Sunday Morning Musings: A long time ago my preaching professor used to tell us to listen for the “ping factor” when preparing to write a sermon. It was not only good advice regarding listening to scriptures to find what would resonate within for preaching but has been good practise in life as a whole. And that which has been “pinging” for me this week has been the idea of journeying and pilgrimages and mystery.
I listened to a speaker talk about his time spent on the Camino trail. I was very moved by his reasons for making this journey and his encounters along the way. There were many things I took away from his talk but the idea of God as mystery is something that I hold very dear to my heart. The biggest take away for him and me, was the idea that mystery means that it is okay not to have all the answers, not to understand what we might encounter.
Each of us is on many journeys all at the same time. That is to say, that life has many layers but we have to be open and willing to experience them. At times, I would like to just drift through life and not have think about anything. I suppose that this is possible, but like most others I find myself wanting to dig a little deeper. As my friend reminded me in his talk, risk is the choice that is before us. We don’t have to risk anything, but without risk we have nothing, at least we will not find any real fulfillment in our lives.
If one “googles“ “risk taking” there seem to be endless quotes talking about how important it is to put oneself out there. One of my favourites has always been Robert Frost as he talks about two roads diverging “and I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference”. So many times it was easier to go down the familiar way, to do what has always been done before. Only when we step out into the unknown, only when we tell ourselves that it is okay not to know what is there, that we will find that difference.
Yet risk is risky. I prefer not to leap even after looking, but sometimes, (most times? all times?) it means not moving forward, and growing. This situation is especially true in the area of spiritual growth. If I am not willing to live with the idea of unknowing, to step forward with a sense of trusting that which I cannot see, I am choosing not to live my life fully. Now, I am not recommending that anyone, especially me, do straight out foolish things. I could write a cheque for a million dollars that would help any organization, but knowing the cheque would bounce, that would be foolish. I can tell you that I will jump from the CN Tower and fly to the earth safely, but we all know that is foolish (and messy).
No, by taking risks I mean that we use wisdom and discernment, knowledge and understanding to its fullest and proceed with that to which we are feeling called. Sometimes we will be called to make small changes and other times the changes will require a great deal of effort. We will be expected to move to places that are out of our comfort zones, or do things that will make us seem different to others. That is risk and that requires trust, even trust in that which is unknown, in that which is called mystery.