This is fiction, inspired by my Father and based on both his and my Mother’s accounts of his decision to answer the call to ministry, instead going to law school.  

He buried his hands into the decomposing leaves and tried to raise himself up. How long had he been there? His knees were sunken into the soft earth; the air was cooler now.  Instead of the sun beating down on his head, he felt the shadows of the trees on his back. It must be dinner time, he thought. Today he would end his fast. It was time. His mother was concerned for him. She didn’t understand; she just wanted him to eat.

He tried to lift himself, again. He was weak. He realized he had not brought a canteen with him—it was definitely time to go.

Yet, he didn’t want to leave this place. He didn’t want to open his eyes. He just wanted to rest in this divine peace as long as possible. Here in these woods he was alone with God, alone in His presence. It was a great luxury he didn’t want to squander.

However, there was work to be done, and he was already beginning to get a vision of what God had in store. His spirit was suddenly filled with an indescribable joy, and before his legs could protest, he was on his feet. He was excited—but not quite stable. He stumbled as he took his first step and steadied himself against a tree. Oh, how his former sparring partners would mock him, if they could see him now. “When I am weak, He is strong,” he laughed. “Amen!” 

Ignacio dusted off his pant legs, and ignored the damp stains on the knees—he had long ago learned how to take those out. One could not stand in the pulpit with dirty knees.

He reached down for his Bible and began the walk back to campus, so grateful and so eager. He could tell his load was lighter now, and he began to walk faster; his gait growing stronger with each step. Buried in those woods was everything he’d imagined his life would be—every ambition, every worldly aspiration, and every dream—and he was leaving it all behind. He was free now, to do what God had called him to do. He knew it wasn’t going to be easy—his mother was not going to take the news well. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother…he cannot be My disciple.” Christ’s words filled his thoughts. God knows I don’t hate them, but I cannot forsake You for them. 

A flash of the setting sun hit him in the face as he reached the edge of the woods, and his hand quickly shielded his eyes. He stood there for a moment, just enjoying the glorious view and fresh air. His future was before him, and it was bright.

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