All of this and more are reserved for the person who tries to stand up for what is right. The person who tries to chart a different course. The level that even friends can stoop too when- for just a moment-you stop playing the game and try to live to the higher calling is shocking in every way. This is not to claim any saintly garment for me. I am the farthest from a Saint. The back row of the church was my place. Maybe is my place. But just the attempt to follow that brighter path can so anger people that they can not stand your presence. The fear is greater than almost any known to man. Its first victim is reason, followed by rational thought. Logic never stands a chance. Conversation and listening- they were felled by the first volly. Toy soldiers stood not a chance.
In the smoking ruins of that battlefield you find yourself alone. With your faith. And then you realize the price that will be paid. And in the distance you slowly see the outline of that rugged old cross. Only then do you start to get the point. Its not meant to be an easy road. Its not meant to always be a celebration. Just because you read some bible verses on Sunday morning doesnt mean the pearly gates swing open wide and the shower of gold begins. Quite the opposite in fact.
As you claw towards something better through the fog and the debris of what was- clambering for what can be- you know in your heart that the journey is yours alone to follow. That the choices are yours alone to make. Even when they cry out for your blood. Even when they turn and walk away. Even when they say youve changed. Especially then. For thats when you start to grasp what its all about. The journey of faith that stretches from a Golgotha field- to the appomatox where you make your stand. It may be painful- it may be solitary- but it is the place you must go if you are to begin to know just what your life is for.
I guess even if Joel would have said something, I wouldnt have believed him.