In my last Installment, I shared three interactive prayers, the last occurring on May 27, 2013. What becomes difficult is describing the events that played out in the days that followed that prayer. Remember I have stated elsewhere that “My Story” is partially about learning to have faith in God and God’s leading.
Learning to have faith in God and God’s leading has not been an easy thing for me. As I conveyed in my previous Installment, my faith in God primarily came from my own ability to use my mind to study the Bible and my own ability to articulate and defend “faith”. After I stepped out of ministry, my pursuit of God changed, in me resided a need that surpassed whatever it was that had brought me that far in my belief in God.
So one of the things that happened in the early part of 2013, but no later than April of that same year, is that prayers had led me to understand that I was to let my hair grow in length. Now, that might not be a big thing for some, but for me it kind of is.
Candidly, I like long hair, and I think both men and women look good having long hair. Personally, I have had longer hair and but then returned to short hair. Why? Because I feel that my hair line is anything but attractive, that is why I have taken to wearing a beanie or skullcap with my longer hair.
But when my prayer life led me to let my hair grow, I did let it grow. The growth process is visible in the Video Series that I did during that time period, and reveals that my hair became quite unshorn.
What I learned during that process, and as quaint as it might sound, is that my hair became a visual reminder to me of listening to God. This will become apparent.
After the interactive prayer of May 27, 2013 (see previous Installment), I began pondering. So I made a note to myself saying: “I was told to search out my heart, not for work, but for who I am.”
I went to work. I drove my routes. I began my mid-day duties. I wrestled with this decision.
Intriguingly, Mary’s morning meditations, on that very day, led her to the following:
– The end is at hand.
– The ‘ground swallowed them up’ comment
– Apple, orange. Two parts required.
– Ray didn’t want to include his covenant for [a woman]. Not yet.
Mary prayed asking if there was something that would encourage me, and was led to “At his work.”
Back then, even though I had spoken about marriage and multiple wives, and having been able to support it Biblically, and even having interacted with a couple of women, in many ways, I didn’t want to find my heart. Because I felt that if finding my heart meant becoming a husband with two wives, then I’d rather be dead.
That might not make a lot of sense to my reader. But that is how I felt. I feel like I cannot even begin to adequately express my inner turmoil. Even though I had been studying the Bible and praying, I viewed a second wife as a betrayal to Mary, to myself, to my family. And I sure wasn’t desirous of the chastisement of the church and culture.
Well, I didn’t die, and I no longer feel like that. But to get from there to here was a long process of accepting myself and coming to accept that Mary loves me and her love has not failed.
But back then on that day on May 28, 2013, I don’t know what it was that led me to my decision, but it most likely was primarily my resolute mindset, that of being completely unwilling to accept that my heart desired two wives. So I became stalwart, an age old characteristic of being immovable and usually attributed as a positive quality because of one’s resolute nature.
In my journal, I recorded my experience that became an interactive prayer. In my journal I wrote: “I was looking into the bathroom mirror during bus wash duty, [and] I thought about my hair.”
My spirit heard:
You can cut your hair.
I prayerfully replied, “Good.” Then my spirit heard:
This is the last time I speak with you until you repent.
For other people, when the Divine corrects you and tells you to repent, they probably would. Not me. Not in that situation. I recorded in my journal that during my interactive prayer, I flippantly said “I guess that’s the way it goes.”
If memory serves, I was pleased about the ability to get my hair cut, as sad as that may sound. Perhaps, it was because I felt that the hair growth was not my choice, or I just wanted to return to whom I felt I looked like. In either event, I didn’t cut my hair. I was so taken by the events of those few days that I was too enmeshed in that spiritual turmoil to even bother with cutting my hair.
But you see, there is a consequence to one’s decisions. My journal records the following: I remember [what I would describe as] a holy presence, turning, I saw its back and it walked away.
Those are the things that I have difficulty discussing. Those are spiritual moments. Moments that go beyond words. Moments like that are akin to hearing something and that hearing leads us to do something, for that analogy the specifics matter little, because almost all of us have experienced a moment that is difficult to explain. We simply have the experience.
But, it was real, spiritually real. I spiritually observed and felt the holy presence leave. After weeks of interactive prayer and experiencing a more dynamic spiritual and prayerful life, I was alone. No presence of goodness. No presence of darkness. I was alone. Me in this world. My thoughts. My existence.
