I don't imagine myself turning to God very often, or at all, come to think of it. But on this day, the first day of the year 2010, I found myself asking for something. I prayed that I would be consumed by a fire. A large, roaring blaze that would completely consume every fiber of my being, leaving nothing but ashen remains, so light that they would float away on the slightest of zephyrs. Now, before any of you start pitying me and my apparently suicidal tendencies, I urge you to hold on to your proverbial horses. I wish to be consumed by divine flames so that I may arise from them anew.
I can't put my finger on it, but this thought of trying to get myself to face the ultimate test of some kind just kept butting into my head, like the song that you hate but you just cannot stop humming because it's stuck on repeat for the entire day. And, it made me think about the way life has been, and the way life was, and the way in which there are some people who spend a lot of their time worrying about how things will turn out for them, while there are others who are perfectly happy with their lot. This was a sort of precursor to wondering about what makes people turn to God. Usually it's wanting something. Money. Good luck. Bad luck for someone you hate. Children. The winning lottery ticket, to be redundant. Sometimes, it's a real need, or at least, something that we cannot quite classify as a "want". Then, sometimes, there are situations of absolute desperation where the way before you, literally and figuratively, seems to disappear, and you find yourself almost instinctively looking up at the heavens, a prayer on your lips, just asking for a hand to hold, or a shoulder to lean on, while you take that next step; a leap of faith into the unknown. There could be all sorts of people around you, but you don't reach out for any mortal hand. You seek divine intervention.
That's why this email forward that I received, the image that you see at the top of this post, struck me as being so poignantly, hauntingly true. You don't know if it's you who leads you to the edge, or if you find yourself there. But that's not the important thing. No. It's all about what you do when you get to the edge. When you look over the side and see nothing...a much scarier proposition than being able to see jagged rocks or some manner of "ground" beneath. So, come to think of it, maybe that's what prompted me to ask for the trial by fire. I could have asked for wings, or some other form of assistance that was less drastic, but no.
This is it in my life. It's now or never. I'm beyond the edge. I'm in a state of free fall. So, this morning, when I opened my eyes, I didn't wish for peace on Earth, or the safe-keeping of all life as we know it. No. I asked that I be liberated from all worry and forethought about each and every passing day. I asked that I be able to rise from the eternal blaze, like the legendary phoenix. I'm going to learn how to fly. Who says I need wings. It's up to God to let me fly or fall. Even if I fall, what's the worst thing that can happen.
Happy New Year everyone! Have an awesome year and an even better decade!