Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

The First Yes, The Moment of Conversion


The publishing and public-speaking businesses are no different from other industries. No one wants to publish you until you get that first book, because Lord knows what you might write between the covers. No speaking agent is going to take a chance on you until you are represented by at least one other one. Because what if you totally blank on your material in front of 1,000 folks who have paid money to hear your motivational sound bites?

But then once your first book is out, editors relax and other publishers invite you to write for them. Once your mug shot appears on the website of one speaking bureau, it magically pops up on others too. The challenge is always getting that first book in print, of landing your first speakers bureau.


The same is true with the spiritual life.

Swedish diplomat and Christian mystic, Dag Hammarskjold, once wrote:

I don’t know Who – or what – put the question. I don’t know when it was put. I don’t even remember answering. But at some moment I did answer Yes to Someone – or Something – and from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life, in self-surrender, had a goal.

I have such a moment, and I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately, because a few weeks from today will mark the 20th anniversary of that afternoon.

I had just turned 18 and I was self-destructing with alcohol. Sometimes I would get drunk before school and slur my words and giggle inappropriately as I said morning prayer for the school over the intercom. I stumbled cross-eyed into the auditorium for various dances a few times too many. And I got thrown off the drill team for packing liquor into my suitcase at band camp.


Somewhere in the mess I was making of my life, God sent me a few angels, my high school religion teachers, to turn me around and hand me a map.

One teacher sat me down on the stairs at the main entrance to the school.

“What’s going on?” she asked me.

“Nothing,” I almost replied. Further confessions might mean more demerits. But there was something in the way she inquired that made me think our talk belonged in the “grace” category.

“This isn’t you,” she said. “You can be more.”

That ten-minute chat changed my life.

I decided, then and there, that I was going to venture out of my comfort zone (sober!). I wasn’t sure about all the details in the contract, but somewhere and somehow on those steps of my high school, I said Amen.


And, just as Hammarskjold so poetically said, my life from that moment on has had meaning.

It was the first of many yeses to come. It was the big one that mattered. Like the first book or the first speaking bureau. Not to say I didn’t go back on my word a million times from that point on, especially in my suicidal 18 months when I pleaded with God to take my life. Not to say that life’s been peachy ever since.

But it was the most important one, the moment of conversion that will forever guide the yeses to come.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Margaret

    I’m Thankful you had that Moment. You are a Blessing to all of us.

Previous Posts

Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild ...

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate ...

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from ...

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a ...

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer ...

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.