I’m going to keep this fairly short, as I’m not quite sure I have a huge coherent essay or anything planned for this.
The past year has been an interesting one. I moved away from home. There’s a lot more to that then I thought there would be. I moved away from my family. I moved away from my friends. I moved away from acquaintances and coworkers. I moved away from things I was involved in outside of work. I moved away from the map in my head that let me get around very quickly. I moved away from that coffee shop I like so much. I moved away from my past.
Moving is actually a pretty traumatic loss if you think about it. Especially if it’s the first time and you do it alone. I found it really difficult. Shift work also complicated my efforts to re-establish all those things here in Winnipeg. It’s hard to build relationships with people when you’re not on a Monday to Friday, 9-5 schedule.
As a result, I’ve spent a lot of time doing two things: playing guitar and talking to God. We’ll leave the guitar for another time.
Moving has probably been the #1 best thing for my faith ever. The intense loneliness that I struggled with forced me to really explore my prayer life and really open up to and talk to God. I learned how guarded I was against God in what I would and wouldn’t tell him. I had to open up to Him, and it’s been one of the best things to happen to me.
God works if you let Him, and He did a pretty good job of fixing the whole lonely thing. I still may not have had a lot of people around, and I was lonely in a “I miss people” way, but not in a “I’m completely alone” way. This new depth to my faith introduced a lot of new struggles that I have had to deal with and that I am still dealing with, mostly centered around the balance between serving and taking time for myself, where things fit in my life and what I should be spending my time on, and greater issues of inequality around the world. Being a Christian is not an easy thing.
I’ve been searching for answers to these questions. Listening all the time for something that might help me figure it out, and this, this here is what I want to share.
No, I’m not going to tell the answers I’ve found. I think the journey of finding some of those answers is equally important to the answers themselves. I’ve found some of the answers in the Bible. I’ve found some of the answers in Donald Miller’s Searching For God Knows What. I’ve found some of the answers in conversations with both Christians and non-Christians. I’ve found some of the answers at one of the churches I attend, saint benedict’s table. I’ve found some answers while taking walks around the city. I’ve found some answers on the side of the highway. I’ve found answers in my relationship with my girlfriend. I’ve found answers through prayer. I’ve found answers in music.
The point is, I’ve found a lot of answers in a lot of different places. Pieces that fit together and help make sense of everything. How these pieces are given look drastically different. Lyrics in a song are very different from a beautiful tree. Words on a page are very different from giving somebody a piece of your heart. A conversation over coffee is very different from driving alone down a highway at night. Going to Church is very different from watching a T.V. show with friends. However, one thing that is the same is that God is present in all these places, and he speaks through all these places.
And here is what I’ve learned.
There is a part of us that is hardwired to hear God. Sometimes we need to work to dust it off and get it working again, but it’s there. And it is the coolest thing ever. God’s word is Truth. And the neat this is that since we’ve been created in such a way that we’re wired to hear God, we’re wired to hear Truth. And that’s what I’ve learned. I’ve found answers in all these places because God has spoken in all these places. He’s been walking with me and listening to my questions and prayers and He’s responding to me. And despite how drastically his voice has sounded, be it words on a page, a random thought that pops into my head that has no way of being my own, a fun evening with friends, or a melody in a song, there is that part of me in the deep regions of my soul that just knows that it’s Truth. Just knows that that what I’m hearing is right and I need to pay attention to it.
It doesn’t matter what it looks like, you’ll recognize Truth when you hear it. We’re made to.
When I came to this realization I started thinking about the church I go to that I mentioned earlier, saint benedict’s table. It holds a very special place for me; I have fond memories of my first time going, and they spoke to me in a way that I desperately needed to be spoken to when I initially went. I look forward to going every time I can. I seem to meet God there almost every time I go, and I find the teaching incredibly spiritually nourishing.
It’s an Anglican service done in an Anglican church that follows the Anglican liturgy. Jamie Howison, the priest who ministers the service, has loosened the bolts in some places to allow for a few other ideas to be integrated into the service, but it’s an Anglican service. The thing that amazes me is that I’m pretty sure that Anglicans are probably in the minority there. It truly is an interdenominational service there. I started wondering why that is. Well, I wondered until I considered that maybe the connection I feel to God’s word there isn’t unique, that other’s feel it as well. Then it hit me. Truth is preached at that service. And Truth is bigger than the lines we draw in the sand to define our Christian denominations. People who come see that Truth, and they respond. They put themselves where they can hear it.
It’s not just me.
It’s all of them, and you too.
Truth can look so, so different and come from so many places.
But you’ll without doubt recognize it when you hear it.