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Paths and Stars

Originally posted on FB 2-27-12

I’ve noticed that a lot of the images that appeal to me either involve paths or stars. Generally, they are paths that have nobody in front – it is a clear path, leading on. From the perspective of the photographer or painter, s/he is the only person on the path. There might be folks behind – but there certainly is nobody up ahead.

And then there are stars. Part of why I like stars is because of the three Magi. They followed a star, in the dark, to an unknown land. No map, no idea of where they were going – but they followed. They knew that something special, something never before seen was at the end of that journey.

My life’s journey is like this. I feel called. I know what the end is. I’m just not sure how to get there. And for the longest time, I wasn’t sure that I was the one to be going on that journey. Me? Really? I have a mental health diagnosis. I’m bipolar. Society doesn’t look well on the mentally ill. Folks look at you differently when you tell them such things. I’m running a risk here by writing about it. But – that is the way I’m made. It is a genetic weakness – a chemical imbalance. I take medicine. I’ve been in the hospital twice – but both times were where I noticed that something was wrong and I asked for help. It was over a decade ago that I was last in the hospital. One doctor even said I was the sanest person she knew. But that didn’t mean I was healed – I still got a prescription, and I still took it.

But paths, and stars. I’m not going to say what I’m called to – not here. That is really big, and private. And I’m still concerned about embarrassing God. So many folks say that God has called them to something, and they do it in a very human way and it falls and fails. And yet again, God’s church looks laughable. So many times I remind myself that I follow Christ – not Christians. But I don’t want to be part of the problem. I don’t want to be a bad example. I don’t want to be that person who makes those not of this faith think that Christians are goofballs. There are countless examples for this already.

So I follow, blindly. I follow without a map. I walk, one step in front of the other. I trust in the Star. I trust in the Light that shines. I follow because that is how I’m made. I have come to trust that I was made the way I’m made (bipolar disorder and all) because that is how I’m needed. I have come to trust that force, that pull, that call that tells me to create something new. That force that tells me to create new out of old. The same creative pull that got me to break apart old jewelry from thrift stores and redesign the beads into a new creation is at work here. That was prelude. That was practice. It gave shape to a need to reform, retranslate, rebuild.

I follow God because that is how I’m made. It isn’t an easy path. I don’t even know how I’m going to get there. I’m only vaguely aware of what “there” is. But everything else He has ever told me was going to happen has happened. So I trust, that this, the first thing He ever told me, will too. This call, from so many years ago, has kept me going. Like the Magi, I walk in darkness, seeking the Light. Like the Magi, I walk over unseen territory – unmapped, unknown. Like the Magi, I have faith that I am not being led in vain.

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