Welcome back to Confessions from Crickets! Whether you’re following up after the first blog post or finding my page fresh (if that’s you, read my introduction here), I want to sincerely thank you for joining me!
We covered a lot last time about what the goal of this blog is, why I made it, and why I hope you’ll engage with me in this dialogue, but I didn’t really get to tell you anything about myself (blame my editor. 20,000 words is too long for a blog post? Pssh).
Anyway, I thought that there was really no better place to start than at the beginning. Not the “I was born at a very young age” beginning though–no, at Confessions, we’re all about new beginnings…
Let’s talk about a guy called Jesus.
Our story begins in a Hindu household in Sri Lanka, a household that, though it saw Jesus as one of many gods, did not know Him in truth. My family and I moved from Sri Lanka to Toronto in September 2003, so about 15 years ago now. I can’t exactly remember the flight, what with my being 6 at the time, but I do know that if felt like an eternity (as 17+ hour flights are wont to do). My dad had already been living in Canada for two or three years, and had just enough money to bring us over, which left my mother to drag myself and my three siblings across the Atlantic without even a lick of English.
We came from everything. In Sri Lanka, we had owned farms, swathes of land, and several of animals. When we came to Canada, however, we lost everything we had. We lived in our cousin’s basement before becoming able rent an apartment and eventually buying a condo from a family member. Looking back, this instability is probably one of the things that led to my long running fixation on money (but more on that later).
I had of course encountered Jesus growing up, but it wasn’t until I attended a camping trip with a Christian organization called Youth Unlimited that I really felt Him tugging at me to turn away from Hinduism. It was on that trip that I first asked Jesus to show me that He was the one and only true God. A few months later, God answered my prayer by changing my heart.
For example, I used to be obsessed with money (told ya it’d come back!) and made it the most important thing in my life. That all changed as I was walking home one day.
A stranger on the street asked me for the time, and after I pulled out my iPod and told him, he began to follow me. Before I could do anything, he pulled out a knife and told me to give him all my stuff or he would stab me to death. By my continued existence, evidenced by this blog, you can guess what I did.
Even though I lost a lot of money to him and was very angry, this was the turning point for my faith. In a situation when I had all right to be overwhelmed by fear, regret, and hatred, God showed me who Jesus was by giving me peace. In the grand scheme of things, God reminded me, money really isn’t important. Instead, I was encouraged by His words in John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the light.” Now I put God before anything else.
A couple of months later at a DOXA Gathering (DOXA being a branch of Youth Unlimited), I shared this experience of peace with Alain Virgin and Calvin Russell– 2 DOXA staff– and told them that I wanted to make Jesus my God. With their help, I prayed, saying “Jesus I just want you to accept me,” with the understanding that He is always waiting with open arms. It felt like I was being reborn into this world.
For the next few years, Jesus kept me in touch with DOXA staff who helped me to learn and follow. On May 1st, 2016 I was baptized at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church; it felt like an adoption (again, more on this at a later date).
Before Christ I was like a caterpillar: limited to only what I can do (which is not a lot), and unaware of what was really out there and who God really was. Once I accepted Christ into my world, I felt like a butterfly, finally free from all the things that had held me down and penned me in. I was free because Jesus died on the cross and forgave all my sins.
See; my insect references are not limited to crickets.
I been thinking a lot lately about how I live out my faith, especially in front of my family. Despite my conversion almost two years ago, my parents still do not know I am a Christian, but I think that this will be the year that I tell them. It’s a big risk, and potentially an even bigger sacrifice, as there is really know way to know how they will react. I am afraid that they will shun me–that I will essentially lose my family. I’m afraid that they may try to stop me. I’m afraid that they’ll think I’ve failed them. I’m afraid that I’ll see my mother cry because of something I have done. Still, in spite of all of this fear, in the long run I know it’s worth it. We were not given a spirit of fear, but of life.
I have a lot of feelings involving opening up and telling my parents, but I have learned to focus more on the positive–the possibilities–and less on the negative. I just need to put trust in God and let him guide me through. As hard as this is to do sometimes, God has done so many amazing things in my life, and if nothing else, this would be one way of showing Him that I love Him, and that I want to trust Him with everything. I can never repay, even in the slightest, the grace He has shown, but if I can tell those I love about it, at least I’ve done something, no matter the outcome.
Before I wrap up, I want to offer a quick piece of advice. Thank your parents. Really thank them for what they have done, even if they’re not the best parents (God knows too many aren’t). Regardless of how well they have done, our parents do provide a lot for us, and one way or another, they’ve influenced who we are today. Christ encourages us to look with eyes of compassion and gratitude; we need to recognize that our parents are human, just as flawed as us, but also be genuinely thankful for the sacrifices they have made for our benefit. You never know what strength a little gratitude can bring.
Thanks again for listening! Talk to you in the next one and remember to always stay grateful.