A Journey Revisited
Life isn’t fair. Bad things happen to good people for no good reason. Two truths I have never been able to come to terms with. I am a man on a journey. A journey to search for answers, for understanding, for clarity, and for peace.
After all that I have been through in my life to this point, I am proud to say that I have taken the blows, and I may be battered and bruised, but I am still standing. I have had my share of problems and difficulties. It does not make me unique, but my circumstances have presented me with challenges, nonetheless. But I am not a quitter. My only option has been to pick myself up, dust myself off, and do the best I can to go on with my life and to try to make things better for my daughters and myself.
If this were a movie, this would be the part where I would realize that I need answers I cannot find myself without some deep soul searching and perhaps divine intervention. I would take a backpack and a fur coat, and walk about two hundred miles, where I would come to a mountain. I would climb to the top where I would find a colony of devout, wise monks or holy men. I would study with them for several months, and come back refreshed, renewed, and wise. I would have the answers I have been seeking, and be ready to continue my journey, and rebuild the kind of life I want to have. But, since I have no idea where the wise monks are, this isn’t going to happen.
I have often referred to my difficulties over the last few years as a journey, as it is very much like a long journey to rebuild one’s life after living through hard, strenuous life changing circumstances. It has been a journey I have travelled alone. Well, almost alone. I have talked with God often during this time, and He has travelled this journey with me. It has not been an easy one thus far, and it is nowhere near over.
It has been said that one’s faith is also a journey, and my faith is no different. Some journey in search of faith. I believe that a faith journey is one that never ends. I think about my faith often and more so lately. I wonder what it means, and where it will lead me. I wonder if I have enough faith.
I have been trudging along on this journey for a long time. It has been a long, hard, taxing, and exhausting experience. My journey is one during which I am searching and somewhat unsure of where I am and where I am going. I look back at the road on which I have travelled so far. I have learned along the way. This journey has been a lot of hard work. I am not sure if I have tried too hard or not hard enough, or neither, but a number of setbacks along the way have led me back to a point where I need to start over. I am grateful for the chance to begin the journey once again, this time armed with knowledge gained from past missteps. This time, I will journey more carefully, listening for direction from God, taking the proper paths, and going toward where He wants me to be.
This journey is also a quest. A quest for answers, and to ask the right questions. A quest for what I need in my life. A quest to find what my God wants for me. A quest for wisdom, understanding, and to be understood. A quest for a connection. A quest to let someone in. A quest to find where I belong. And finally, a quest for love, and to be loved.
It is a quest to escape my past, and the hurt, anger, sorrow, disappointment, frustration, loneliness and emptiness that goes along with it. There are times I feel chained to the past. I long to find the key. I know that is up to me and within my grasp to find the key. I yearn to unlock the chains and soar like an eagle to a future where I continue on my journey, unafraid to embrace the changes I need to make.
The journey has mostly been like climbing a very steep, treacherous, rocky hill. I have not taken every available path, because I have been afraid to fall. That has been a mistake. Our greatest triumphs sometimes come from rising each time we fall. I feel like I wear every battle scar from every injury, every hurt, and every wound over this time period as if they were medals to be proud of. As if they would earn me respect, admiration, compassion, or even pity. But these battle scars are not medals. They are reminders that I have healed in some ways, and in other ways, I have healing yet to do. My journey, my future and my life cannot and should not be about my battle scars. This journey must be about what happens during and after this journey.
The constant on my journey has been God. He has been there to guide me and direct me when I ask, and even when I have not asked. I believe that He wants me to learn and to understand as much as I want that myself. I have not always done a good job of following His direction. But He has never left me, He has never given up on me, and He has stayed and walked with me, and carried me at times. I must learn to listen to Him and to follow Him. The one thing I can say is that I never gave up on trusting God, because I knew that He never gave up on me. I know that He has a plan for me. And I know that His plan is better than mine. That never stopped me from trying out my own ideas. It has been said “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans”. God and I still have a journey to complete together.
