May 6, 2010
I have truly fallen off the Face of the Earth. Aye, it is a strange tale indeed, the journey that took me off the Edge of the World and back, and I count myself blessed that the Good Lord has allowed me to live to tell it.
I knew something was wrong with this New World when I saw the lemons. They had all gone rotten. The air was thick with their sour-sweet stench. It got into my men’s heads and I swear we all slowly went mad from it. There was no other choice—we had to leave. And so we packed everything back up on the Andromeda and once again set sail.
Only, we had no heading. We were like pirates following a treasure map that bore no X. What was more, my compass had mysteriously disappeared. No stars shone in the sky. We were lost. Hopelessly adrift in the wide and lonely sea.
Then the men caught the yellow fever and they lost their minds. They threatened mutiny if I did not turn back. But by then it was too late. The ship began to tip over the edge—the Edge of the World. And we fell. Countless fathoms down and down and down. Until we landed… in a sea of limes.
I saw them and, Lord help me, I cracked. I began to laugh and couldn’t stop. After our search for lemons, we fell upon a sea of limes that spread as far as the distant horizon! I felt that Fate was laughing in our faces. There we floated for countless days without a clue as to what to do. One by one, the men left me, attempting to swim to what shore could be found, or just jumping into the lime-sea for something to do.
I was alone.
It is not a comfortable feeling to be left alone beyond the Edge of the World. You find you can’t run or hide. There comes a time when you feel yourself adrift that you are forced to face the person you are now, the person you once were, and the person you are striving to become. It is the coward who hides from the truth. The truth that I discovered was that I had come so far in search of lemons only to realize that perhaps I had left them where I began.
And so now I am somehow making my way through this sea of limes back to the beginning.
In not so many words, that’s what I’ve decided to do. In my search for lemons, I’ve come to a world of limes. And so now I realize the best thing to do is go back to where I started and try again there. I don’t see it as failure. But I’ll let Mother Angelica say it, as only she can:
“We don’t want to step out in faith and say, ‘God, the only hand I have is Yours, even though I don’t know where You’re going.’ I think that’s the most thrilling experience: not to know what God is doing—but going out and doing it anyway.
It’s very difficult for a real Christian to mess this up. If you try something and you fail, you’ve been humbled. You’re a little smarter the next time; you learn to depend upon God and not yourself. You can learn much in failure. If you succeed: you are aware of God’s spirit, aware of His using you in extraordinary ways. So from a spiritual perspective, you can’t fail no matter what happens.”
Well, that’s what I’d hoped I was doing, stepping out hand-in-hand with the Lord, letting go and letting God… but I ended up fighting it a lot of the way. I was hoping to find direction in life, to make some sense out of it. But I became even more lost than I was before. I lost God’s hand in the darkness and tried to find my own way—never a good idea.
In short, God gave me a big fat piece of humble pie.
Finally, when I stopped my whining and swallowed my pride, He worked some of his magic, and He did show me some unexpected lemons among the limes. (This isn't supposed to make any sense to most, but I had no idea Panera had such sweet lemons ;0)
Life is still a journey, and just because I’ve decided to return home to “gorges” Ithaca (the weekend of May 22) still lost, directionless, and unemployed, it doesn’t mean that it’ll stop journeying.
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began
Now far ahead the Road has gone
And I must follow if I can
Pursuing it with eager feet
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet
And wither then? I cannot say.