I sat in my grey Ford Tempo at the stop sign at the corner of Lincoln and Fountain. I couldn’t figure out which was to turn so I just sat there. There were two good options for me to go to spend my evening. I believed that God would give me what I needed and that I would hear whatever I needed to hear. But what if what I was supposed to hear was on the left and I turned right?
Just sitting there meant I didn’t go anywhere.
I was new on the spiritual path and terrified most of the time. The terror wasn’t new, but dealing with it sober was. So I explored different religions.
At one Pentecostal church I hung out in, we tried to save anyone we could. Our ragamuffin crew of drug addicts and alcoholics cruised our town preaching the gospel to anyone we ran into. One Sunday evening we gathered together for a laughing ministry someone brought to our town. He said he had been touched by God with the spirit of laughter and brought it to share with the congregation. He toured the country sharing this thing.
People rolled around on the floor, fell off chairs, laid on each other, all of them laughing at a joke I had missed. My eyes darted around, nervous. I didn’t see what was funny. I hadn’t been touched. Proof there was something wrong with me.
Everyone I talked to had their own opinions about the right way to live.
Some of them were entrenched in their “way” so much that they believed their path was the only one that would keep you out of the hell fire. 90% of me didn’t believe in that, but the other 10% of me was afraid they were right. It was so confusing because similar religions believed that theirs was the only one that would save you. I wanted to be saved. I needed saving so badly. That whole story about the dirty sinner being washed clean was so appealing. I believed that’s what I was–dirty. The only answer to that is a complete cleansing.
I wanted a rich life based on spiritual principles. But I couldn’t figure out which path to follow.
This church? That church? This method? That method? A combination? Listen to myself? None of the above? Did I have to wait to be cleansed before I could move on? The whole thing was so overwhelming.
There is no right path.
The map of the spiritual life is like a bicycle wheel. Peace is at the center. Each spoke leads to it. It doesn’t matter which spoke you follow, you’ll get there. It’s like an intricate set of monkey bars. Climb down one spoke as long as you can and then jump over to another one and go as far as you can. Keep going that way. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. And rest in between.
Back to the stop sign at the beginning
I could say that just sitting there meant I didn’t go anywhere. But even that’s not true. The real lesson: God uses what’s at hand. You can’t go wrong. Any spoke will take you there. I learned one of my best lessons just sitting there. This: left or right doesn’t matter. Just go.
Keep going that way. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. And when you can’t, curl up. God will meet you right where you are. You have everything you need right here, right now.