Family and friends were curious when Channa and I crossed to the other side of the river.
We did our best to answer their questions, and, satisfied, some of them cast speculative glances at the river themselves, thinking long thoughts.
Some among them seemed alarmed for us because of our incomprehensible dare. From those who seemed alarmed for us we experienced genuine kindness and open curiosity about our conversions. We are grateful. Our dare was something over which we had little control.
When the dare came upon us, instead of struggling against it, we gave in to it.
As a result, we experienced relief.
We were relieved of wandering. We were relieved of contemporary anxiety. We were relieved of our culture’s famous isolation and narcissism. We were relieved, not of sin, but of our compulsion to sin. We were relieved of our need tightly to defend the sins we had chosen.
In all, we were relieved of loneliness for something inchoate we felt was inside of us from birth, but which had been hidden away from our hearts.
Most deeply, though, we were relieved of the horrid and fearsome burden that it might be only we ourselves—only we negligent and stumbling humans—who are in control of it all.
Suppose that were so!
How sad that the fixed, intellectual and self-justifying belief in our world, among many, is that there is nothing in the universe that proves a perspective exists—or even can exist—that is inherently different than our own.
Things exist. They came from nothing. They have no purpose or glory in and of themselves. They cease. That’s all.
This condition applies to us. We exist. We came from nothing. We have no purpose or glory in and of ourselves. We cease. That’s all.
Especially, nothing exists—or even can exist—that exhibits conscious purpose regarding itself. Nothing consciously offers the gift of redemption to us and rewards glorification of itself with salvation.
That’s just the way things are, people. Get over it.
But once, Channa and I stood up to our shoulders in water, braced against the current of a religious river.
We had waded deeper and deeper out into that river for months now. “Honey, I’m tempted to let go,” I might have said…and did say, in not quite those words.
“Do you think it’s true?”
“Almost certain. My head struggles but my heart says let go.”
“I’m still struggling.”
“I know. I want us to be together.”
“So do I.”
“If it’s not true, then they’re right, the scoffers. Nothing matters.”
“If it’s not true, then….”
Well, then, it is very cold out here.
The stars are very strange.
Guttural grunts tiger the night.
And the powerless will continue always to be devoured by the powerful…crunch, crunch, yum, yum.
Is that really all there is to it?
Then why do I stand in the middle of this river wishing I could dare to succumb? Something is pulling at me.
And we did succumb. I, first, and then Channa after.
Here’s what the Holy Spirit gave us to know.
THE UNIVERSE IS NOT ABOUT US.
More: Chapter Four