Do Not Go Gently
WARNING: The following blog post is long, of a personal nature, contains lots of figurative language, and was probably not that well thought out. This is for my catharsis. If that’s not your cup of tea, skip along now, there’s nothing to see here.
The other day I heard someone saying “Do not go gently into that good night; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Then I was watching Gone, Baby, Gone, and the movie starts off with Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves,” and then the main character starts into a narrative monologue about how people face tough choices every day, fighting the evil in this world without losing your soul.
I’ve been evil and good in this lifetime. Everyone has, I’m not special in that regard. Sometimes I feel like I’m a dark warrior, charged with fighting the evil in the world with my own particular lawlessness. My heart and my soul, they belong to Jesus, of that I’m sure. I’m not sure for what purpose I was made. Generically speaking, I know I was made to glorify God. But then why, oh why, did God see fit to make me a misfit amongst so many of his people? I didn’t wind up a cookie-cutter Christian, but I didn’t exactly go “wild” either.
When I went to Fredericksburg to help start the campus ministry there at the University of Mary Washington, I experienced pain and spiritual attack like I’ve never known. I was constantly in prayer. I stood with our leader, Phil. I supported and followed our pastor, Matt. I prayed for and spent time with the few students we’d met. I forsook forging deeper relationships with the other church members in order to devote my time and energy into being there for Phil and forging relationships with people on the campus.
One day, Matt and Phil were talking, and it was revealed to Phil that Matt never had a campus ministry on his heart for Harvest (the church we were sent to from my church in college). He was doing it primarily for his father, Jim, who used to pastor the church – because he was excited about the idea. If we continued this campus ministry, we were going to be people from Harvest doing campus ministry, not a campus ministry from Harvest. So Phil called it over and ended everything.
It was like the rug was pulled out from underneath us (or like Lucy taking the football away from Charlie Brown). I was crushed and hurt, and until these last few days when I started talking to some people about it again, I thought I’d healed completely over the last two years. Maybe I have – I have just never written all this down before. I’m still not totally sure why I came back to Cullowhee, to be honest. I feel safe here: it feels like home. It seemed like a safe place to get back on my feet.
And now I’m glad I came back. Some of my best friends in this world live here, even after they graduated. They’re people I would lay down my life for – friends. Now when I have ocassion to celebrate, I drink life deep and enjoy the people around me.
I’m also glad to have become better acquainted with Kylara, the lovely girl I started going out on dates with a few weeks back. She makes me smile and laugh and helps me to remember to keep things simple, straightforward and honest. She took care of me when I was sick two days ago, without one word of disgust – even I was kind of grossed out by my sickness. She’s pretty awesome.
So what am I doing now? Taking it day by day. It may not seem like forward motion, but it is forward. It’s not a limp; and it’s not a crawl. It’s not a run or a trip or a stumble. It’s a slow, steady, confident walk into the future. It’s a steadfast pace until I’m called; and then I will run – no, charge – into whatever awaits me. Because that’s what a dark warrior does. He waits to be called, and then he charges headlong at whatever battle he is called in to fight. The fight will be bigger than me and will probably consume me until I’m gone. But I will not go gently.