14 September 2010
I'm fairly sure that had someone told me thirteen years ago that the circumstances of my life would be as they are now, I would have laughed. A vocation in the trades and membership in a liturgical church weren't things my thinking was pointing to back then, back when I was starting university as an aspiring academic with a cultivated distaste for institutionalized faith.
Some, from a distance, may look at me now and wonder, shaking their heads, what went wrong. What wrench fell off the cowling and into the gears. There were times, I think, when I wondered that myself. Or at least, wondered whether something had gone wrong.
They say that hindsight is always 20/20. But the older I get, the less convinced I am of that. I think that hindsight does, perhaps, grow clearer with time. But what it views at first as a grave mistake may prove, years later, to be the gold nugget you tripped over, the rock face you slid down to the clear and cool lake you never would have found otherwise.
I make it sound so accidental when I don't believe it actually is. Because this past couple of years, it has seemed, more than ever before, that I am exactly where I ought to be. Everything I have pursued, every endeavor I have undertaken, all of my achievements and especially my failures, have brought me here, to these spaces now, in the midst of these people and privy to these conversations and a part of these stories. Places to give and receive, places where I am both nurtured and nurturer. Learning what I was not ready to learn before, and giving what I could not possibly have given before, able now only by the path that has brought me here. Had I come to it by any other way, this place might be wasted on me.
I know the plans I have for you, saith the Lord.
Sometimes, when pieces fall into place, I cannot help but wonder at the perfection of God, who can use not only my strengths but also my greatest weaknesses and my most colossal failures. The Anglican church teaches that faith does not make you someone that you are not; it helps you become more who you truly are. And in this wonder, I become not a small, insignificant automaton or a grovelling, unworthy wretch, but rather, a human being made more fully alive by an elegant grace.
Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Thy book they were all written,
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.