Earlier this month I was in Berkeley, California to check out Pacific School of Religion. Leading up to the trip, I was concerned about everything from paying too much for transportation to the weather being too gloomy. I had already committed to attend PSR, but I was still fighting it.
This Sunday, I will be two months shy of twenty-five years old and I can’t remember ever making a decision out of faith, at least not a big one. The extent to which I relied on God consisted of preparing a solo piece, or preparing to lead worship, and trusting the Spirit to take over. Then, there’ve been the I-decided-to-sleep-in-and-now-I’m-running-late-please-God-don’t-let-me-hit-all-the-red-lights-on-my-way-to-work kind of trusting, but really I just wanted God to work out the consequences of a decision I already made.
Choosing PSR is probably the riskiest, most illogical choice I’ve ever made. Even going to NAU made more sense. It was cheaper, I already had a job lined up, I already had a housemate and there was family two hours away from the south or one hour away from the north. PSR is different.
A.) It doesn’t make sense to take out more loans for more education/room/board (Did I mention this is Berkeley?) when any field I would get into after I graduate is not exactly lucrative.
B.) I have no idea about what’s to come next; anything could happen. Anything.
C.) Past experience tells me, “Hey Brittani, remember the last time we did this? That was the polar opposite of a good experience.”
D.) Reasons A through C don’t even come close to the relational component of the decision; leaving family and close friends seems contrary to my known role in life.
All of these things, and the silly details of the trip, were ping-ponging around in my head. Yet, once I got there, I experienced something I have never experienced: everything worked out.
Unlike Hansel and Gretel wandering off into the woods, leaving breadcrumbs to find their way back, I found myself following the breadcrumbs. (If the breadcrumb pattern continues, I hope that’s where the parallel breaks down because I do not want bird jerks eating my breadcrumbs or a witch in a candy house trying to make a meal out of me.)
I was led through the weekend, one small morsel of affirmation at a time; one glimpse of the future as I needed it. I still don’t have the whole loaf, and I don’t think it was ever God’s intention to give us the entire loaf. But I am starting to put together what it is like to be led, and I have learned something pretty crucial. Being led cannot begin without first allowing yourself to not know where you’re going.
When I got back to Phoenix on Sunday, I made it in time for church. As I helped lead the worship, the impact of the weekend hit me. I realized I could not be who I am supposed to be in this world without taking this next step. A mute feeling was finally given a voice: I had outgrown my pond, my role, my place in the world.
I have to follow the breadcrumbs. I don’t know where the money is going to come from to pay for this expensive gathering of crumbs. As it stands, 2 + 3 ≠ 20,000, but we also know five loaves and two fish did not equal a meal for 5,000 people, and yet it did and then some. So, I will just have to trust the benjamins to show up.