Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Destination Road

We must all come to understand our faults, and, in so doing, they can become assets.  For instance, I think I have a problem with destinations.  I don't get that, uh, them...  I never really want to get there, wherever it is I'm going.  Or, even more frustrating, just before I reach my destination, I change my mind about it.

I don't really dig completion.  It seems so, well, complete.  Not to say I haven't finished things and been satisfied with them and all that, but, sometimes the words in an old journal, an old picture, a simple jolting memory will take me back to something I assumed at the time was complete but, now, with the memory in the present, I realize there is so much more the previously finished thing has to teach me.  A perfect proof for the notion that most things are never truly done, we never really meet our destination, whatever, whenever, whomever they might be.

That's some convoluted thought right there, isn't it?  Let me try to make it a bit more concrete.

On Sunday, I was welcomed into full Communion with The Catholic Church.  I converted to Catholicism.  Wait, what?  That's a pretty big story there, isn't it?  Yeah, it is.

But, that's not the story I want to tell.  I haven't reached my spiritual destination, yet.  That's what I want to tell you.  I have been journeying toward yesterday for a long, long time.  Anyone who knows me knows that I did not make this decision lightly, easily, or frivolously - if that were the case I would have done it long ago.  No, I gave it lots of consideration; I read, I asked, I prayed, I listened, I noticed.  All along the long, long way.

I read poetry and philosophy, books on wildness and men, I read them because I was afraid I might forget them if I became a Catholic.  I was wrong.

I asked a lot of people what they thought and I got a lot of negativity, and only a little bit of hope.

I prayed, a lot.  I am no stranger to prayer so, honestly, that lifted me.

I listened in places new, between the real conversations.  That helped.

I noticed, I saw little things I'd never seen before.  I saw the hope where I'd never seen it before, I saw...

(I have been working on this post now for two days, and, I can't get it right.  I have deleted four times what you have read up to here.  I have agonized over whose feelings might be hurt if I said this or, to be honest, didn't say that.  I am going to do something I haven't really done before around here, publicly, at least - give up, let it go...)

I expressed a lot of doubt to a friend of mine, a priest if it matters, as we stood outside, feet up on a split rail fence on the grounds of the Seminary he runs.  "I'd have never guessed this would happen," I said, "I'd have never bet on this."

"And yet, here you are," was his quiet answer.

Yes, here I am.  I guess it all doesn't have much to do with the boys and all that, but, it occurs to me, it is something they will remember, something that happened on their road to adulthood, and...

That's my point.  I am on a journey.  This Sunday was hardly a destination for me, as I mentioned before very little is.  No, I want people, Nick and Zack especially, to understand that I am on a trip, a journey through so much known and unknown.  The road, high and low, muddy and rutted, paved and stone, happy and sad, painful, hurtful, silly, unjust, plain and wonderful, the road is my destination.  It's where I meet you, them, myself and, in all that, I am finding God.

I feel certain a day will come when I will share more of my journey in faith but, for some reason, I have found it all very painful, revealing even this much.  But, there is one story I want to tell you today.

I was challenged to pray daily in my search for an answer to all of this and, on the Friday before I was to be confirmed I got an answer.  A silly little answer.  I small trinket of understanding.  One miniscule missing piece.  I was praying, kneeling in the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel at the church we attend.  I was floundering in prayer, as I often do.  I was restless, scared, sad, sure of only my uncertainty when, in sheer desperation, I reached for a prayer book under the little desk and kneeler I was at.  It was a simple book, Prayers of Adoration, or something like that, I opened it and this fell out and landed with a pleasant little "tink":

It's a tiny little butterfly.  And it made me weep, and hope, and love and give thanks.

I'll just leave it at that.  Thanks for stopping by.  For all, and there are many, who find this whole thing incredulous, especially coming from me, well, step onto the road with me, I can point out a few beautiful things, I promise.  Let's all journey together.


  1. Very nice, Bill, and congratulations on your Confirmation. I don't find anything incredulous about it. It is a journey that is there for us to take, some do and some don't. I did, and though I wound up on a different path, I'm better for it. I hope your journey gives you love, peace and perspective.

    1. Thanks, Kevin, hearing that from a very old, uh, long-time, I mean, friend means a great deal. Right now, the closing doors behind me are louder than those quietly opening in front of me. Thanks for being a part of my journey, peace to you as well

  2. I think there may be nothing better to offer our children than simply to allow our journey, our efforts towards improvement (no matter whether we reach any specific goal), to be apparent to them. To let them know that we're not perfect, but that we strive for something a little better, to be a little better, to connect with something a little bigger. To show by example that it's okay to have questions, it's okay to struggle, but no matter how distant the answer seems, to never give up. I don't want my daughter to be complacent, resigned, or bored with life. And since I want her to wrestle with it, to seek things that matter, I realize I need to be doing more of that myself. Thanks, Bill.

  3. I am a firm believer that our task is to focus more on finding joy in the journey than in getting to the destination.

  4. I am going through RCIA right now and am looking forward to the day I can take Communion. I have had small moments like this along the way. As my sponsor said during one of our classes: "We focus on God being in the heavens, above us. But most often we should look left or right and he is right there next to us." That is immediately what I thought of when I read this. Congratulations on your confirmation!

  5. There are so many hooks into compelling stories here. My favorite might be this: "I read poetry and philosophy, books on wildness and men, I read them because I was afraid I might forget them if I became a Catholic. I was wrong."

    I think to myself: Bill's reading list would be a must-read list for any and all spiritual journeymen.