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Next Path to Walk

Railroad Tracks
Photo: Antoine Beuvillain
In my early years, there was a saying on the refrigerator: “Fear knocked, faith answered, no one was there.” As I have journeyed through life, I have gone back to that adage numerous times. The fear part has always been with me since I grew up in a fear-based atmosphere. The faith part, however, has taken many forms. I had a deep and abiding faith in God from a young age – a faith that went beyond weekly and sometimes daily attendance at church. The real faith was walking in the Light that showed me the way through. It was a “knowing” that whatever happened, God would be with me.

The kind of faith that took much longer to build was faith in myself. Because of my fear-based childhood, I always felt that I was not good enough nor would I ever amount to much. This fear kept me immobilized for a long time. Over the years, I encountered people who helped me to escape this self-imposed prison. I still have moments in which fear threatens to swallow me whole, but I am much more able to keep from being consumed by listening to the divine Wisdom that calls me beyond petty fears. Dolly Parton’s quote that “storms make trees take deeper roots” is something that epitomizes this journey for me. Every time I have been able to overcome a fear, whether through my own gifts or with the support of someone’s love, I become stronger so that the next difficult task I face does not seem as daunting.

The key to maintaining this sense of hope amidst chaos is, as John Woolman said, to “carefully cast forth the loose matter and get down to the rock, the sure foundation, and there hearken to the divine voice.” If I am rooted in this “sure foundation,” every thought and act will stem from it and bring love, peace, and justice. Of course, this is a great goal toward which I have tried to aspire for years, but it takes a LOT of work and a great deal of energy. The other thing it entails is stepping out into the unknown, out of one’s ‘comfort zone’ as it were. It makes me think of a character in a video game who, whenever a hide-out is discovered, says, “There’s a cave here! Think we should check it out?!” When playing the game, I find myself always willing to see what’s ahead, but in life, it is not always so easy. So much tragedy is going on in our society today and I find myself contemplating what more I could do. Many of the “big ideas” I may have of quitting my job and working for an organization that champions social justice or joining some worthy cause make me stop and worry about the consequences, financial and otherwise, of taking a step like that. Emily Provance stated that, “to get to the promised land, we must voluntarily and courageously release everything that feels safe and comfortable…and in this letting go…walk alongside each other through it.” I have not quite reached the pinnacle of trust or hope that would enable me to make a huge change yet, but I can “find hope and purpose in the small seeds planted to create change in our hearts, faith, and society” (JD/LE 2021 SEYM Quotes and Queries – Query 4). Until I find the next path to walk enlightened by the Truth, I will continue to be faithful to that which is before me and plant those little seeds of hope in the students and colleagues with whom I work and in my daily interactions with all of God’s people.

Lisa Erazmus