Friday, February 02, 2007

Another contemplative morning

2/2/07 Friday
Now here’s a picture of the morning. As I often do it focuses on our lone pecan tree. Eventually I will be able to put together a sort of anthology showing the tree as it goes through the seasons of the year. It’s the sole survivor of what had been my grandmother’s orchard. This tree’s hardiness and stubborn survival in an environment that destroyed all of those around it I can relate to. In my mind it stands as a symbol, a testament if you will, of those who overcome, who triumph over that which destroys others. That I can relate too as I stand daily amazed that I not only still live but have a life. I am a walking miracle in so many ways.

And here is a paradox about that. I am a former preacher who dedicated my life to God but now I wonder if there is a God and if so I question. Where is He? Why does he hide himself in these treacherous times? So many questions yet my life is one full of blessings that seem to come together in an orchestrated manner. Am I just blind? My daily prayer is for God to show himself, to let me know he exists. And if there is a God I find most of the examples of Christianity today to be deplorable to put it nicely. What I’ve seen and experienced from the established “church” in no way resembles what the Bible says. There are notable exceptions to that. The church we attend here in Stanton has thus far been great. The problems we have had mostly came from those in leadership and the finest examples of Christianity were represented by individuals who seem to stand out as they live what they believe.

One of the most notable of these is a wonderful woman who’s name you see appearing in this blog on occasion. Amy has never seen us and only became acquainted with us through the blog. That she found from a forum I participate in on the Homesteader website. Y’all ought to check that out. There is a fantastic world wide family of homesteaders, people who have in many cases run from modern society to a simpler life revolving around a self sustaining farm life. Many of them hold mainstream jobs and some grew up in this lifestyle. All of them are remarkable.

I digress. Amy has blessed us in so many ways. We asked nothing of her or for that matter of anyone else though, when asked we did tell our pastor of some of our needs. Amy said she did not know why she was drawn to us though it might because her father had sustained a traumatic brain injury but she felt led to do some things. Right now we are keeping warm with a woodstove she bought for us. Now I suspect that Amy would not be comfortable with me telling of her generosity for I am sure she does not do these kind of things for public recognition, which incidentally is the biblical way of doing these things. “When you give let not your right hand know what the left is doing” I think is what it says. Those who made a public show of their “generosity” are the ones Jesus called hypocrites.

So what is the paradox? I have all these doubts but from a Christian perspective or a Christian interpretation of the events in both mine and Cherie’s lives ours is a powerful story. One of the love, grace, and redemption of God. We meet in Bible college where I was studying for the ministry and go off to save the world deeply in love. There is the accident when I broke my back, neck, and sustained a brain injury resulting in a drastic personality change. With that came a flurry of “Christian” conflict as sides were chosen on a divorce with church types on both fronts touting their views. We never should have been divorced but were. “Therefore, what God has joined together let no man tear asunder” would be the Bible verse that comes up here.

My second wife, who was married when she started messing around with my heartbroken self, had a dream just before our marriage where God said that if she married me it would destroy me. That pretty much is what happened. I ended up rejecting the church and returned to a life of drugs, drinking, and crime. Sure I became a successful businessman, building two companies, but I destroyed that life. On my way to Texas, running from a receiving stolen goods conviction, I fall asleep at the wheel, I die, and I’m brought back to a new life. With the memory loss I literally had a clean slate mentally speaking though much of the past was still present in my memory. The parallels to Christian theology are remarkable. When I woke from the coma I was very much like a baby, having to be spoon fed when I could finally take solid food, and having my diapers changed. They had to teach me how to talk and walk. I suppose you could say I was “born again”.

And it gets better. Now begins a slow process of restoration. Another Biblical parallel to this story would be Nebuchadnezzar. Here you have the king of Babylon who’s pride brings the judgment of God. He loses his mind and spends something like seven years wandering in the wilderness, eating bugs and stuff. Then his mind is restored and with that his kingdom. Just like Nebuchadnezzar I wandered lost. Didn’t eat bugs or nothing but sure had a hard time even holding a conversation and was sleeping wherever I could find, be it a homeless shelter or in a vacant lot behind some building. As my brain rewired itself neuronal pathways began to be reconnected and my mind was being restored. Then, after almost twenty years Cherie sees me on TV and our marriage is also restored. “That which the canker worm devoured will be restored” (I think that is in Ezekiel somewhere) Something that was wrong has been made right.

