Where My Journey Began

Fool's Odyssey (title art 2)

When I was a young man, I began searching for the meaning of life, because that’s what you do when you’re young and foolish (as opposed to old and foolish). I’d abandoned my former atheism and started reading the words of Jesus. But uncertainty and pride had caused me to stop mid-leap-of-faith and review my options: “How should I live?” I asked myself, the one person who clearly didn’t have the answer. So I went to Europe—because that’s what young men do—and scribbled my thoughts along the way.

I eventually returned home with a satchel-full of thoughts. Seeking a way to organize them, I turned to the Book of Ecclesiastes, the journey of the Wise Man, the king in Jerusalem. Like him, I’d searched for a reason to live, a purpose. Like him, I’d tried “isms” along the way: Materialism, Sensualism, Idealism. And like him, I’d experienced the emptiness (“vanity”) of each. In the end, the Wise Man and I both arrived at the same cistern, still thirsty, realizing we knew nothing.

Which is the beginning of knowing something.

Then I read Psalm 14:1, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God,'” and I knew I’d found my role in this parallel journey. So I called it Fool’s Odyssey. I later did readings of this piece in the U.S. and U.K., and am now revisiting and serializing it here.

The words of the Wise Man,

the son of David,

the king in Jerusalem.

The words of the Fool;

the sun had set,

the time had come.

“Vanity of vanities,” said the Wise Man;

“all is vanity and chasing after wind.”

And one generation passes away

and another one comes in its stead.

“And the earth abideth forever,” they say,

but you never can quite get ahead.

“And all of the rivers run into the sea,

yet the sea is never quite full.

Then unto the place from whence they came,

the rivers flow again.

And that which is done

is that which shall be done.”

‘Cause there’s nothing that’s new.

No, nothing new under the sun.

Hell. Well, this is hell, said the Fool. You know for the life of me, I couldn’t tell if I was that proverbial puppy chasing his tail, or that mischievous kitten after an ever-unraveling ball of yarn. I mean, either one was the same to me, perceivable only as a wisp of something or other.

But here’s the reason why I had to know: If only the tip of mine own tenacious tail, then the end was bound to be disappointing. O, but if the tip of a bit of a ball of yarn, then even though itself unraveled to nothingness, itself, in time, I thought, might lead me back to where it all began, and to the One who raveled it up.

And so my journey began.

To read the next episode, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Fool's Odyssey, For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Poetry, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Where My Journey Began

  1. Gary Fultz says:

    You have many colors to your life’s tapestry Mitch (despite the unravel and ravel-in’s)

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I love your testimony, Mitch. I do hope you’re planning to make this a book someday.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. simplywendi says:

    loved that your journey was actually a journey……….. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. JOY journal says:

    Glad God met you on the road!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. numrhood says:

    psalm 39:01 praise the lord
    you made me beautiful
    fall unto the mountains of israel

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So good. I love to read ecclesiastes and follow it up with proverbs. Wise words.
    I can definitely relate to denouncing God and then later being shown He is real. I was in so much pain I was angry and couldn’t understand how there could be a Good who would allow such suffering.
    Well, what human hasn’t suffered? We grow older, experience more pain at times, and grow wiser – hopefully at least.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. oddmanout215 says:

    Nice. I’ll bet you know “Ash Wednesday,” which T.S.Eliot wrote so0n after he got religion. From the last stanza::
    Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit
    of the garden,
    Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
    Teach us to care and not to care
    Teach us to sit still
    Even among these rocks,
    Our peace in His will
    And even among these rocks
    Sister, mother
    And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
    Suffer me not to be separated

    Liked by 1 person

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