It was a Friday afternoon almost twenty years ago, sitting in the office of a minister of the apostolic Church.
I’d gotten to a stage in my life where I felt as if I was barely hanging on, standing on the crumpled edge, staring into what felt like a dark abyss.
Most of us become perfect candidates for awakening - not in the prime of our lives; not when our ordered worlds are going well; not when life or living feels good; not even when we have a purpose for getting up every morning. It takes some sort of tragedy, a divorce, losing a job, losing someone we loved or a significant health scare.
It takes any or many of these events to get our attention. Not a fleeting momentary attention, but the kind of event that stops us in our tracks because we realise that we cannot go on.
As I sat in his office (for the second time in two weeks) I felt desperate. This was the last straw as I’d tried everything to make some sense out of my life. In between my in-breath and my out something extraordinary happened. In the words of Thomas Merton, God “was done unto me.”
Because my transformation / awakening happened within the confines of a Church office, I felt sure that what had happened to me was a conversion to Christianity. But just as a garage doesn’t turn you into a car, neither was my spiritual awakening exclusively "Christian" - something that took me some time to realise.
Try as I may to squeeze this connection, this awakening, into a Christian context, it refused to fit; in the same way that a size ten foot might not fit into a size nine shoe. No matter how much encouragement to the contrary, no matter how much rational reckoning to prove that Christianity was a “one size fits all”, I realised that just like the shoe store there are a myriad of different shapes, colours and sizes.
The most important thing by far is to see - to “feel” - if something fits and if it doesn’t you have to recognise your own unique individuality and have the courage to admit this.
Once I left the Church and this thing called Christian Faith it felt like an invitation from the universe into the wide open spaces - just like a captive animal might be cajoled to give up its contained or even caged life and follow the call of this wild untamed thing we call Life, God, Universe or Spirit.
See all previous articles by Bob Garbett