Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Night I Crossed Over

Paradoxically, the distance between belief and unbelief is a vast chasm which can be traversed by a single step. One solitary step. One moment in time. One night nearly 30 years ago, I took that step, and my life was changed forever.

Early in 1986, the year I would have graduated from High School had I not dropped out the previous year, I was at a party. It was my younger sister's fifteenth birthday party. My parents had gone out and left me in charge. At 17, I was already a seasoned binge drinker, and a convicted car thief. I had no aspirations, no ambition, no direction in life, and very little respect for myself or anyone else. I also had very little time or patience for Christians, many of whom were friends of mine: recent converts exuding zeal, nagging me about my eternal future, and refusing to drink with me. I didn't know God, nor was I interested in getting to know him, despite the fervent encouragement of some of my friends. I didn't believe there was a God, but if he did exist, then I was angry at him for stealing my mates and transforming them into wowsers. I usually told these overenthusiastic proselytizers where they could put their offer of new life. I ignored them. I closed my heart and shut my mind tight to even the possibility of the existence of an infinite and all powerful God who cared about me, who loved me.

On that night, the love I was most interested in was the love of my ex girlfriend. I allowed her to talk to me about Jesus because I liked being with her. I liked the sound of her voice, and was enchanted by the sparkle in her eyes. As much as a 17 year old can love someone, I loved her. So I drank, and she talked, and the party swelled around me without my knowledge or involvement.

It began with some gatecrashers who thought it would be amusing to go into our aviary and scare our birds. It ended with the police arriving too late to catch the offenders who had started a brawl which resulted in a broken window, and a bad gash to the head of a friend of mine. I abused the police not because they were at fault but because I felt responsible. I felt gutted by the ruination of my sister's birthday celebrations.

I remember sitting on the front steps of our house, still drinking but brutally sobered by the shocking events of the night, wondering what I would say to my parents when they arrived home. I recall questioning the value of life, the value of my life. I recollect searching for meaning, trying to find some purpose. What the hell was I doing with my life? It was my lowest point.

My ex girlfriend returned to my house while I was sitting there on the steps feeling miserable. Thankfully, she had left the party long before the proverbial kaka hit the fan. When I saw her across the street walking towards me, I couldn't believe she was there. She had come, like an angel, to comfort me. When I needed her, she was there. That was the moment I crossed over. I took that first tiny step. The largest stride I had ever taken. I finally accepted her invitation to attend a youth meeting, "fellowship" they called it, and at that meeting I became a Christian.

When have you had such a watershed moment? What happened? I'd love to hear your stories.