Okay, I’ve been hearing lately about this ‘wall’* that can occur on one’s spiritual journey. A time when what we thought we knew about life doesn’t make much sense any more. A time when we can’t keep moving forward as we are. I have been brushing this off knowing that I must have hit it some time ago when I was changing careers. Or, maybe I just didn’t notice it. Characters in novels may need to hit these proverbial walls – Jane Eyre learning about Rochester’s wife, Bertha, or Jo March living through the death of her sister Beth – but I didn’t.
Then I went back to work, to start another quarter of campus ministry – and this was the last thing I wanted to do. My inner being was rebelling against this journey. I felt a failure. I felt I’ve been on the wrong path, losing myself in a morass of administrative tasks. I’m just scooting by in connecting with God and others. I’m not really excited about anything in my life, not reaching out in new areas, complaining, wanting someone to come in and fix it. You get the picture. I felt that I was physically bumping up against a wall. It was all I could do to take a few steps to the car, drive to my office, and prepare for the evening. Something was pushing against my chest. I wanted to cry out – this is not me. I felt caged. My service is not authentic and is too much founded on my limited means.
Looks like that wall is before me, no matter how much I want to deny it. It would be so easy to start hiding behind a stack of work once again. Sending emails to students, writing up task lists, shopping for food. But I don’t want to go there this time. I want to keep hitting the wall. Crying out in prayer, even if it feels empty, and forcing myself to address the trouble in my soul. This is definitely not a comfortable part of my life story. I don’t know how long this wall will be before me or how it will break me. But beyond all reason, I trust that what comes out on the other side will be a story I could have never imagined on my own. There’s another Author in charge.
(I most recently encountered this idea while reading the book The Critical Journey: Stages in the Life of Faith by Janet O. Hagberg and Robert A. Guelich.)