Occasionally, quite often, actually, I read something and think, “That is exactly how I feel; I wish I had written that.”
While that may be placed in the category of coveting…not sure about that…it is exactly what I thought when I read Sr. Joan Chittister’s newsletter Vision and Viewpoints. The article is titled, “Too Late?”
“There is no such thing as coming too late to God. All the way to God is the Way.
Clearly, we cannot lose God; we can only prepare ourselves to come to see the face of the eternal and ever immediate God in everything. How long will that take? What difference does it make? The God we find when we do will be the same God however long that takes, whenever it happens. It is the journey, not the end, that counts.”
– from The Breath of the Soul: Reflections on Prayer by Joan Chittister (Twenty-Third Publications)
How many times have I thought I came to this place of answering God’s call to me too late? How many times have I ventured into that dark place where I wished I had continued my conversation with God that I began at a very early age? How I have so often lamented the fact that I ran and hid myself (or so I thought) during my teens and twenties!
I returned to “church” in my early thirties. I say “returned” meaning, I began attending occasionally. I felt the tug to be in community, to be a part of Something when I was in my twenties. I even tried to attend but it was difficult. Everyone was so old and so cold. It wasn’t the way I remembered feeling as a child in the Southern Baptist rural community church setting. So I decided I was just past that stage of church life. Or not yet there.
As I entered the beginning of my thirties, my daughter was baptized. It was a turning point in my life. There were so many such points afterwards.
Yet all along the way, I grappled with the sense of too late, wrong way, too long on pause, too long running away. It seems to be an underlying current that runs within me. What causes it is the unrest that comes from knowing that although I was called early, the church was not ready for me. Now that I am older, I am not sure the church knows what to do with me.
Due to fact that I am far closer to 60 than to 30 and in a church that is actively trying to find ways to recruit younger people, have I waited too late? Is the end near and I still have no answers?
So it is with those thoughts and feelings that I read Sr. Joan this morning.
It doesn’t matter…not really…how long ago I was called, how long I waited or ran away, not even how much I want to just be on the Way. It matters only that I am.
God continues to be God. My way on the journey continues to create stories that others need to hear. The end does not matter. God continues to be with me as I journey. And as Sr. Joan writes, “It is the journey, not the end, that counts.”