“It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.” -Wendell Berry
My personal story has a lot of God in it. What I mean is that the concept and experience of God has played a large role in my life. My spirituality has a Christian flavor to it because Christianity is the tradition in which I was raised.
Now, that's not to say that my understanding of God hasn't grown and evolved over time. The evangelical in me wants to say that I've gotten to know God better over the years, but there are other parts of my self in the driver's seat right now, so I don't use that terminology as much anymore. So, I'll just say that things are different.
About a year or so ago, I came to a impasse in my spiritual journey where I felt like God was wanting me to go on without him. I understand how strange that may sound, but I'd like to relay a little of my experience here, so please here me out. In some ways, I'm just beginning to move beyond this impasse; I suppose this goes to show how difficult it's been for me to navigate.
It can be troubling, after all, when you first arrive at the place Wendell Berry referred to where you no longer know what to do and you know longer know which way to go. Joseph Campbell implied as much when he said, "If you can see your path laid out in front of you... you know it's not your path." I think what he meant by this is that your own path has not been and cannot be made by anyone else; it remains for you alone to blaze.
Sadly, most people never arrive at their own path. Instead, they are content to follow the path of other people all their lives. Sometimes, though, one is compelled by forces unknown to launch out into the deep... to cut anchor and leave the harbor in which they have lived all their days. See the biblical character of Abraham for instance. He went out, not knowing where he was going, in search of a city that was "not built with human hands" (Hebrews 11:10).
I like to think that this is the place where I recently arrived, at least in my own little way. My journey with God (as I understood God) had taken me as far as it could and it was time for something new. I liken it to a father-child relationship. At some point, the child has to grow up and move out of the house and embark on his of her own life. If this transition never occurs, one can assume that the parent has failed to equip their child for life without them. In that sense, I guess you could say it was like God finally told me to go get a job and find my own place.
I'd like to wax eloquent about this some more, but I'm afraid I'd get lost in the woods trying to explain what I mean any better than I already have. Instead, I'll leave you with one of my journal entries from back when I first sensed this transition occurring and tried to put it into words.
December 11, 2018