My Quest in Response to an Invitation

My Quest in Response to an Invitation

‘The Merciful Trinity’

Background: I am presently a little more than half-way through what is known as the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. The version I am doing is a thirty-two-week type of retreat which takes about an hour of my time each day in addition to weekly spiritual direction. It was suggested by my director that I write a type of “myth” story about my dreams and desires regarding this inner journey I am on. The following is the story I created and I hope any reader enjoys it. The names and terms I used are explained at the end of this document.


Sid and Gov were best friends from childhood and now coming of age. Sid had recently lost his father and was in search of a new path to help shape and guide his life. They both were encountering life in the so-called “Boomer” lifestyle offered to them as young adults. At a huge State Fair sort of event, Gov suggested that perhaps a Hypnotist they stumbled upon might be a way to help Sid discover where his life might lead. So, the Hypnotist, who went by the title ‘The Wizard’, put Sid into a trance and asked him to first share a little about what had shaped his life so far.

Sid mentioned the death of his father and helping his mother and family. Then moved on to some recent tragedies that had occurred such as several assassinations of well-known people; civil unrest caused by overwhelming prejudice of the “others” among us; a prevailing war after two “Great” wars that were supposed to be the end of all wars but only proceeded to worsen the world together with a new-found military weapon that raised many fears and tribal instincts. There were also many environmental crises looming due to man’s incredible abuse of and search for material resources.

The Wizard then asked Sid to project how he might see his life developing and to consider Gov as his companion on this journey. The Wizard also suggested that Sid stretch his imagination in a powerful way by eventually answering a form of invitation from an unknown entity beyond his knowledge of the current world and how this would help explain the discoveries along the way to answering this “call”. Thus begins the incredible story I (Sid) am about to share.

Sid continued in a methodical, typical, normative-for-the-times introduction of how he saw his life proceeding. From graduating from college, starting a professional career, being roommates with Gov for a few years, having all sorts of young, single male experiences, to eventually getting married with Gov, of course, as his best man.

Then on through the decades of his life and all forms of diverse and enriching experiences, including family life, a work career, engagement in the community and his church, trips, vacations, moving, building houses, and on and on. He even took the time to walk an ancient pilgrim route and learned more about himself in such a way that he thought it might perhaps become a bigger part of his life in later years. But this full awareness did not come forward until much later.

At this point, Sid got into the Wizard’s suggestion of the “invitation” and described a remarkable experience he had as he was approaching his so-called “retirement” years. He told the story of receiving a very strange e-mail from someone identifying himself as King Olorun from the Kingdom of Koinonia to come and see him, to bring Gov along, find a Ferryman known as Jon, and to go with the Ferryman on his boat down a nearby river … and don’t forget Gov! “Jon will explain more when you get there”.

Gov was now older as well and thought Sid was perhaps getting senile but felt it would do no harm to at least go to the river with him and find this guy Jon. When they got to the river, there was no problem in locating Jon since virtually everyone knew him and he had a following of sorts … at least a dozen or so of helpers who hung on his every word. He told them that he was used to people tracking him down and looking for help and asked Sid what he wanted.

Sid was hesitant at first feeling that Jon would think he was crazy about his King Olorun story and the Kingdom of Koinonia, but to both Sid and Gov’s surprise, Jon indicated that he gets this request a lot and knew the way to get there … but it wouldn’t be easy. Jon told them that in addition to his followers, that he had a partner named Clete who helped him in this type of journey. However, they would probably never see him since he preferred to remain behind the scenes in his work. He told Sid not to worry and that between him and Clete, they would help him get to his destination despite some obstacles he would encounter.

Jon then suggested to Sid a question to ponder during their journey together; “What is the Truth?” and not to try and answer it now… and as events unfolded during their time together, to reflect on this question. When Sid asked him “why?”, Jon said that from what he knew, Koinonia was held in a spirit known as “metanoia” which he didn’t have time to explain now but would be fully understood once Sid reached Koinonia, or simply “K”. Gov did not understand any of this but got on the boat to be with his friend. So they proceeded down the river together with Jon as their guide.

Along the way, Gov asked Jon about his life and how he got to be a Ferryman. Jon said that he was an only child, born and raised in a small town with loving parents and an extended family including a very dedicated Godfather. Jon had always been a laborer of many talents and was usually surrounded by a variety of friends. Sid saw the magnetism and charisma in Jon and could see how this was possible because in addition to being very likeable, Jon projected a certain authority based upon much wisdom in his words. Gov saw it a little differently in that Jon was somewhat of a paradox especially regarding his talk about “K” and metanoia which was somewhat confusing to him and contradicted much of what Gov’s life experience had been.

