Some time ago - in one of our first meetings - Fr. Mark gave me a book called, "The Voice". I wasn't new to my discernment journey, but I was struggling. What I was 'hearing' didn't always make sense to me. And when it did make sense, I didn't always like what I was hearing. (As I reflect on this now - I wonder if Fr. Mark made a gift of this book, or if I was supposed to return it....hrm....)
Anyway, the book has "lived" on my coffee table ever since - and occasionally I would pick it up to read it. But it has been several months now since I've looked at it. Today at lunch, I was in the living room, and I spotted it. I decided to give it a read.
In this book, about a cartoon lone fisherman on the ocean, the voice says, "Follow me." And, like I so often do - have done - probably will continue to do, the fisherman at first thinks he may be going nuts. I'm reminded of the old classic Bill Cosby sketch about Noah. Where the Lord says, "Noah" - in this deep, booming voice. And Noah says, in stereotypical Bill Cosby fashion, "Somebody talkin' to me?" He goes on about his merry way, until the voice comes again, "Noah!" Eventually, Noah says, "Will you STOP BOTHERING ME!!!"
You can listen to this sketch at YouTube if you've never heard it before...Just click below.
Back to the book, the fisherman eventually says, "Look here - I'm busy. Leave me alone." And, lo and behold, if his boat doesn't spring a leak!!! He patches it by sticking his toe in, goes about his business, the voice calls again, a bigger leak springs.
I don't want to tell the whole story - its a great book - with a great message.
But today, as I was reading it, I was really reflecting on this "springing a leak" thing. Here I was, walking along in life, doing fairly OK. Not perfectly happy with everything, but not perfectly unhappy either. And BAM! My boat springs a little leak.
I'd been hearing the Voice for most of my life - since I was a little boy really. But somehow, like the fisherman, I found ways to say, "Stop bothering me." When my boat began to spring a leak, I was really a little ticked off at God. (Just like this fisherman in the book.) I found a way to plug it - so I could "stay afloat" for a while. And before long, another, bigger leak, pops up.
Today, looking back, I'm reminded that, "all things work together for good". I'm reminded of God's amazing grace. Grace to have and use a Voice that we can hear. Grace to call. Grace to spring a leak in our boats so we start to pay attention. Grace to love us and call us forward into our lives - whether that be sitting at my desk eight months away from seminary, or you, sitting at your computer, with work, life, love, family, friends, whatever.
God didn't "bully" me into this stage in my journey. Neither am I running away from my leaky boat. At least, that's the way I see it today. I specifically wanted to take this "discernment" journey slowly, because I was worried I might be doing just that. But, today I realized... without the boat springing a leak, I might have never said anything to the Voice but, "Go away!"
Next time your boat springs a leak (next time MY boat springs a leak) - I so desperately want to try to remember that maybe God's just trying to get my attention. What a grace...