Whiplash is a non-medical term describing a range of injuries to the neck caused by or related to a sudden distortion of the neck commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents, usually when the vehicle has been hit in the rear. The injury can be sustained in many other ways, including headbanging, bungee jumping and falls. It is one of the main injuries covered by insurance.
…what just happened?
I never intended to become Catholic. But…then…I never intended to believe…in God…or in anything or anyone other than myself.
Having lived for a considerable time on each side of the faith fence, one thing I can testify to for all the agnostics and atheists out there is that they have an easier ride than people of deep faith. This is not what non-believers propose.
In the typical characterization put forward by agnostics about believers, Christians are grasping onto God like Linus holding onto his blanket. “No matter what happens in the world, if you Christians have your little God blanket, it will all turn out OK.”
It is easy for agnostics to hold onto this misconception, because they are generally not willing to engage in serious, meaningful dialogue with Christians.
From this side of the fence, I understand the hesitation of agnostics to welcome “GodTalk.” I get it. The talk between believers and non-believers quickly turns passionate, and if someone doesn’t get tarred and feathered, they are sure to get thumped by a Bible before things are over.
This is where the concept of sin becomes useful, even to agnostics. We are all subject to the failings of human nature. Call it what you will…sin…or bad judgment…we all have it. Christians are not hypocrites. They are, quite simply put, fallen human beings. Paul, chief among sinners, bemoaned his condition:
18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. [Rom 7:18-20]
In these twenty chapters of Coming Home, I have struggled to tell the story of my personal car crash. A little VW Christian on a journey into the Catholic Church, after detours and traffic jams and speeding tickets, finally crashed full speed into a brick wall. The road turned, and the little VW never saw it coming.
I began the trip early in 2013, hoping to prepare myself to become Catholic. I was ahead of schedule at that point. In 2012, honoring my marital vows and love for my husband, I had “put Catholic on hold” for a future date…many years hence…when my husband could fully trust that I treasured his faith in Christ no less than mine. Just when I had settled on waiting, he flashed the green light. “Yes,” he told me. “It’s time for you to begin your journey into the Catholic Church.”
But faith is not a straight road dictated by Christ, charted by maps and marked at night with bright landing lights. It is an adventure where our faith is tested…tempted…challenged…thwarted…and redirected.
I hurt. Today, I am far afield from the map I had charted. I am not where I expected to be when I first opened the door and walked into RCIA v.1.
I could have used less law and more love in RCIA v.3.
Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one. [Mat 5:37]
But even after all that…after RCIA 1 and 2 and 3 and 4…I could have handled all of that…until finally running into the brick wall in RCIA v.5.
Yes, healing takes time. And healing involves more than broken bones. In October, I could have knocked on more doors and tried to beg my way into an RCIA program that had empty chairs. Even now in November, I figure that is still a possibility.
But I am tired of banging on the door of Christ’s church begging for entry. My body is aching. My heart is in traction. My soul is wounded. And Christ…I try to fit my experiences of the past year into his parable of the wedding feast.
Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ 5 But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. [Mat 22:1-10]
I stand on the street, waiting for an invitation to the wedding. If they are inviting both the good and the bad, that should include me. If they can’t find me, if they don’t see me in the throngs of those wanting to enter, I will jump in the air and wave my hands…even with all the aches, pains and bruises.
Still…I wait…outside a closed door.
I ache. I am bruised. My neck hurts so badly that it can’t turn right or left. Is there a speeding train headed toward me on the road ahead where it crosses the tracks? I pray it isn’t so. In this condition, I will not be able to turn and see it before it runs me down.
NEXT: more to come…
Copyright, 2014. All Rights Reserved.