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View of the Ganges river and Varanasi at sunrise. India

Embracing the Unknown: Traveling Towards the Divine

By Fernando Torres, Activate Coordinator – Trinity College. 

Jonah’s journey is also my journey. No, I wasn’t called to travel and preach in Nineveh, nor did I arrive in Australia in the belly of a fish – it would have been way cheaper, though! …but the more I “read my own life”, the more I realise that the stories in the Bible are all about our human condition, and God’s inaugurating, sustaining, and renewing love. In that sense, my name is also Jonah. And I, too, have been fleeing from “Nineveh”…

By sailing away from Nineveh, Jonah was running away from his calling, God, and the people he was commissioned to preach to. But above all, he was running away from himself. Imprisoned to his fears, prejudices, and unnamed emotions, he seemed to believe that the further away from Nineveh, the more accessible he would be from his inner challenges. But, ironically, the further he ran, the closer he got to his issues. Could it be that in running away from God, we are not at the same time trying to run away from finding ourselves?

When I honestly look back at my life journey so far, living the incredible experience of having lived on three different continents, I feel confident that my journey resembles Jonah’s. Yes, I naively believed that I could avoid the deep questions in my heart by going far away. But as a perceptive Brazilian poet once said: “I tried to run away from myself, but where I was going, I was”. Thank God I was absolutely wrong. Against my false self and in favour of my true self, Divine Grace sent some big fish so that I could experience the “belly process” and thus be brought back to reality.

We live in a world that, in general, is shamelessly illiterate in the grammar of emotions and feelings. Jonas was still able to name some of his issues, but I have profound difficulty identifying, naming, confessing, and letting the wisdom of my body process my inner world. However, even when we are adrift at sea, we have the illusion that we are making conscious choices. I’ve been learning the hard way that the less I see my inner issues, the more I am hostage to them. After all, what is not confessed cannot be healed.

Further, like Jonah, I tend to believe that I am in control of my own life and that being autonomous and free means choosing every street, road, and destination on my journey. However, I hope I am starting to leave this provisional truth behind to accept a greater one: that the best way to live is to say to God: here am I, send me. More than controlling the helm, I find true freedom in letting the Winds of Mystery blow over my sails.

Reading Jonas’s story and my own, I also have begun to grasp that the path to freedom rhymes with obedience, as counterintuitive as that sounds. Jonah’s struggle with the divine order to go to Nineveh created a path for him not only to see, confess and process his feelings and emotions but also to review his truths and face the possibility of conversion. Yes, obedience is a journey of humanisation.


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