I titled this blog "I'm Diving In" three years ago. It's funny, because, today, I'm still struggling to dive and not just stand on the edge and test the waters out some more. To keep staring at the murky waters and hope that they suddenly become more clear. I like the temperature of the water. It feels safe. It feels comforting. It's even really pretty when I look out at it from safely on the beach. But climbing up the ladder... taking that dive. That's terrifying.
Diving in is scary. Especially when you can't see the bottom. It involves trust. It involves faith. It involves courage to trust that there really is a plan and that it will really work out.
Over the last two weeks, I've had the realization more and more that at some point, I'm actually going to have to jump. And I've slowly taken all these baby steps. It doesn't look nearly as terrifying anymore, because I've taken a few more steps each time before backing down again and starting back upward.
The thing is, standing on the beach looking out at the water doesn't have nearly the same effect as being in the water, swimming. One doesn't stand on a diving board without wanting to swim.
Over the last week, I've seen this story, or similar quotes from it at least a half dozen times. I shared one quote on Facebook, and immediately after scrolled down through my newsfeed only to see it again. It's an account from Brennan Manning on an encounter with Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
“When John Kavanaugh, the noted and famous ethicist, went to Calcutta, he was seeking Mother Teresa … and more. He went for three months to work at “the house of the dying” to find out how best he could spend the rest of his life.
When he met Mother Teresa, he asked her to pray for him. “What do you want me to pray for?” she replied. He then uttered the request he had carried thousands of miles: “Clarity. Pray that I have clarity.”
“No,” Mother Teresa answered, “I will not do that.” When he asked her why, she said, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.” When Kavanaugh said that she always seemed to have clarity, the very kind of clarity he was looking for, Mother Teresa laughed and said: “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”
Wow. Yes. That really is the goal. To trust.
Something Father said tonight at Mass struck me. He was speaking specifically about the conversion of 5000 after Peter spoke in Acts 4:1-12. He reminded us that it's not our job to convert people. It's our task to speak the truth. For some reason, I guess that really hadn't sunk in before tonight. Jesus didn't commission us to save anyone. We are completely incapable of that. But he did ask us to spread the Good News. Not all those present who heard Peter speak converted. But the Spirit was at work. And Peter had faith. He didn't stand around and convene a meeting with the apostles to discuss strategy. He preached the truth. He shared his knowledge of the resurrected Lord, the One who can save.
So lots of trusting to work on I guess. And a few more steps up the ladder.
Step one, ironically, is to hit publish. After writing this post, it occurred to me that I had another post from 10/30/2014 with the same title, yet blank. So a baby step up the ladder. Step by little step.