I will need my faith as I go forward, as I have needed it thus far. I have never abandoned my faith, and I have never felt that it was in vain. I have, however, felt alone and frustrated with it sometimes.
Maybe the problem is what I am searching for. I search and I focus on finding what I lost, what I need, and what I no longer need. What I should probably do is to be thankful to God for what I have, and for the opportunity to search, and for the opportunity for this journey. A friend told me that it all needs to start with gratitude to God. I have a good idea of what the finish line will look like, and what I need to find, but the journey itself gives me the chance to learn about myself, about others, and who will be waiting for me at the end of this journey – or even along the way. Perhaps this is where I need to be right now. For better or for worse, I am who I am – a man on a journey to become better along the way.
I believe that God will guide me on my journey, and He will lead me to where I need to go. But I have felt impatient that things were not changing quickly enough. I do not see things moving in a positive direction. But God has my best interests in mind. He puts me where I need to be, whether I understand or not. Maybe I should try harder to find the good in those situations.
I am a good man. I am a sinner. I am a precious child of God. He has generously endowed with gifts to be used in the world for His glory. God loves me, not because of anything that I have done, or because I deserve it, because I am His. He wants me to change for the better, and to improve, to change into who He wants me to be. There is a better life waiting for me. The life I want is waiting for me, and I need the strength and courage to do what I need to do, to do the work needed to reach out and to claim what should be mine.
It has been said that God knows what we can handle and never increases our workload or stress load beyond that limit. I have often questioned that particular piece of knowledge, but the reality is that God does know best. I have also heard it said that the “bruising and molding” that any of us goes through are designed to make us into better human beings. God knows how much we can each take. “Whatever does not kill me will make me stronger”.
I find that I am not always feeling as though I am where I need to be. My mind is drawn to thoughts of what I see as what I need or where I need to be as opposed to what God sees. I feel frustrated, and disappointed. Maybe what God wants for me and what I want are not the same thing, and I do not understand. But God really does know best. How will I know what God wants for me? How will I know what He wants me to do? How will I know what His plan for me is?
The best I can do is to try to listen for Him to speak to me. It could be the “still, small voice”, or a thought that just pops into my head at some random moment. It could be a comment or a suggestion from a friend.
I need to be where God wants me to be. I need to feel good about who I am. I believe that it would bring peace to feel that I am where I should be and that I am who I am supposed to be. I am not there yet. Or maybe I am and just don’t know it.
I feel as if I am on the verge of finding the answers I seek, but I am unsure what step to take next. Something big, and important and wonderful is about to happen for me, and I do not want to miss it. I need to be in the middle of it, not just sitting on the sidelines. Sometimes I feel as if I can see the life I want and the things I need through a window in a door. They keys are not in my hand at this point. I cannot knock the door down. I must find that key.
I think that my journey is a faithful journey taken under the ever watchful eye of God. I am in search of my life. A life different from what I once knew, different from now. The kind of life I choose, rebuilt from the ashes of the recent past, the kind of life I deserve, and one that follows God’s plan.
God has a plan. In Jeremiah 29, the Bible says “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” But I feel impatient and frustrated as God’s plan unfolds much more slowly than I would like. But I also know that it will be what is best for me, and it will all happen in HIS time, not in my time. I need to learn to trust Him more.
I need to accept all that has happened to me. I need to learn from it, and let it go. I need to make peace from it, and let it go. I need to take what I have learned, and focus on the future. I need to build the kind of life I want. I must be responsible for my own happiness.
I need to be unafraid to fail, or to make mistakes. We learn from mistakes. I need to focus on what my life will be like in the future. Where my journey will take me. To be open to what God has planned for me.
So I will begin this journey again. I cannot wait until something better happens. I will have to work to make things better. I do not have complete control over the changes I must make. For example, the job opportunities I choose to pursue. I cannot control the outcome of any job interview. Some of the people in my life are only here for a short while. Others will be in my life for many years. I have only limited control her. I can only do my best, and make the best choices that I can. My choices must be ba