking.
How did I get here? I am still trying to wrap my head around how it is that I have managed to go from being adamantly non-Christian to a student of Divinity. Lucky for me, this is a journey and not the whole destination all at once. I am pretty sure it would have blown my pretty little head right off my shoulders. Darn near every day more is revealed. Getting into the seminary takes a lot of work on the part of the applicant. I had to write an essay outlining my journey. That actually was a great place to start. If you have been to my “My Story” page, then you know the gist of my essay. Writing my story clarified things not only for everyone else, but for me as well. Up until that point I was carrying it all around in a discombobulated fashion in my head. It wasn’t a very comfortable load; I can assure you.
Last Sunday we had a particularly relevant sermon…for me at least. It was about the Good Samaritan and looking at the story from a different perspective…primarily from that of the alleged victim. No one talks much about that poor sap and what he had to go through laying there all alone beaten and bypassed by his own people. As I was listening to the sermon I started getting goose bumps. I HAVE been in that position. Two and a half years ago when I was living in Buffalo NY I had an experience that was very close in nature. It was a very cold day in January. I was leaving for work that morning and very much in a hurry because my dog had decided to bolt out the door right before I left and I had to chase her down. After getting her in and grabbing my stuff I was huffing it pretty good. I hit a patch of ice, and my ankle positioned itself just right so that it would break in 3 places. I still frequently relive the awful cracking sound echoing off the buildings. The pain was blinding and immediate. I lay there in the driveway between my duplex, and the duplex next door just screaming and screaming. Everyone was home, but no one even bothered to poke their head out of the window to see what the problem was. I was new to New York; I had tried to get to know the neighbors, but had met with a lot of suspicion and resistance…apparently that carried over to me being hurt as well.
In the story of the Good Samaritan my pastor spoke of the guy in the ditch being bypassed by people who he had thought were like him, of his particular ilk so to speak. They went out of their way to avoid him, but then someone stopped…a Samaritan…or, as some would have assumed, an enemy. The Samaritan was different, he was of a nationality that the guy in the ditch did not understand, he was someone who was “not to be trusted”. But he was also the only one who stopped to help…an alien source of help you might say. When my help finally arrived, it was also an alien source of help. The first person to show up for me was what we commonly refer to as a “gang-banger”. He was a local kid who was waiting for his school bus, but at first glance, most people are going to pull out the old gang-banger label. This was the only person out of that whole block of people who was willing to call 911. My pastor spoke of how the guy in the ditch must have been affected by the experience and how it must have brought about quite a change in the guy’s paradigm of who’s who and what’s what. He spoke of how it must have been the beginning of quite a transformation…and again…for me…goose bumps.
A year later, I lost my job in New York. They told me that after I broke my ankle, I just never quite came back to who I was beforehand. I really could not argue with that. At the time, it seemed like breaking my ankle while being all alone in a strange place, nearly broke me. Up until that point I was very gung-ho about my career and where it was going, and I was all about moving up and making a lot of money. But breaking my ankle and being so isolated from everyone I knew made a very imposing impression on me, and this was the beginning of my understanding that my relationships are far more important than a career or money could ever be. No one cared enough when I was hurt to even lift the phone and call 911…no one that is excluding one lone “gang-banger”. My paradigm shifted, and my transformation began. It wasn’t until last Sunday however that the final pieces clicked into place. I finally understood the origins of this strange journey I am on, and I finally understood the wisdom behind the accident in the first place. I truly started to unravel after that accident, and I never could figure out why until now. For a long time it seemed like such a terrible thing, but now I see that I HAD to come unraveled before I could be re-knit into a better and more holistic me.
So now I have taken my leap of faith…I thought breaking my ankle after falling on the ice would destroy me, yet now I willingly jump off a cliff for God. You know what? Once I jumped, God gave me wings…and now…I am learning to fly.
“There’s no sensation to compare with this, suspended animation, a state of bliss…” Pink Floyd