My generation (those darn Millennials) sure gets a lot of flack these days. We are allegedly lazy, far too easily offended, demanding trophies for wearing a uniform, and that list goes on and on. I mostly just roll my eyes at these generalizations, but a recent conversation with Father Scott illuminated one of them that might fit me just a little too well.
My last piece written for Celtic Way was a vulnerable one talking about the way the title “Christian” has become something of a numbing agent for me. As Father Scott and I talked through that blog I found myself expressing how uncertain and uneasy things feel right now in terms of spiritual identity. That’s when he said it. “Ben, I usually try to avoid making stereotypes about your generation, but I feel like this one fits into what you’re telling me. You want to reach some conclusion of your spiritual journey by...yesterday! The reality is that the journey is long and it requires patience.”
I laughed when he said this, not because I disagreed, but because of how true it really was. That is what I want. I want to feel like I’m standing on solid ground today! I want to “Know” what I believe without the caveat of “of course this could all change tomorrow.”
I used to have that. I did, until I didn’t. My unchanging and dogmatic beliefs worked for me, until they didn’t.
So I am now practicing the discipline of slowing down, trying to allow the journey I find myself on to truly be more important than my idea of a destination.
All of this makes me feel like I did recently while in California. I am not a strong swimmer, even in the pool at my local Colorado rec center. So when I found myself caught in a Rip Current (a term I had never even heard before) in San Diego, I panicked. I realized that even though I was attempting to swim toward the shore, I was actually, little by little, being taken in the opposite direction. My wife, after seeing the panic in my eyes swam out to me and held my hand. She helped me calm down and sure enough, we soon found ourselves where we could touch the ground safely and walk back to the beach.
I guess that my uncertainty around exactly what I believe makes me feel like I am being swept away from something that feels safe. And I’m not exactly sure that I know how to swim in those waters either. So slowing down is difficult. Resting in this place and allowing the journey to be the main thing is difficult. In these waters too, I’m grateful for the trusted soul friends who are willing to swim out to me and hold my hand.
Ben Edwards is a Celtic Way contributor.