Both Sid and Gov grew up, as did most others in their world, with an experience of much subservience with respect to political, community, or church leaders. For example, their global church leader, a man called Simeon, was very much steeped in to things like commandments, laws, and rituals. And here was Jon talking about things like discovering the “truth” on this journey when Gov knew exactly what truths he believed in. But Sid was adamant about finding out more and continued to ask Jon questions.

Jon would typically respond by telling stories that were so revolutionary in thought that Sid wanted to know more and more. As they paddled along the river, there were sometimes random travelers and at other times throngs of people apparently on some form of pilgrimage. In some cases, they observed what appeared to be battles going on in the distant hills with people suffering and dying as they fled to the river. Jon would sometimes stop to offer some kind words of encouragement or food from his meager supplies yet somehow miraculously he never ran out.

Sid asked Jon where the pilgrims were heading and he said he thought many of them were in search of “K” as well and that some would seek baptism in the river. Jon then told him a story of how he had been baptized in this same river by one of the wild looking pilgrims among the pack they saw and how that event became a starting point of his work as a ferryman.

Sid wondered what the battles might be about and Jon told him that in many cases unfortunately they were in the name of religion due to tribal differences. He also indicated that what was even worse were the countless “others” living in nearby cities that were being marginalized by society and treated very poorly. Even though they weren’t in warlike conflict, Jon suggested that their impoverishment was a key reason that these wars broke out. But they prevailed by demonstrating an extremely high level of what he called “radical resilience”. Sid was amazed by what he saw.

Gov then interrupted and said that Simeon was someone who he admired and tried to follow his words and teachings. Jon then explained that Simeon had been designated by Olorun, as the leader of “K”, to be his representative for the rest of the world. However, Simeon, as others before him, had to contend with many other tribes and their beliefs such that a variety of compromises and concessions had to be made and the outcome of that was the “truth” became unclear, confusing, and contradictory to most people.

These statements really got Gov twitching and he was almost ready to jump off the boat! But Sid calmed him down a bit so their journey continued. Sid began to see many familiar faces walking along the riverbanks and even some similarities to people who had passed on. He waved to them and in some cases called out their names. Many waved back but a handful, including who he thought to be his brothers and sisters, ignored him. Jon recognized the hurt in this and encouraged Sid to remain steadfast in his journey and what he was pursuing.

This got Sid to thinking more deeply about his life’s purpose and to be wary of distractions and temptations. He wanted to fulfill this quest to Koinonia and knew Jon would get him there or close to it. But perhaps there was more to this journey that he hadn’t fully discerned before he met Jon. He was determined to stay alert to these (inner) feelings as Jon suggested while being on the river in this (outer) journey to Koinonia. Sid was certain that there were discoveries to be made that the Wizard had alluded to and wanted to see how they were connected to Olorun’s invitation to come to “K” and perhaps, somewhat hopefully, with Jon’s help.

Some immediate examples of thoughts that burdened Sid at times were feelings of unworthiness caused perhaps by wanting immediate, correct answers and trying to be in control. Therefore, impatience and not being fully present in the moment sometimes dominated his behavior. Sid was grateful that somehow these things were brought to light by being on the boat with Jon and began to think of them as blessings through discussions with Jon as they floated upstream. Jon’s ever-present calm demeanor and wisdom was a true gift and perhaps King Olorun would provide even greater insight when they reached “K”. Sid was becoming more accepting of the journey as a spiritual gift as well as physical challenge and wanted to fully partake in all the sights, special moments, and the diversity in the people he saw along the way.

So he more or less surrendered to the paradoxes, contradictions, and mystery of the river experiences through Jon’s gentle encouragement. Gov was listening too but was still holding firm on to the traditional beliefs and rituals of the times. Sid thought these were important as well but not as much as the freedom to take a deeper dive into at times what felt like an abyss without boundaries brought about by exploring his dreams for how he saw his life playing out. And just like Abraham centuries ago didn’t know where his path was leading, his Creator nurtured his patience to endure the joys, sufferings, and even chaos along the way.

Eventually they reached a hilly area where what appeared to be thousands of people were camping out. Jon moved the boat closer to that side of the river and suddenly jumped out. Sid and Gov joined him and recognized some of his followers among the throngs of people including the wild looking guy who had baptized Jon. They began to spread out with Jon heading up one hill taller than the rest. Many people were greeting Jon and talking to him as he climbed up and his followers passed out food which seemed to appear out of nowhere. Jon then began to speak.