After that prayerful mirror interaction, the remainder of the day began to unfold. I began searching, looking. I even asked myself all kinds of questions like:
– Where is my heart?
– Politics? Money? Wealth?
– Home? Car? Boat? RV? Possessions?
– Health? Physically fit?
– Research? True Truth?
– God? Holy Spirit? Hearing Him? Promises?
– Wives? Family? Children?
By asking myself those questions, I was able to bounce those questions/answers off a dream that I had months before and that I entitled “Goofy Gold” (see Installments 15, 23). Through the process of asking questions and finding answers, I narrowed it down to the dream.
The dream helped me see that there really were only two broad questions. One: will I serve God? Two: will I serve the world (or myself)?
It really is that easy, because there are really only two questions.
But it is also really difficult, because to choose the one is to not choose the other.
That morning, during her mediations and prayers, Mary inquired “What happens if Ray doesn’t [find his heart]?” She shared the following with me. “I want you high, and so far to fall.” That might be unknown to my reader, but it struck a song chord with me, which I considered on the next day, and will be discussed momentarily.
I recorded in my journal the following: I continued to drive that day, even tried [prayerfully] conversing with God about [what to do about work], no answer, then I remembered what he said. While driving the bus, I saw a bumper sticker for a church having the slogan, ‘The Power of Love’.
That’s what I recorded. I did actually recall some thoughts from an earlier prayer and the slogan vividly caught my attention.
After experiencing several weeks of having interactive prayerful moments, the loss of interactive prayer made me aware of just how much I had participated and relied on those moments. After that event at the mirror, the interactive prayer was gone.
I took that day and wrestled with myself about my heart, and I became very decisive in my decision. I recorded in my journal the place I had arrived: However, I did find my heart, my heart was not to have two wives. I went home, felt [like] myself, actually was like, ‘Wow. So this is Ray? I haven’t seen this guy in a while.’ We watched ‘Bill Cosby: Himself’ Cosby’s stand-up (sit-down actually) routine from about 1983 with my family. We all laughed. Went to bed feeling okay.”
That is what I recorded in my journal. My decision was decisive. As I look back it was calloused, but I was being calloused on purpose, because I did not want it to be true that my heart wanted two wives.
That night and the next day, I spoke with several confidants about my situation. But I had determined that unless something happened, I was not going to change my mind, I was not going to repent.
The next morning arrived, and I went to work. During the day, I had the line “I want you high, and so far to fall.” come back to my mind. I spent some time reading the lyrics of the song that it reminded me of.
The song talks about rising and in that rise a far fall can take place. The song conveys the rise of an idea, but the idea falls short, yet no one wants the idea to die, so time is borrowed against it, but the idea was not achieved, and the idea failed in disgrace because the outlook was lost. In that, the dream fell, suffered, died and brings destruction on a very personal level. But the song provides a hopeful outlook. In the fallout of the dream’s failure, a new horizon is provided, and there is a solution, but the solution is not from this earth.
My meditation on that song sat with me for a while. I am not sure how long, but it was, at least, several hours. And it must have affected me on some level that I still can’t quite express.
My journal reveals that later that morning something occurred during my bus washing duties. I wrote: I remember going to the bathroom, and while washing my hands, [my spirit] heard, ‘You can keep your hair.’ I began sobbing. I [prayerfully] asked, ‘Have I repented?’ [Spiritually,] I felt a left-hand touch me on my back and I was called, ‘Son.’ I just continued sobbing. After a while [my spirit] heard, ‘Clean yourself up, you have to get back to work.” I washed up and went back to [work].’
That was an extraordinary moment. Considering the events of the previous day, the event that left me sobbing helped. I felt better. But before things would become any better, emotionally and spiritually they would become worse.
Back then, I took the time and spoke with a personal confidant. In telling that person my decision, I was quite emphatic. Looking back at my notes, it seems dreadful. My confidant listened to me, conversed with me, and even prayed for me to the point of praying for answers and clarity as to whether or not I was to actually have a second wife.
To put it mildly, to several people and God I had given my word. I had believed that God had led me to understand the concept of multiple wives, for me specifically two. I had articulated the Biblical nature of it. In looking back, I had given my word to God that if that was the direction God intended for my life, I would take it.
