I failed Algebra I when I was a freshman in high school. It was an unpleasant experience and, in my fourteen year old wisdom, I quickly excused myself and moved on. Algebra was clearly over my head and I was sure it had no relevance to my life anyway. By the time I finished my junior year I had decided that I wanted to go to college (not the norm in my family) and one of the entrance requirements was, you guessed it, two years of algebra. I repeated Algebra I in summer school under a young black man, also not the norm at the time, who explained to us that algebra hadn’t come to him naturally either. He was a good enough teacher that I managed to master the mechanics (A+) even though I was still convinced that this particular discipline had no relevance to or for me. I finished high school, graduated from college with a BA in Business Administration, got married and had children. In my mid thirties I decided I wanted to get my CPA license and so returned to school for two years to take the courses required to sit for the CPA exam. Cost accounting was my nemesis and also the biggest fear confronting me in preparing to take the five - part 19 ½ hour exam. One Saturday afternoon not long before the exam date I came across a cost accounting problem in an old exam and as usual felt dread descend on me like a shroud as I read through it. When I finished I closed my eyes, put my face in my hands and admitted defeat. In the same instant I realized that this was a fairly straight forward algebra problem and in its simplest form just solving for an unknown. It was a euphoric discovery. I had evolved.
I have experienced pretty much the same slow and painful evolution with the Bible that I did with algebra. As a child my exposure to the Bible was limited to Bible stories shared when I occasionally attended Sunday school though I was largely un-churched until my early thirties. Over time I attempted to come up with various strategies that would allow me to check off the “Read the Bible” item on my bucket list, but each tactic met with failure. I assumed it was because of my previously identified comprehension deficiency and relevance issues and somewhere along the way I simply wrote the Bible off.
In 2005 I hit a really low spot in my life that I could only identify as a “hole in my soul” which led me to begin reading the Methodist daily devotional, The Upper Room. I was amazed to find that many times the devotional and the related scripture was relevant to something in my own life and I have continued to read a devotional/meditation almost every day since that time - sometimes online and sometimes in print. I spent the first two years of my EFM journey reading and exploring the Old and New Testaments, and yet would tell you now that I’ve never read the Bible. And then last week at the regular vestry meeting we were discussing where to go and how to proceed with the Priest Quest Campaign. I shared with my fellow members that I had realized everything that could be done had been done and all that was left to do as we awaited direction from the Diocese was to “Be Still and Know that I am God.” It was, once again, a euphoric moment for me that pointed to the fact that more often than not it’s every bit as much about the beauty and discovery of the journey as it is the fleeting joy we experience on arriving at the sought after destination.
Here’s wishing you every success on the important journeys in your life.