What Sid and Gov heard they couldn’t believe. Jon talked about a radical, new set of ideals that focused on love and humility rather than force and mastery. His words were deeply spiritual and framed in deep compassion and expressed as teachings to be taken very seriously. All of us were spellbound as we listened to these strange thoughts put together in such a way that they seemed to disarm all who heard. Although not contradictory to things like the Ten Commandments, they were expressed as things to be absorbed by the heart and not just mere rules, laws, and regulations to be followed. A dove appeared overhead and lingered for the entire time Jon was speaking.

When the three of them returned to the boat, Jon informed them that they would soon be approaching “K”. Gov then decided that he did not want to go with them and that he was leaving and returning to the world of Simeon. He told Sid and Jon that although the words Jon had just spoken were beautiful, that he felt more comfortable living within the boundaries of Simeon’s teachings. So Gov left them and although Sid was disappointed Gov was leaving, he understood the compelling nature of returning to a known and safe spot and felt that to a degree himself. But not enough to stop his quest and journey towards “K”. So, he got back onto the boat with Jon and continued down the river.

Jon told Sid that in another day or so he would be dropping him off at the border of “K” and that it wouldn’t take him long to get to Olorun. Sid asked him why he couldn’t go too, but Jon indicated it was not his time now but would be joining Olorun at a later date. So, they floated down the river and discussed a few more things. Jon asked Sid if he remembered the question he had asked Sid to reflect on at the beginning of their journey together; i.e. “What is the Truth?” Sid said that he had been giving this a lot of thought and was a key reason why he didn’t leave and return with Gov since he wanted to learn more.

Sid explained that he was growing in the understanding of his life’s purpose which he called his “truth”, but that the change he was seeking had not fully manifested itself yet. On the journey, he had seen much suffering as well as joy through the experiences of the people as they traveled down the river and was very struck by their patient persistence in taking the next steps along their respective paths. On top of that was the wisdom that Jon had expressed by his actions and words, especially his most recent teaching to thousands of people. Jon interrupted and told Sid that he could see that Sid was slowly growing and learning what wisdom really was, and that the goal he was seeking was about to be reached when he encountered Oloron within the “metanoia” spirit of “K”.

Sid asked again what this “metanoia” was all about and Jon said it was a preparation of the soul based on repentance and a way of thinking, breathing thoughts of unity at every moment of life (S). Sid told Jon that he felt Jon was talking in riddles again and Jon said that this change, or transformation, takes time and that their journey together was necessary before it would fully reveal itself to Sid … but that he was getting close! But first Sid must fully release, or surrender, himself to the truth and his true self before the full spirit of Koinonia manifested itself to him.

Sid told Jon he thought he understood but indicated that it was difficult to let go and fall into that mysterious mental abyss again without boundaries. He also admitted that he had been tempted to return with Gov but that his time so far with Jon had somehow convinced him to continue this journey.

Jon suggested that Sid trust, to not be afraid of opening-up and becoming welcoming and vulnerable to the possibilities of Love which is another word for the Truth. He then went on to say that the journey they were about to conclude was all part of the “river of life”. “Your experiences, the people you met, the beauty you saw, the sorrow, and pain of the people you felt all come flowing forward to a form of faith, union, salvation, and enlightenment moving from order, to disorder, and then ultimately to reorder. It seems that each of us, including you Sid, must learn on our own what is well hidden but also in plain sight (R)”.

Jon ended his remarks by saying “Look within, where there is only peace; love leads to life”.  He then brought the boat alongside the right riverbank and said that they had arrived at the border of Koinonia where they would part ways. But be told Sid to not be afraid, since his spirit will be within him and Clete, even though he won’t be seen, will help guide his way. Since Jon had told him that this was going to take another forty days or so through some rough terrain, Sid was grateful for any help.

He also gave Sid some parting words: while you thought you were searching for a more tangible, outward presence of a place called Koinonia, your real search was more inward. This is where the Truth and Love reside that enriches and makes known the world-at-large and will help you in your ministry and reaching the dreams and desires you discussed with me. And remember to listen to your voice about these desires and dreams. You will fully understand how to reach this Truth by the time you meet Olorun. Please give him my best regards and tell him I’ll be together with him and Clete soon. They hugged each other one last time and Sid jumped out of the boat to begin the final, and perhaps most challenging leg of his quest and all alone.

