Journey on the Edge

Journey on the Edge

Matthew 19:15-30

“We are born alone…….We live alone……..We die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the allusion we are not alone. Oscar Wilde

Pain breathes down our whole being, and breaks down our boundaries, all those lines we have drawn around us to protect us, and leaves up open to sheer vulnerability and death in so many ways. Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.,

Last Saturday I brought a friend to foot ball practice in San Rafael, and as I waited for him in a coffee shop, I observed the people, and the world of around me, a world of wealth, a world of cleanliness, quietness.  It felt as if I was on another planet. And in those moments there was a flash of light, which made me feel sad, and also brought many regrets.

Sadness because of the obvious separation from the poverty that surrounds our cities and our world, sadness in realizing it is impossible for people who do not cross those  boundaries to  grasped that world, sadness and regret for my part in working to help people to understand, and having them hurt, feeling guilty, and not recognizing there is only so far they can go.  I have hurt people without realizing that I was hurting them.   I have been an ass hole  in my expectations. I am really sincerely sorry.  It was an amazing awakening.

Secondly, in the last few weeks, I have had people turning away, and saying things through email, which I have been taking personally,  The reality is that my life has been shaped by the events of life, shaping my understanding, faith, and the way I live.  I look back and the events of impregnating a girl at 15,  my best friend  dying when I was in my early twenties in a violent car accident, the experience with the church over sexuality, the living on the streets–all have shaped me. We all want to live in our “tribes”. I do not fit period.  Robert Frost talks of a path that not many follow, which  is the path I have chosen. These past weeks, “Pain breathes down our whole being, and breaks down our boundaries, all those lines we have drawn around us to protect us, and leaves up open to sheer vulnerability and death in so many ways,”  In staring death in the face in so many ways there is so much fear, but  fear leaves in the presence of God, and that is where I find the hope, and not being alone. When I am asked “Why do you live the life you do?”, all I can say is that I am following my calling. I know I am not successful in the world’s terms, but what I do know is that I am successful, as Elizabeth Gilbert defines success: “You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”  I give my path all that I have and than some.

Yesterday we had our Interfaith Vigil Against Intolerance/Racism.  People shared about their fears and frustrations. For me we gave a witness and people had a chance to share, not feeling  alone. This to me is what ministry is about, working with people so they do not feel alone and can express their feelings, it is not about numbers.  The people present felt that they were listened to. It is about being dedicated to one’s path. Numbers, the praise of people, are not signs of success, it is being faithful to your path in which you find success. My path is listening, loving, caring, being present.

This past weekend I was on a camp out with three friends, and it was the most freeing time I have had in a long time, in fact I can not think of the last time I have felt so accepted, and cared for, because they simply accepted me as I am, as I do them. They took me for me. The only dynamic between us was friendship and having fun. I am grateful to Matt, Jacob, and Miles, for the weekend, far more than they will ever know.

People are always asking me when I am going to write a book, frankly, I am too damn lazy.  But what I am going to do  in the next few weeks is share stories of the young men and women I have walked  with through the years. I am going to be “Cooking with the Fallen One’s” on this blog. A well meaning friend, once asked me “Are you ever going to fix those kids?”  Well, like me, they are not “fixable” in the eyes of most people, like me, they are fuck ups, and like me it is by the saving grace of God that we are loved, and loved by a love, that will not let us  go, and accepts us for who we are. God in Christ expects nothing in return accept to love our neighbors to the best of our ability. To love them with out expectation, with out labels, without judgment, simply to love, accept and care. Christ meets us where we are–and in so doing we move towards him in love.

And so we have the choice of the way we live–the way of love–meeting people where they  are, working with each other where we meet or simply live in our tribes of religion and spirituality, sexual orientation, race, greed, wealth and poverty, and stay fragmented and alone. We are born, live and die alone, when we stay fragmented, but when we allow the Spirit of God to enter, to open us up to others without judgment, we are not alone, and we are embraced by God’s Spirit.

Again, I journey on the edge, I walk the edge, and that will not be changing, for as the years pass I move closer and closer to the edge, and in that walk I see God.  We all have our own journeys, but we can meet in the middle, and enjoy our journeys and find fellowship with one another. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

+Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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