Crossing the line of different

William 2

“…we have no idea what will land on the shoreline of morning tomorrow,”

according to John O’Donohue in an interview with Krista Tippett for “On Being.”

There is a line right there in front of us.

On the other side is a different life.

Every day we stand on that threshold.

Our life is waiting to see if we will step across.

Crossing the line of different will be

frightening, exciting, disturbing, tumultuous,

a radical adventure awaiting the first awakened step.

Every day the thresholds beckon on all sides:

a change of heart,

a true metanoia,

perhaps the next metamorphosis,

staying comfortable in the known way, or

crossing the line of different.

Everything depends,

Everything depends on that next step.

Jesus crossed the line of different with flare.

More than that, he got baptized in different.

He just couldn’t stay stuck in the political and religious status quo.

Like a true prophet he dove across that line.

And wasn’t he overjoyed to hear in his ears, “You are My beloved.”

Right now he stands on the other side of that line

going, “Follow me!”

Jesus is literally, powerfully, from experience saying,

“Come here. Come across the line after me.

Come get dunked in the holy water.

Come be transformed with me.

Don’t just carefully put a toe across.

Come all the way over;

Because crossing the line of different,

baptizing the heart,

this ain’t no dainty Methodist sprinkling of water.

This is ‘All In!’”

The word “repenting” has taken a bad rap among us.

We liberal followers of Christ

got so tired of hearing the same sermon every week

about how sinful we are and how much we need to repent

over and over and over.

We lost track of how essential repenting is,

this turning from the old path and stepping onto the new.

And no wonder.

It’s hard to cross that line of baptizing the heart,

going under the water uncomfortably long,

and finally even learning to breathe under water.

But that is the Way of Christ, the willingness to turn around and cross over.

And he is still calling us across that line of transformation

today, here, right now.

Our brother Rumi says it like this:

“…Tear down this house.

A hundred thousand new houses can be built

from the transparent yellow gold buried beneath it,

and the only way to get to that is to do the work of demolishing

and then digging under the foundations. With that value in hand

all the new construction will be done without effort…

Quick! Take the pickaxe and pry the foundation…

Rip up one board from the shop floor and look into the basement.

You’ll see two glints in the dirt.”

So pick your favorite metaphor:

Baptize the heart, and learn to breathe under water;

Tear down the house, and find the buried gold underneath;

Or write your own metaphor about embracing divine change.

But don’t just say the words:

Live it – be it – do it,

until you no longer recognize your own face

because you keep joining Jesus in repenting,

turning, living that New Life you are being called to,

crossing the line of different.

For more thoughts like this see Monks in the World: Seeking God in a Frantic Culture.


About soulcare4u

I am the author of Monks in the World: Seeking God in a Frantic World, published by Wipf & Stock and available through; and of a blog on, "A Contemplative Path." I serve as the founding spiritual director of The School for Contemplative Living (, adjunct faculty of Loyola University, and as a pastoral counselor and spiritual director in private practice.
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