Reflections On A Life Once Lived

Image by Wolfgang Eckert from Pixabay

Today had been a busy one for me. Through the door came my application for the diaconate. Prior to filling it out and sending it away, I completed my application for Bus Eireann as a driver. Bus Eireann is Irelands national Bus transport system that gets you from A to B. All going well I’m considering becoming a part of their team and will assume a seasonal role.

A lot of people have told me I’m a brave person for getting behind the wheel of a bus. “It’s a position of great responsibility taking passengers from one place to another” say the many I interact with on a daily basis. They’re not wrong but I’ve never really thought about it like that. I also never thought in a million years I’d ever be driving a Bus and considering that as a career. But I must say I really enjoy like driving. In addition to prayer driving seems to keep me busy offering a distraction from the demons in my life.

Whenever I’m troubled, I drive. I don’t even put on music in the car, I just drive until I’m satisfied whatever’s troubling me has dissolved into nothing. That’s exactly what I did today. I took a drive to an old spot I used to sit near a venue I used to drink and play at on a daily basis. It’s situated right on the harbor surrounded by fishing boats. Everyone has their many places that aids in their pursuit of quiet reflection and this happens to be one of mine.

Here, as I sat with my sunglasses and scanned the sunlit waters some fishing boats rested upon, I thought about my life here as a young teenager. The unforgettable moments of drink, sex and drugs, sometimes hanging out with famous blow ins plagued me but also the good times where I sang some good tunes and entertained the few. That was my life once lived, an unemployable musician and artist who’d left school early. I had an ego so big that even the demons must have got jealous looking at me. I was so ambitious to be famous that I might’ve made it had I stuck to my guns and not left the scene so abruptly.

And abrupt it was for when Jesus came into the picture when I was 23 (14 years ago), I knew that while I could have ignored what took place, it would never go away. I’d never be able to erase my conversion and pretending it didn’t happen would never have worked either. That’s that! I’m here now and there’s no turning back, at least not to the world in any complete sense of the word.

It would be a bit like a dog returning to lick its vomit or someone who won the lotto handing back his ticket and saying he’d prefer to be homeless again. Or it’s a bit like Neo from the movie the Matrix saying to Morpheus, “You know, you’ve showered me with many graces my friend, but you know what? As fun as reality is and all that, I’d much prefer to go back and live the illusion.”

Yet, at the same time, I’d be lying if I said I never had moments when a desire to return to the old me didn’t exist. Sitting by the boats reflecting some more I chuckled at the idea that the once musician and local binge drinking unemployable lay about was now about to get behind the wheel of a Bus and possibly become a permanent deacon. If you had have said that to me when I was 19 years old I would have blown my drugs in your face and laughed until I overdosed.

Now that I’m older there’s nothing to laugh about and the comedy of adolescence has all but fizzled out. All my friends and pals are gone and all there is now is Jesus and my wife. The calling is here, it’s real and it’s going nowhere.

I’ve decided not to risk getting swallowed by the whale of the world only to be spat out in the direction I’m supposed to go. I’ve had enough unpleasant experiences in my life anyway without having to add more to the mix approaching my 40s. No! as I sat there basking in the heat of the sun, I decided that it’s time. It’s time to put my big boy pants on and not to run away again like I always do. It’s time to answer Gods call to help Him in His request to restore His Name, house and His honor.

Yes, I hear ya, I’m not worthy nor am I fit to do so, but then again who in this fallen world is? Name me one person worthy of any vocation in the Church because you won’t find any least of all me. Jesus says “many are called, few are chosen”. I’ve been called, but will I be chosen? Believe it or not that saying of Jesus is applicable even to the ordained for many there are who are ordained yet shouldn’t be. I pray I’m not one of them. You know when I’ll know the calling was authentic? When I’m lying there covered in stones, bruised from head to toe and seeing Jesus face to face for the second time in my life, that’s when I’ll know.

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