Going straight forward

Razor clear.

Sky parting clear.

Clear. Everything clear.

Shakespeare said it, “This above all, to thine own self be true, / And it must follow, as the night the day, / Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

There is a compass, a truth resonator, an internal lie detector, a beacon pulsing, a calm sweet voice speaking. It is a voice that only we can hear. No one can hear it for us. No one can make it go away. The voice of divine Truth unwavering, speaking in unwritten words, etching meanings in our hearts, saying, “Here, here, here you go, this is the way, walk ye in it” (see Isaiah 30:21). Ageless, timeless currency of the Christ—communicating, confirming divine authenticity—anchoring us in present grace, showing us our place in the world.

Years ago I’d just about finished an immersion course on Christian Science healing. There had been immeasurable breakthroughs, spiritual insights, ground gained, “home” found. But it was soon ending, and I felt desperate to hold on to all I’d learned. How would it translate afterwards? Would I be able to maintain? 

Face to God I sent my hopes and yearnings and opened my Bible. It fell open to this passage, one I’d never read: “And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went” (Ezekiel 1:12).

Everyone went straight forward.

Whither the spirit was to go, they went.

They turned not when they went.

How that has been my heart’s prayer, for me, for that class. Some days have been better than others. But the compass is fixed. I used to wonder about Jesus’ statement about the way being straight and narrow . . . if it was to be confining, limited, easy to fall off. 

It’s not that kind of narrow at all—not rigid and pulseless—but a road fired by resolve, an inner longing, fueled by knowing. Jesus was talking about a fidelity of focus, eyes on God, ear to internal truth, footsteps of faith: seek God first, leave all . . . be true, know what’s true . . . and as you do, everything will come together, sit right, find its place. Put first things first, be faithful to your heart’s urging, knowing, certainty—which sometimes you can only know by the involuntary resistance to everything else: the quiet betrayal that comes when you act from what you think you “should” do, instead of the sweet rightness of what you know deep within. 

Given the distractions, the voices, their clamors, the demands, Truth’s requirements are simple, uncluttered, pure, real; no pretense there, no room for second guessing, and yet life-altering in their rightness.

This excerpt is from Mary Oliver’s poem called “The Journey”: 

“One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do. . . .” 

—Joni Overton-Jung, Port Hope, Ontario, Canada

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