for people who don’t know me, or seldom see this side of my personality, let me explain: i act like a person who “is more spiritual than religious” but after putting some serious thought and study into it i have chosen my faith to be my constant place of solace. i will NEVER tell you what to believe or how to believe in it, but i also won’t be ashamed to tell you about my beliefs. in fact, i love hearing about what people believe because it sharpens and strengthens my beliefs, and that’s important. the day i close my mind is, in effect, the day my life stops growing.
last thursday i met with my pastor for coffee. we talked for the first time ever, really, and it was cool to find so much in common with the person who has been leading me spiritually for the past three years. i wanted him to know where i was coming from as a person and as a Christian, so i told him my “how i came to love God” story. jon suggested i tell it to the congregation at the next service, and i flinched. i warned him that in college, i threw up during my public speaking final. at that final i had to LEAVE THE ROOM to VOMIT and after hearing this jon was still like, you’re cool. it’ll be okay. give it a try.
so this morning, i told this story to three hundred of my fellow church-goers and it was amazing. absolutely terrifying. i had a paper with me, i went up after being introduced and my hands were shaking so badly that i almost dropped the paper i was going to read from. i said good morning and informed the congregation that i would simply read because of my lackluster speaking abilities. and as i read, my voice shook and my hands shook and i was scared out of my mind.
but near the end, i stepped off the page and gave a closing remark that i hadn’t written. suddenly my voice cleared for the last twelve seconds of my story and i looked up and people were smiling. they were encouraging. i ended with explaining how i can trust in God’s love for me because i can clearly see how things were given to me early on that prepared me for the terrible things i went through later. i know that i was prepared to survive, and prepared to be strong in God’s love and grace. and i was shocked to get applause! that was pretty new to me.
this is my LIFE. this life has been saturated and heavy and full of everything. it’s all been a gift, and i frankly never thought i’d live this long, which makes that even more of a present of love from the Lord. when i don’t let my ego get in the way, i wake up smiling because i’ve seen the dirty false shit side of love, and i’ve seen the freeing trancendent simple love, and without the former i would never recognize and appreciate the latter as much as i do.