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Worship: Well, how did I get here? Choice, logic and ‘being led’

Worship

It was five years ago that a friend called to ask if our family would be willing to leave Alabama and move to Texas to serve a church. The question registered a strange shock in me. I had honestly never thought of moving to Texas, just as many of us cannot conceive living in a foreign land. But I now know that many others in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas have shared a similar experience, making their way here from the likes of Oklahoma, France, Hawaii, Canada and California.

Still I wonder sometimes: how did I get here? In the song “Once in a Lifetime,” The Talking Heads ask this question. “You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack/and you may find yourself in another part of the world/and you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile/and you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife/and you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”

The truth is that, in a way that is hard to explain, we felt led to come here. To be led suggests that something or someone is in front of you. Deep calls to deep with a choice: stay or go.

Sometimes the path is easily explained, but other times we can only sit back and marvel. We think how did I get so lucky? Or, why did I have to go through that? Or, how did my life end up this way? I could say to you I took a job but that would not explain the complex mix of choice, intuition, expectation and discernment that brought us to Texas.

The truth is that, in a way that is hard to explain, we felt led to come here. To be led suggests that something or someone is in front of you. Deep calls to deep with a choice: stay or go.

In his book Jayber Crow, poet, environmental activist and farmer Wendell Berry expresses these words through his main character: “If you could do it, I suppose, it would be a good idea to live your life in a straight line … but that is not the way I have done it, so far. I am a pilgrim, but my pilgrimage has been wandering and unmarked. Often what has looked like a straight line to me has been a circling or a doubling back. I have been in the Dark Wood of Error any number of times … Often I have not known where I was going until I was already there. I have had my share of desires and goals, but my life has come to me or I have gone to it mainly by way of mistakes and surprises…I am an ignorant pilgrim, crossing a dark valley. And yet for a long time, looking back, I have been unable to shake off the feeling that I have been led – make of that what you will.”

Could it be that there is something or someone beyond us, beckoning us to step out into wide open spaces, to embrace a pilgrim’s life, to traverse boundaries, to follow without knowing what lies ahead, to discover the place that we would one day call home?

By |2014-10-24T12:59:13-05:00October 27th, 2014|All Columns, All Magazine Articles, Religion|Comments Off on Worship: Well, how did I get here? Choice, logic and ‘being led’

About the Author:

Brent McDougal
Brent McDougal is pastor of Cliff Temple Baptist Church. His monthly Oak Cliff Advocate column appears in the worship section, which is underwritten by Advocate Publishing and by the neighborhood business people and churches listed on those pages. Call 214.560.4202 or email for advertising information.