I am nearing the end of reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, and I am exhausted.
Not because of the book, mind you. The last chapters just happen to coincide with the first week of my new job and therein lies the rub. My new job is wonderful. My body's adjustment to a new schedule and demands is not. But this is not about my new job. This is about the journey I began almost 40 days ago, at the request of my friend Katrina.
As I pondered this post, I almost started it by saying that I am nearing the end of my journey, but I quickly realized that would be nonsense. My journey, like Bilbo Baggins' road, goes ever on.
I have not taken everything in the book to heart. Some chapters, particularly those on service, resonated deeply with me. Others, less so. I am not of an evangelical bent when it comes to my beliefs, so at times the author lost both my interest and my heart.
Rather, what reading The Purpose Driven Life has done is pulled my sleepy little craft - my life boat, as it were - out of the eddies into which it had drifted and put me right back out on the ocean again. It has cast me out upon the endless sea: closer to my beliefs, closer to the Spirit of the Universe, closer to God.
Among the many works I have read in recent weeks has been the novel Brendan by Frederick Buechner. (Discovering the writings of Frederick Buechner has been one of the highlights of this time of spiritual journeying.) Towards the end of that work, St. Brendan, who has spent much of his life exploring the seas around Ireland in an effort to reach the Isle of the Blessed, is asked to give another man, Gildas, a hand standing up, as Gildas lacks one leg. "I'm as crippled as the dark world," explains Gildas, to which Brendan replies, "If it comes to that, which one of us isn't?"
Then Brenda reflects: "To lend each other a hand when we're falling...perhaps that's the one work that matters in the end."
I will still be writing about my journey in the weeks to come. I want to spend time at the table with The Spirit of Food, a beautiful compilation of essays on feasting and fasting and belief by editor Leslie Leyland Fields. I want to write about serving as opposed to helping. I want to continue to explore the currents and waves of my spirituality.
My journey, like the road, like the ocean, goes ever on.
Remember me, Lord, for the sea is so wide and my boat is so small.