By Tom Ehrich
ENID, OK -- I am so glad I took a day off the road and spent it here in Enid. Nice city. I even got a haircut here. And now ribs for dinner.
Some days are just good days. A well-made latte at Five80 on Randolph Street, near the county courthouse. A haircut just up the street by a hair cutter who took the time to ask what I wanted. Lunch at the On the Sidewalk Grill. Lots of writing wherever I could find a flat surface for my iPad. Now the Rib Crib, near my hotel.
What else has made this day good? Not pushing down the highway, for one thing. As much as I enjoy driving, it's good just to walk around town. Not feeling rushed to get to the next stopping-zipping. Not getting lost, a constant issue when traveling to new places. And the city itself. At 50,000, Enid feels right-sized to me at this moment in my life. Plus I love these Western towns and cities.
Also contributing to this day -- probably the main thing -- was finally getting to the deep thinking I wanted to undertake on this pilgrimage. I realize you can't force it. It happens when it happens. Now seems to be the time. "Slow down," was my advice to myself. It was the right counsel..
I have this feeling -- building for some time -- that faith is more than I have imagined or allowed. I have sought comfort and serenity. I have sought certainty, even while calling it "ambiguity." I have sought to belong. In my own way, I think I have sought to keep God small and on the margins. None of that has worked.
The longer I study Scripture, wrestle with ethical issues, write about God, and pray to God, the more I realize that God is a wild one. Not the least predictable or controllable. Not the steady rock I have wanted God to be, but a wild-flowing stream that carries me along to the life God wants me to live. Sometimes I cling to a passing tree, or make landfall and think I have arrived, or buy a big boat to master the current. But the river flows on, and all of my efforts to make it manageable and pleasant don't deter God from doing what God wants to do.
I have allowed my demons to carry me along, too. Fear of failure, for example, and its partner: addiction to control. God's stream is faster and stronger. But when I cling or stop, I allow the demons to catch up. My better course is just to let God sweep me away: change my mind, challenge my thinking, pose new questions, put independent people in my life, people who will argue back, and lead me to see where I have fallen short. All of that God does. I just need to let it happen.