I was out to lunch with some friends recently and the conversation around the table moved to spiritualism and organized religion, always a loaded topic but not overly contentious with this group. We are all diverse in our beliefs but harbor a healthy respect for each others choices. One friend in particular has always been adamant about her position as an atheist but her conversation this time surprised us all. She alluded to feeling a need to return to her church and was struggling with what she perceived as a betrayal of her own belief. For years she was confident and comfortable as a non-believer. Now, for reasons she herself can’t explain, she feels compelled to return to her faith. Her struggle was with ‘what changed, and why’?
In another scenario a young man enjoyed a reckless and adventurous youth. He studied hard but only because he knew he wanted a comfortable life. He partied harder, and eventually he either burnt himself out or had an epiphany, because in an overnight transition he found his purpose and made radical changes to his life, shocking friends and family. The medical career he’d studied for to maintain his luxurious lifestyle became his ‘gift’ to mankind. For reasons he could never explain he left his high rolling bachelor life and committed himself to God. He now provides medical relief in third world countries, trading in his sport cars for much need medical equipment and fresh water, and he lives, happily, in the most base conditions.
The angry career criminal who mercilessly commits crime after crime, because each time he did so hardened him and it became easier, now wants to rehabilitate and counsel troubled souls to steer them away from the path upon which he once trod. When everyone else tried to put him on the right path, they failed, then one day he just forged a new path himself and never looked back.
There were no epic life events in any of these three situations that prompted the ‘ahha’ moment that suddenly struck with a life-changing realization that would alter the rest of their life story. In fact, in all three scenarios the individual knows not why they must move in another direction. They just know that they must.
I believe we are all meant to walk a specific path, the path that ultimately satisfies our purpose for being here. For many that path is clearly marked and they do not stray. For others, that path meanders in a risky direction, taking unlikely turns and moving them further from their purpose. In youth we stray from our faith because it is the very impetuousness of youth that makes us question the status quo. In maturity, long after we’ve explored other avenues, we return to our faith, if only to confirm it was meant for us after all.
For those of us taking a ‘wrong turn’ in life, finding the road back comes at a high price but ultimately leads to safety, peace, and happiness, and very often those taking those radical turns can’t explain them. They just know it’s right.
Destiny required you to stray for a time, and the lessons learned during this brief hiatus are every bit as important as the need for you to return. The road back presents itself at just the right time and for the right reasons. Don’t try to analyze why, just take it.