The Road Goes Ever On & On
“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.”
The title says it all… The song/poem composed by J.R.R. Tolkien has always been one of my favorites, and many times in my life I have recalled it with great fondness as well as excitement and perhaps a healthy measure of fear. After 9 months here at Holy Redeemer Monastery in Southern Indiana, and with much prayer and hesitation, we’ve decided to move to Greenville, IL to pursue…well, God. There are hopes of managing a coffee shop with our good friends Eric & Carrie Jewett, there’s the hint of the beginnings of a mission church, and there’s the smell of community in the air. But, in the end, nothing is for certain, and we are simply going on faith, hope, and love; faith in the all sufficient grace of God, hope in the road set before us (although we’ve no idea where it will lead), and love of Christ and His Church. We had made plans to move back to Indy, and after much searching for jobs and housing, all the doors just seemed to be shut. And, without intentionally pursuing anything West, opportunities opened up in Greenville. So, we prayed about it, asked for advice, and through a couple of discussions and one amazing “coincidence” we find ourselves packing up the ole’ wagon (really) and heading West.
We’ve told all of our family and many of our friends, and while most are sad and disappointed at our decision not to move back to Indy, all are supportive and happy for us and our adventure. The cliched statement from most of the older faithful at St. John’s was “Well, bad for us, but good for you.” Flattering and encouraging at the same time. We will miss our dear parish and the city that is our home, but we hope to find life in Illinois, (no Eric, that’s not a crack at the small town…) and how can we not? For if the Holy Spirit is truly everywhere present and filling all things, then I think we will not be disappointed.
In pondering all of this, I stumbled across a quote from Mike Yaconelli (Memory Eternal!) from an article written on his 50th birthday, and thought I would post it here. It’s an excellent reminder to me and hopefully to all of you:
“So here I stand, looking at the ground, smelling the faint fragrance of God. Never once did it occur to me that when I found God’s trail again, it would ruin my life forever and for once you feel the breath of God on your skin, you can never turn back, you can never settle for what was, you can only move on recklessly, with abandon, your heart filled with fear, your ears ringing with the constant whisper, “Fear not.”
Once you find where the trail is, you are faced with a sobering truth and in order to go on, you must let go of what brought you here. You cannot go on without turning your back on what brought you to this place.
It is like swinging on a trapeze. Once you have gained the courage to swing, you never want to let go…and then, without warning (around age 50, for me), you look up and see another trapeze swinging towards you, perfectly timed to meet you, and you realize you are being asked to let go and grab onto the other trapeze. You have to release your grip. You have to reach out. You have to experience the glorious terror of inbetween-ness as you disconnect from one and reach for the other.
This past year has been a time of letting go, one finger at a time, and these last few weeks have been a terrifying weightlessness, a wait-lessness, a paralyzing stretch for the unknown. I haven’t reached the other bar yet. I am somewhere in between, but I can tell you this: my heart is filled with an exhilaration, an anxious anticipation that just as I get to the other bar, I will not grasp it, but I will instead be grasped by the hand of Jesus.”
“I can hardly wait.”
How can one say it any better? This has been my journey so far, and at 26 years of age, it shows no sign of slowing! All I can ask is that God continue to give me wonder, as He always has done. And, I hope I can live in such a way that others will see this fearlesness and come to know and trust God as I have. If I achieve nothing else in this life, I will be able to say that all my life was lived as if swinging from a trapeze, and Jesus never let go. He gives us rest and comfort on the platforms occasionally, but I always know that it’s only temporary. Even if all the externals seem stable, I know that the next jump is coming, and I’m only moments away from the next swing. But, in it all I’ll be able to say with joy and wonder, as Mikey was fond of saying, “Man, what a ride!”
Glory to God for All Things! Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!