There are moments when everything changes. It’s when an aspect of your life that you thought was rock solid comes crashing down and the remains look nothing like what was once there. It’s something so dramatic that you know that nothing could be the same afterwards. The world looks different than it once did. The path you walked to get here has been blocked. There is no going back.

One of those moments happened this week.

Honestly, the words fail me. I wish I could process this on paper like I do everything else, but it’s not possible in this case. I’m shocked, I’m hurt, and I’m not sure what to do. I feel like a part of me has been cut out, and even if I tried to put it back in, it wouldn’t fit anymore. I have to live with this revelation the rest of my life. How can I even begin to process that?

I could pray about it. I know that is the short answer that many people will want to give me. Don’t get me wrong, I am doing that and I will continue to do so, but it doesn’t solve anything in this moment. The glass is already broken and I can’t pray for it to be put back together. I could pray for wisdom on next steps, life in this new world, but the answers are going to take time. Healing, if there be any, is a long ways off. So prayer is essential for the journey, but it doesn’t give me the answers I crave now.

The thing that keeps eating at me is I wonder what I could have done differently. What did I fail to see, or did I deliberately choose to ignore it? Have I been lying to myself this whole time to make life less troublesome? Has the truth been staring me in the face this whole time while I’ve kept my eyes closed? How much pain has my ignorance caused others? Could I have prevented this with more action and less hiding? This is no doubt in my mind that I have failed in some way.

Where do I go from here? How do I treat this moment from here on out? I can’t ignore it, but I don’t want to take it to the opposite extreme. Which direction is most healthy and which is most toxic? How do I avoid the toxic roads?

I guess these are not questions that anyone can answer. Only God can provide the wisdom I’m seeking. So it turns out that this is a prayer. There’s only one way I can conclude this – with the words we recite to close the Sunday night small group I attend. A prayer by Thomas Merton:

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.