Remember, days earlier, I was encouraged to find my heart. But, I did not really want to find my heart, because I feared that my heart would actually want two wives. Someone close to me described me as “doubling down on not wanting” to have two wives. They were considerate about the situation and mindful about me and included me in theirs prayers. This is why what happens the next day is of interest to me.
My journal notes from May 30, 2013 say: [I] awoke with concern for my life. Wondering if I would actually live through the day, even told Mary to hug the kids for me and tell them I love them if I did not make it back.
I cannot express how profound that moment was. It was an oppressive feeling. Not despair, but like a resolution that unless things changed, my family’s life could unfold in a profoundly different way. So I went into the day not knowing what would happen, but also reflective about what I was feeling and experiencing.
My journal expresses: Somewhere during the day, it occurred to me that this was a trial mentioned in [a person’s] Journal. I knew I was on my own. … So I asked Mary to send me some [of our notations].
With that awareness in my mind, I wrote in my journal the following: I spent the morning reflecting, even during my mourning route, and during most of my bus wash duties. I realized that I had and have a heart to do God’s will. I hoped that was enough to make it.
But as I look at my notes, I wasn’t sure if that would be enough. It seems that I might have doubted that it was enough, which is why the next information becomes relevant.
Early during that day, my journal records that Mary suggested that I should pray asking God to circumcise my heart. My journal continues the notes expressing that while I was doing bus wash duties that I asked God to do that very thing.
During those days, just as she does routinely, Mary spent time in the mornings praying and meditating. She was led to concepts like:
– Your call – first of the month.
– I heard Ray apologizing.
– Something about Ray having to make a decision.
In a word, I felt like crap. I felt not lost, but tumulted. I felt inner turmoil, and was praying for a solution. All of these things, my prayers, my conversations with confidants, my conversations with Mary, my reflections, all led me to think that I should apologize to the lady that I had corresponded with.
On May 31, I wrote an email, and tried to send it.
On June 1, I woke up found the email failed to send, so I did a resend. My journal says that during that day “I was looking into the house’s bathroom mirror, getting ready to shave” and my spirit heard
Do your Torah study. It’s over, done. You have received what you wanted.
I spent time in interactive prayer asking if the apology was correct, I was told:
You were not ready.
To trust me.
In my tumult, I lost. I lost my way. I lost my sight. I lost my stability. And I lost something that was given to me.
Back in Installment 44, I wrote about something that Mary had received during her meditations and prayers. In that Installment, I wrote: On February 10, 2013, the same day as my prayer, Mary shared with me the following: “God showed me [Mary] him giving Ray a second heart. I could see that it was empty and ready for her. I felt it.”
My journal from June 01, 2013 says: I went searching for the heart he gave me…. I really couldn’t sense it, and I had felt it for months. I felt more empty, less than what I was suppose to feel, but ok, I suppose. It’s all rather weird. So I told [the heart] goodbye, and asked God to bless [the heart for whomever it belonged]. Somewhere in there, I believe I was told that [the heart] was given to another.
That was distressing information. I did the best I could do under the circumstance and put some kind of blessing to the moment. But my heart really sunk when I learned that the heart I was given was given to another.
My journal entry continues: I talked [in prayer] with God about needing time to adjust because I spent a year learning how to live with this, how was I supposed to adjust in a day.
To my thoughts, the Divine gave this response:
You don’t. You simply know what’s missing.”
Shortly thereafter, I posted the following to Facebook:
Today has been a hard day. I make this post after prayerful permission from God. God used the song “Foreclosure of a Dream” to get my attention, prompting me to act. Yet, today, I learn a hard lesson best demonstrated through SW: The Empire Strikes Back. Luke to Yoda, “I don’t believe it.” Yoda to Luke, “That is why you fail.” Like Luke in SW: TESB, I acted but acted with unbelief and my x-wing went down. It is said that failure is the greatest teacher, yet even though failure can be a tremendous teacher, there are times that it seems impossible to get back to where you once where, leaving only the lesson – “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” Sometimes life, belief, and reality are a bitch. Yet, God still helped [me] to understand today, to remain calm that he would protect and guide me.
Distressed I was. And I didn’t know what would develop.
Blessings and Shalom