In the Holy Scriptures, Christ rebukes one of his favored disciples, Peter, (whom Jesus had just proclaimed as the rock on which His church would be built) for questioning the plans of the Almighty.
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 16:23-25 KJV,)
This passage is well-known, but is it understood? In my experience, the answer to that question is a resounding, “No.”
Let me tell you what it means to me, a middle-aged woman with two grown sons and a 25-year marriage left behind in the dust of this reality. When I decided to “follow,” I left behind a 15-year teaching career. I left behind a long-lasting desire to join the ranks of C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling in publishing my stories. I left behind my mother, my sister, my brother, my father and the many others, as well as their respective life-issues. I left behind the many “connections” I had made in pursuit of my goals, my published writer-friends, my newspaper reporter and editor friends/connections, even my spiritual, New Age friends and their respective philosophies.
I left behind a comfortable life, a future that would have held trips to Hawaii and Scotland and anywhere else my heart desired. I had an easy life that seemed destined to become even easier and fuller, in those earthly ideals of materialism.
That life I had is not what I wanted.
In 2009, something awoke inside of me. It started furiously nudging at me in 2012, at first through the stories I was writing, then it bugged me more. It became an anxiousness in my being. I became uncomfortable “in my own skin,” in a sense; as if there was something I should be doing and I had fallen horribly off course. My search led me to foreign places and nearby experiences. The only thing that was constant in those days was that ever-present feeling of anxiety. I still could not understand what was missing.
My human search to ease my unease took me down a road I believed I would never tread. I betrayed my husband and my oath to my self-respect. I knew I had to stop that slide of my soul.
I took my red puppy, my car, my recently purchased camping supplies and the fire that continued to burn in my soul. I thought I knew what that was, but I only knew it burned stronger than anything I had ever felt in my life. I took my Bible on my trip, and my Faith in our Almighty Creator and His Beloved Christ. One thing I did know, as my journey began, is that my love for my Creator burned through me, it filled me and gave me rest in my times of sorrow. I at least knew that what drove me was something others might recognize, even if I couldn’t understand it. I continued to recite that saying, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Not many understood me. I was humored, sometimes encouraged, mainly, though, just humored. Fortunately, on my journey, I found another who was similarly driven. David and I are not alone in this, even though we may feel that way some times.
As the years passed, I felt my acquaintances pulling away, mainly because of my “neglect”; my Friends’ lists shrank, sometimes of my own doing. I began to feel like I was heading down the path that would turn me into the neighborhood Bag Lady. Truth be told, however, I do not regret what I’ve done. Despite sad times where those who were supposed to be closest to me stopped their support. Despite hard times where gasoline and meals were no longer sure things.
What I have learned to admit is this, sad reality: I am not strong enough to stand in my own truth while living in the “real world.” I cannot entertain those who would make me question my motivation. It may not make sense to you, my readers, but imagine if a disciple had brought along his wife; she would have precedence in his decisions, not his teacher, Jesus. What if Peter had scheduled regular trips back home for fishing season? What if Mary of Magdala had continued her dealings as a business woman? Tenants would have badgered her, business partners would have tried to redirect her mission with the Lord. You get the picture, don’t you? How can you be fully dedicated in your task if something else takes your focus?
Nothing can ever come close to explaining what this means to me, however. I continue to drive this human water-sack that is my body on a seemingly never-ending journey. My guide? My Heart –not just the blob that pumps blood in my chest. It’s my Core. Maybe it’s just a matter of translation, though. What drives me can be better-described as my corazon, the Spanish translation for heart, but more than just a translation.
My drive, my motivation, what keeps me alive, is my Core, the casing for my Essence, pounding to the beat of my own little drum. My own, personal Golden Ticket.
That being said, I continue to love my Lord, my God, my Creator. I am His servant. I don’t have some kind of physical contract binding me. I don’t have a “Servant of the Lord” notarized and laminated card in my wallet. There is no baptismal certificate hanging in an oak frame in my dining room. I don’t even have an employee/employer agreement where my roles and responsibilities are detailed. Nope.
It’s just between me and the Almighty Creator, the One who hears my prayers. No one else needs to answer my question on this blog. It has been answered. There has been no contract other than a verbal one entered into millenia ago and reinforced throughout the events of this current life. My reminders pop in every now and then. Sometimes, it’s an ache that brings on tears. Sometimes, it’s just a song that haunts my soul.
…. I continue on my journey now, friends, simply fulfilling my contract,
The Dragonfly’s Student