It can go on and on. If I hadn’t had the wreck I would probably be dead anyway from the drugs and all that life brings so even that was a merciful thing to have happen. Kind of like God hit me with a two by four to get my attention. So why am I getting into all this? That’s the paradox. I could package this whole story in Christian wrapping paper and it would be a powerful thing that could have a positive effect on those who hear it. It does anyway but this is the matter of ethics. I know I could go on a speaking tour, traveling the country in the various Christian networks, writing books, become popular, and make some bucks, but I won’t. I won’t be a hypocrite because I have these doubts. There are plenty out there who won’t hesitate to take advantage of something like this. As one of the Christian scam artists I met as I wandered in Toledo said “There’s good money in the God business”. His is another story I’ll be telling. A real piece of work. If my doubts are resolved that’s another thing but I won’t profit from telling my story from a Christian perspective. To share the grace and love of God is something that should be a gift, not something that comes with a price. To share our story with the world from another perspective is much different. I just don’t believe in selling Jesus. That’s one of the things I see on TV that grates.

Enough ranting. It is people like Amy who will restore my faith. Part of me hesitates to be this honest about my doubts for fear of the judgment of those in the church. I will go and gladly contribute in Sunday school and can do so in a way that will edify those who hear. I will not spread my doubts and questions for they can be detrimental and I believe in building up, not tearing down, but I will not take any position of leadership while these questions remain.

Cherie has gone into Midland to take care of shopping, some of which is made possible by the gifts Amy got for us. I’m going to Lowes in a bit to return the worthless chainsaw file and pick up an axe. I also want to visit a lumber yard on Industrial Ave. to check out some wood for Cherie’s sewing table but mostly for the sign I will carve for Amy. I so much look forward to doing that for her. She will come and visit us next weekend.

Time to get moving. My back is killing me and I woke up with a headache but, as you can tell by my overabundance of writing, my brain is working quite well.

It’s 8:00 PM now. Was a painful day all day long. I went to Lowes and boy did I miss that handicap placard. The walk across the parking lot was something else. I didn’t realize how bad it must have looked till, while at the counter returning the crappy file, I heard a man next to me say to his young son “Get off that bench. There’s some people who have a hard time walking and need to sit down”. OK… I got my refund and went to get a cart to buy the things on my list and to hold onto. Just as I was pulling one out my phone rang. I knew it was Cherie by the ring. “I’m so glad you answered” I heard her somewhat frantic voice say. Come to find out she had locked her keys in the car. She asked me where I was and when I told her Lowes she was relieved. “That’s not to far from where I am” she let me know. Understand that for Cherie there is a fear anytime anything goes wrong. That fear is that she will get yelled at or “be in trouble”. That came with the package and I do my best to build up her confidence in my limited way. I was more than happy to go rescue her, makes me feel like the white knight in shining armor.

She was at the Bed Bath and Beyond store which is only about a mile away so I got there pretty quick. Once she got the car unlocked and recovered her keys I asked if she was hungry. She was and I had forgotten to get lunch like I was supposed to so we went to Rosa’s for some Mexican. Love that place and if I could I’d open up the franchise in Toledo. We had a nice dinner and I returned to Lowes and Cherie returned to her shopping mission. Lowes was out of fireplace tools so had no luck there. I got a splitting maul instead of an axe as splitting wood is what I really wanted the axe for and it also doubles as a sledge hammer. On top of being cheaper than the axes I figured it to be the wiser of choices. I looked at their fire extinguishers but got frustrated so didn’t buy any. By this time I was having a hard time processing information so between that and the pain level decided to call it a day and after paying for the file and splitting maul headed home. Oh yeah, I also got some high heat mortar for the woodstove.

I stopped at the post office and got our mail. There was an overdraft notice from the bank. Cut it a little close this time. End of the month is always tough. I have a killer headache now on top of the back pain. I may hurt but the brain is working so I am happy. There was one of those full moons out that are killer. You know, the kind where the moon is still close to the horizon so looks as big as a basketball or something. I tried to take pictures of it but this digital camera is not really up to the task. One of these days I’ll get a camera that will allow me to capture these moments better. I good zoom lens would be sweet.

I remembered to take my meds this time. Missed taking them at the end of the last two days. I think I’ll go online and post this as well as see if my last entry generated a response. Other than that I’m just going to lay in bed with no lights or TV so the migraine is less noticeable.


Amy E said...

Hi Bob and Cherie it's Amy...just figured out how to make a comment here...see you have the stove up and running, great to see...the kids and I were tickled to see it! Great post, I love reading your blog....see you soon!


Bob said...

Thanks Amy, I get lost on this computer stuff too. Glad to see you get the kids involved in things like this. Great examples for them to draw upon in the years to come. By the way, Cherie wants to know what kind of food you like. Drop us an E mail.