Hope is a very powerful thing. I didn't used to have hope. I can recall a time - in recent history - when I was a nihilist through and through. I lived for nothing, and I didn't want to live for anything. Life had no meaning, and despite not searching for any meaning I was immovable, and steadfast in my belief (or rather, my lack thereof). I was an atheist, a victim of the anti-theistic pundits and zealots who pushed their way into the minds of many young people of my generation. They got us while we were young, make no mistake I disavow this wholeheartedly.
Do you believe in fate? Destiny? Perhaps even some level of pre-destination? I can't say for certain if I do - but what I can say is that not everything is as coincidental as some would make it out to be.
One day - on a whim - when I was 17 years old, I made the choice to tag along with my Mom to a church down the road. It was the church she had started going to - the one she had started taking my nephews to - and I had never been. We walked in, and we sat in the very back pew - right by the door. To my surprise, the preacher already knew me. I had no recollection of him, this didn't shock me though - I'm terrible with faces and names.
The sermon began shortly after, and the preacher began talking about "paradoxes" and how some would attempt to use them as a means of "disproving" parts of the Bible - and how by definition Paradoxes are things that shouldn't exist - shouldn't work at all - but still do. It was then that this man said words that - while somewhat hilarious in hindsight - changed the trajectory of my life for the better.
Paraphrasing: "Did you know that - scientifically - a bee should not be able to fly with the wings it's been given? Yet it does."
Now for those of you keeping track, I was 17 at the time - and this was in 2017 if I recall correctly. A big meme at the time was quoting "The Bee Movie", especially it's intro lines which also had to do with how bee's shouldn't be able to fly with their tiny wings. I took note of this - along with the name of the preacher. "Brother Terry Davis".
This was enough to solidify - for me - that some divine force was trying to tell me something. I looked around - a room full of the elderly - boomers all around - none of them would have ever been able to pick up on just how strange and hilarious it was for a man with the same name as the man who coined the term "glowie" inadvertantly making a bee movie reference at the height of the meme. I went home, and over the course of the next few years did my best to try and get back on the path of the straight and narrow.
Of course there had to come a time that I'd falter. My time was January, 2020 - before everything went crazy, I did. I found myself in a world unlike the one I'd lived in prior - where everything around me, even my own reflection, seemed strange and foreign. There was no sense of permanence in any of the places I'd pass in my vehicle - and it rattled me enough that I quit my job, and spent weeks only leaving my room in the early morning hours. I stopped going to church - but again, fate, destiny, pre-destination - or perhaps a better term: Divine Intervention - came knocking.
Out of nowhere, one day, in March of 2020 - I decided to join a server, ran by someone with a YouTube channel. I had only seen one or two of his videos - and at that it had been nearly two years since then. These were (and still are) good people - and despite being wary of outsiders (due to various conflicts that were still fresh in all their minds) they welcomed me with open arms.
In the Book of Matthew, chapter 18, verse 20 - Jesus Christ says "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." Make no mistake, I had walked away from the church - and inadvertantly walked right back into a new one - albeit in a much different shape and format. Here I found good spiritual discussion - discussion which greatly helped to reaffirm my belief - belief which I admittedly do struggle with from time to time - and discussion which encouraged me to read a little bit on the good book - whereas prior I had only picked up little bits and pieces from what I remembered as a kid, or what I heard in sermons at the church I used to attend regularly.
Hope is an incredibly powerful thing - and through Faith in Jesus Christ, The one true king of kings, The one true Savior - I have found abundant hope. Again I find myself at a difficult juncture. All words seem insufficient to sing his praises - that's why I wrote so much about my own personal journey back to Christ. I can speak about a lot of things - I can speak with passion and vitriol when I need to - but here I am rendered near speechless.
I hope this shrine will suffice.