Live to tell the story

A few weeks ago, I was channel surfing on TV and stopped at a show I wouldn’t ever normally watch… one of those religious based shows best suited for middle-of-the-night viewing.

Don’t get me wrong… I’ve got nothing against people who love to shout about their religion.  In fact, I admire the passion exuded from someone who truly “believes” in something. I just find these types of shows a little creepy.

So I paused on this particular show really just to reach for my glass of water, and I started to listen to a woman talking about her life. She had been on the fast track in the entertainment industry in her twenties and got mixed up in “the lifestyle”- that one of hedonism and excess. I found her personality to be likeable, and she was very well-spoken, so I continued to listen.

Of course, you know where this is leading- she hit rock bottom and was incarcerated. You would think that would be enough to shake the cobwebs from anyone’s life, but no… she continued to act out in jail and spent many years in solitary because of her bad behavior.

One day, she was allowed to obtain a book, and, of course it was The Bible. And then the story becomes predictable: she found God and changed her life, as well as many of the other inmates she bunked with.

The thing I found interesting, though, was how she interpreted the Bible as if it was meant as a direct message to her. I’m not an expert on religious text, but I want to say she likened her incarceration to the incarceration (and re-education) of the Isrealites. And, in that, she began to think that God delivered his message to her in this manner because there was no other way to get her to LISTEN. As he did with the Isrealites, he had to resort to extreme measures to get his point across to her.

Jail=vehicle to deliver message=God=love=PURPOSE

She went on to talk about her purpose in life. How clear it is now. How she can assist others in finding their own purpose. The great things she’s done with her life since then. Letting go of the past and forging a new road to contentment.

And I thought only fertile women made me jealous!

It got me to thinking. What is our individual purpose? How do ordinary people find it? Do you really have to hit rock bottom to get the “wake up” call, or is there another way to enlightenment?

I think it’s rather easy to hit rock bottom and use religion as the vehicle to chart your course to a better place. After all, it’s JAIL for pete’s sake. It’s a place where you start with nothing, so of course it’s easier to start a new path or a dream when you are stripped down to nothing.

I do find that when I meet people, the most interesting are the ones with a story to tell. Overcoming adversity, living through tragedy…who doesn’t love a little inspiration?

To be honest, more than once I’ve had random people praise me for my steadfast commitment to trudging though infertility hell, much like how I feel admiration for that woman. The difference is I am still in the muck. I am like a drunkard navigating a straight line on the pavement at a DUI checkpoint. I sway, I stutter, and limp my way down the line. My path is dimly lit.

I wish I had the same conviction as that woman on TV. I am too jaded to put all of my eggs in the basket of religion. Admittedly, I identify myself as “somewhat” religious in that I do believe in God and attend church, but I find it very difficult to accept religion as the answer to all my questions. I’m too busy poking holes in theories and playing the critic.  That’s part of the old me I still have in spades.

I guess this means I’m probably not susecptible to falling into something really radical like a cult.

Well, that’s a good thing, right?

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3 thoughts on “Live to tell the story

  1. Sorry for this hard journey. Although I have a son, I went through 2 miscarriages last year. Awful…just awful. I was interested in your post about the woman who found the Lord in prison. Jesus knows our hurts and sorrows and has suffered much and then some. Know that He is there.

  2. I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say that your path has not necessarily been easier – nor less tragic or painful or soul-crushingly difficult – as the woman who "found religion" in jail. Your bible can be something else – your family, your happiness, your work – it doesn't need to be religion. I hope that whatever it is, you find it soon and without too much solitary confinement.

  3. What interesting food for thought. I'd love to know my "purpose," as so much of what I dreamed of was being a mother to more than one child… maybe if I knew my life's purpose I wouldn't dwell on only mothering a singleton. Hmmm. It's worth pondering, thanks Shelli. 🙂

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