Thinking Out Loud
It is beautiful outside. I mean, really beautiful. Deep blue sky provides backdrop to green trees and the curves and lines of earth-toned buildings. Even indoors, there is a pleasant mix of warm air and cool breeze. The smell of coffee, danish, and gelato fills the spacious room and buoyant music surrounds me. Every sense is uplifted. I am so blessed in this moment.
I look around the café and take in the faces of those who, like me, are working away on their computers. Each table and chair an island, including my own. I am struck with overwhelming love and care for each person here.
A conversation happens on the couch set a few feet away from me. A man tells a lady of a trip he plans to make to Central America in a few weeks. He brags a bit about his book he has written that is coming out and the interviews he is sure to have while down South. He sits, cross-legged, arms splayed over the back of the chair as if to say, “I own this space.”
I listen to him talk. The tone of his voice exudes confidence and self-assurance. Memories trickle in and I am drawn back to a time where I, too, felt that way. A sense of unease arises from a place a try to keep locked away from my consciousness. Pulling myself back to the present, I continue to eavesdrop a bit. The lady leaves and the man sits alone, looking just as “King on his throne,” as he did when he was talking to her.
The brightness of the moment unexpectedly interrupted, I find myself judging this man, wondering how he can be so self-assured. A sadness looms over me and I turn to judging my own judging, wondering how I got this way. It was not that long ago when I felt confident, assured, passionate, and driven, comfortable in who I am. I had a mission in mind; a story to tell.
Where has all that gone?
I love writing and speaking, specifically writing and speaking about the amazing, crazy, chaotic, redemptive story that is my life. There is nothing…nothing…I want more in this life than to tell you who read my words that there is hope beyond your wildest imaginations. Hope for what, you ask. Hope for joy, abundance, love, purpose, health, and so much more. I want you to understand the vessel in which you live and to grab life with all you have and fully engage. I want you to downright explode with joyful anticipation. I believe my story will take you at least some way down the road toward all of this.
And yet, I am quiet. I do not tell my story. I deprive you and I am sorry.
The truth is, I am afraid. The truth is, there is a lot I know – know to the core of my being, to the marrow of my bones – but what I do not know stops me.
I do not know what you will think of me if I stray from the concreteness of science and move into the murkier waters of story. Will you hold both as equally true?
I do not know what you will think if I say, “I love Jesus and He is the main reason I am where I am.” Will you know that I do not say that to enforce any particular belief in you? Will you see that I am not interested in “conversion,” but am after transformation?
Will you judge me by what others have said and done? Will you judge me for what I, myself, have said and done?
If I cannot tell you something you can evaluate with a measuring stick, will you still listen?
Will you do the work it takes to glean the gold from my story that will fill your own treasure chest of healing gems?
All these questions clog the way for me. I feel stymied and stuck.
To complicate matters, in recent years, I have had to do a great deal of research in the form of professional journal article and book reviews. I have read and listened to countless books and talks on neuroscience. In all this, I have seen the clear all-or-nothing fallacy we all seem to fall for that proports, “Anything scientific is real and anything spiritual is not.” I have seen well-funded studies prove the exact opposite of what other similar studies have shown. I have seen those with more letters after their name than I can count refer to themselves as experts, knowing full-well they are merely regurgitating what other people have said, adding nothing of their own to the topic. I have come away from all this doubting everything, wondering what can be trusted?
My eyes and mind return to the man in the brown, cushy chair in front of me. As I watch him, thoughts that have been percolating below the surface all day coalesce into coherence and a deep understanding begins to take shape.
No. I am not sure about a lot of things – but I am sure about the most important thing: I am here when I should not be. The life I have lived should have been the death of me. Instead, the road weaved and turned and twisted into an exquisite tapestry, one I could never have fashioned on my own. I know the path I have trodden, and I know the lessons I have learned along the way. I am convinced that some of what I have learned will bless others.
And I know it is time to let go of the fear. It is time to tell my story, even if just bit-by-bit, come what may. You, my human brothers and sisters, are worth this fray into the deep. I am sure I will stumble from time-to-time. I pray I remain open to new insights for as much as I know, I know that I do not know so much more.
So, with humility and awe, I will dive in. Will you join me?