Four ravens dance in the sky, breaking off into partners, weaving and diving, touching in midair. Or is it more akin to an aerial dogfight, wingmen against wingmen, two flying always close facing against the other two flying close, a battle over territory. Maybe it is just good fun being had by animals who are aware how brilliant flying can be. They fly in rising and diving circles, through the trees, all around, acrobats in the sky. Four ravens, teams, together or competing.

Now another pair comes in and joins them six ravens interweaving, and now a single, seven ravens twirling about in master flight over the banks of the lake.

And me? I’m in the middle of the lake bobbing with the wind caused chop. I write here, for since I need to write, and wanted to go kayaking, it seemed a good combination.

So, what is this I’m writing? The third month of twice a day journaling has begun, and I wonder myself. Why this format? Why this style?

One reason is that writing and journaling are fine disciplines, making a person pause in the day and consider. Prayer is also this, but prayer is outward directed, a getting back into tune and rhythm with the Divine.

Journaling is getting back into tune with oneself, or maybe it is a discovery of the tune itself.

I have journaled irregularly for over a decade now. Why publicly at this point? Because it feels right, that’s the core reason, it feels like the right thing to do and I do it. Additionally, it is a way of accountability. It is also a marker for myself and others to see.

I’m standing and walking (well floating right now) in faith, and so this is a way of marking it all, showing the highs and lows before anything else is seen or discovered.

There is also another sense for this. During my college years, during the first dark times of my soul, I was lost, very lost. Those to whom I spoke could give me no wisdom, only more confusion, for they did not have answers to my questions, nor balm for my wounds. “It is sin,” they said, “or immaturity. Be happy and thankful.” Or, “You are just wrong about it all, lost, ignorant, and need to act the part of a Christian.”

Then I began being exposed to the Greats, and reading — the Fathers, Wesley, many others who spoke of the depths, depths which the Church never taught anymore — which it seemed to me, no longer knows. So I wandered, lost and confused, but at least with the guidance of centuries ago to help put me right. I was terribly lonely in and through it all.

Now, ten or so years later I have a heart for those with the same struggle, a desire to come alongside and help them along, to identify and reforge trails long overgrown. I want to discover and help others discover to not only say one is a Christian, but to really become a Christian.

I want to become the person, the teacher, the leader, the counselor I needed, still need. So I write about the journey, not because I’ve come to my “strangely warmed” moment, but because I have not, because my soul is being poured out into the void still, and I wait. It is the time of incompleteness, not victory, which I write about.

Too much is made of the voices who have arrived, or say they have arrived. What comforts me is to read of or listen to those who have not made it into a hagiography, or for those who have, to hear what it is like being there, getting there, with all the complications and realities of real life. While the words of honor and success are exciting, the words of struggle and effort are helpful, for then I hear how they moved past and beyond.

Wesley had two sets of journals, private and public. The public tells of the joys, the success, the outward efforts of faith, the Christian game as it was meant to be played. and were intentionally published. The private tells of the depression, the struggle, the times in which he was sure he did not love God and God did not love him.

I am no Wesley, to be sure. I am still yet to be determined, however, and in this era, I think, we can finally do away with the religious facade. I want no artificial veneer of spirituality. I want to explore faith and Spirit in fullness and honesty, and maybe in doing so find people to accompany me, or people farther back who need guidance forward, or wise people farther ahead who can lend me a hand along the Way.

I am no Hermit, I am not one who seeks exclusive solitude, so I write, expressing my heart, and somehow connecting with the hears of others who are likewise called to live out a life they do not feel naturally suited for, a life which is directing the soul to Christ above all else.

I have walked alone these many years, and will continue to do so if others are not found to be walking the same direction. That is why I write, to explore the trails, and tell of what I find, building community through sharing thoughts with those who are on the same path, to the same end.