What a long, strange trip it’s been
There’s a saying that as Christians we should live our lives in such a way that they would not make sense if God did not exist. A recent conversation made me think that, through no plan of our own, we’ve done something like that.
We had a very enjoyable evening catching up with friends whom we hadn’t seen or spoken with in about 25 years. Our friends, both of them secular, science-oriented people, asked for a narrative ofour lives since we’d last been in touch. As best I could, I recounted our leaving good jobs on the east coast to attend a seminary in the midwest; leaving there for a small town in Ohio to be part of a traditionalist protestant group; discovering Holy Orthodoxy and moving to an even smaller town to be nearer our parish church. They were interested, and even asked to be filled in on some of the religious background: “Now, who are Conservative Friends? Is Orthodoxy like Catholicism?” and so on. But I suspect that our lives, based so much on our stumbling efforts to “proceed as led”, seemed rootless and confusing to them. I realized how difficult it was to try to make any sense of the story outside the context of a shared Faith; and I knew that I was failing to live up to St. Peter’s admonition:
…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15, ESV))
Still, it was a good opportunity to look back along the road on which we’ve come so far — one that often didn’t feel like a road at all — and to give thanks for the Hand that has steadied our confused steps.