Should I stay or should I go?

My recent novel Gospel, Rumours of Love opens with Yeshua walking away from Nazareth. He is leaving.

He has no idea what lies ahead; he just knows he has to go, that he cannot stay – and that is enough.

Soon he will arrive in the sparse comfort of the wilderness where encounters will shape his future; but first he had to leave where he was.

And there is no good time to leave; Yeshua’s family were furious. It wasn’t a good time for them at all.

And if we’re waiting for a good time to leave, we may be waiting forever.

‘When things are more settled down,’ we say, ‘then I’ll leave.’

But when does anything ever settle? Fresh de-stabilisers always appear.

I remember my decision to leave the priesthood, which I write about in Shelf Life. I had nowhere to go to, no fresh job lined up.

I just knew I had to leave, that the adventure was over.

It would have helped me at the time to have someone to talk things through with; but I didn’t, sadly, and my inner compass had to guide.

And so I walked through the open door into darkness, a fragile wilderness which exposed all my survival fears, and seems quite mad on reflection; but light found me and a slow re-birth of purpose, joy and direction occurred.

It was a wilderness. But my inner compass had proved accurate in taking me there.

‘Get to the wilderness and everything will be OK.’

‘Should I stay or should I go?’ The question comes up in so many forms during our lives, in jobs and relationships.

And sometimes it’s good to stay and sometimes it’s good to go.

And sometimes it takes us months or years to reach a place where a decision becomes possible.

And sometimes talking with someone can help us.

And sometimes negative guidance is enough: we just know we have to leave, even if we don’t know what comes next.

Just like when Yeshua left Nazareth, amid strong calls for him to stay.

He didn’t know where his feet were taking him; he just had to trust they were taking him somewhere.

And this is my story and your story too.

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