As he approached an expansive, desert like area with huge mountains in the distance, he immediately came upon some strangers that didn’t look like the pilgrims he had seen earlier. One of them began to talk to him asking where he was heading. When Sid told him that he was on his way to see King Olorun in Koinonia, the stranger told him that this would be a waste of his time and that Olorun was a wicked and murderous King. This initially confused Sid but he didn’t care for this guy’s demeanor or words and he kept on walking through the scorching desert towards the mountains Jon had told him about where he’d find Olorun and Koinonia.

Sid struggled along and when he felt tempted to turn around due to being both tired and hungry, magically he would come upon an oasis of sorts with water and berry bushes for food. This happened several times and encouraged him to keep going but not without sometimes getting on his knees at some critical, doubtful moments to reflect on Jon’s words and teachings in the form of prayers.  

Since Jon had told him it would take about forty days to reach Koinonia, he was heartened when he began climbing later in his journey and it became cooler. When he reached what was the highest peak, he looked down and saw fields that were completely enveloped in some form of ethereal light. In the middle of these fields was a swirling spiral of fire and wind moving in the form of what Sid felt were graceful dancing movements. And above all this, was the whitest dove he had ever seen who cried out “I gaze upon you with Love!”

Suddenly a gigantic mirror appeared close to the spiral of fire. Sid saw not only his own reflection on the mirror but, in the background, a mosaic-like stream of all the many faces of people he had met in his life and associated experiences. Jon was one of these as well and he waved back to Sid.

Sid was jolted by this and began to think about all that Jon had told him some of which was what he thought initially were riddles and it now became clear that he had reached Koinonia and Olorun. But more importantly over the course of the last forty days of struggling through the desert, encountering temptations to leave his journey, being approached by a strange, somewhat reprehensible being, and then finally climbing through the mountains, that his desired quest had concluded.

Yet somehow it was really just beginning since Sid now realized that this wasn’t merely about reaching a destination. In his surrendering along the way down the river with Jon and then continuing to be open and vulnerable over these last forty days to new experiences including being tested by temptations, he had discovered his own Truth and Purpose.

The mirror had captured all those he had encountered in his life and they were each enveloped within his own reflection. Thus, the Truth and Purpose of Sid’s true self were revealed through the power of the many authentic relationships he had experienced on his journey which have resulted in his moving towards a radical solidarity with those he had met on his path many of whom who had been tragically marginalized.

All this newly discovered insight unfolding before Sid was powerfully portrayed by the (Divine) mirror. It also became clear that the spirit of Metanoia (transformation) within Koinonia (Heaven) was made possible through the threesome of Olorun (God), Jon (Jesus), and Clete (the Holy Spirit) and their deep and enduring love for EACH of us!

Sid was overwhelmed and all he could say was “Wow” and then “Oh, My God!”

He suddenly awakened from his trance and saw the Wizard and Gov before him. The Wizard said that this was one of the most powerful stories he had ever heard and Gov told Sid that he should try and keep this epic story alive by writing a book. Sid smiled and said “I’ve heard this before so you never know”!

More to follow as my journey continues!


Inspirations and Attributions:

  • ‘Siddhartha’ (Hesse); “Sid” short for Siddhartha and “Gov” as Govinda; Ferryman/River
  • Sid represents me; Gov was a composite of several good friends
  • The Ferryman is Jesus (see ‘The Chosen’); the River represents the Journey of Life
  • ‘The Chosen’; Jonathan Roumie (portrayed, somewhat appropriately, as “Jon” (Jesus)
  • “Olorun”: a mythical Black Yoruban god
  • Clete is the Dove; Holy Spirit; derived from “Paraclete”, a synonym for the Holy Spirit
  • “Simeon”: leader of a world-wide church. I didn’t want to title it as “Pope” or Francis so I went to the “beginning” of the lineage with “Simon Peter”; but then also didn’t want it to be solely focused on the Catholic Church either, so therefore “Simeon”
  • My wife, friends, family, and many others: All part of the “Mirror Mosaic”
  • Koinonia: Heaven, Nirvana, Beloved Community
  • Metanoia: a change in one’s way of life resulting from penitence or spiritual conversion
  • Ignatian Spiritual Exercises; ‘The Ignatian Adventure’ (O’Brien); Eric Bessette
  • The Bible
  • Camino de Santiago: ancient Spanish pilgrimage
  • Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.; deceased Civil Rights icon and much more
  • Rev. Stephen Cady, former Senior Minister, Asbury First United Methodist Church
  • Fr. Richard Rohr; a Franciscan priest and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation

Share post:

Leave A Comment

Your email is safe with us.