Through “My Story” I have shared various spiritual moments I have experienced in my walk of faith. So at this point, it has become a regular event for the Divine to lead me and interact with me through prayer. So I want to share a moment that happened back on July 28, 2013.
Here is how my journal entry began:
Okay, so [my daughter] had to work today from 11.00am to 4.00pm, after some discussion I took her to work. Unknowingly, I left the house without my phone, but I did not know this until after I began my drive after dropping off [my daughter] at work. We left the house about 10.50am.
I have no idea what our discussion was but it says that I was driving her to work. It is my intended habit to always take my phone, but that doesn’t mean that on occasion I don’t forget my phone. On that day I did.
After dropping my daughter at work, I knew I didn’t have my phone. When I have left the parking lot of that business I drive to a side street that has a stop sign at the highway. When I arrive at the stop sign, I make a left, traffic permitting. But not on that day, for some reason, one that I could not fully explain, I made a right, and drove, and drove.
My thoughts did turn to the fact that I couldn’t inform Mary, but I kept driving. It was like there was a purpose for it, but articulating that purpose was, and remains, difficult. There was just a sense of need to go, and I had no idea where I would find myself.
In my journal, I wrote:
So, I found myself heading toward Boerne, then on IH10 West, got almost to Kerrville. The radio stations faded, I turned off the radio, drove past Kerrville, and a few miles later I heard, “Stop.” So, I [prayerfully] inquired and I pulled into a picnic area west of Kerrville on IH10 West.
The picnic area sits on top of a plateau overlooking the West Texas Hill Country. Beautiful place where I could look South of IH10 and see the rolling hills of the Texas country.
I arrived at this picnic area about 11.45am, left the car running, and stepped out of the vehicle, left the window down, about the width of my arm, just in case.
I wrote the following interactive prayer into my journal, but I format it to retain the formatting that I have been using in telling “My Story”.
While standing and stretching behind the [car], I asked: Why am I here? The Divine responded:
Look out there. What do you see?
I answered by saying: Hills. Valleys. The Divine asked:
What do you see?
I answered: Trees. Some greener than others. The Divine asked me the same question again:
What do you see?
To the repeat of that question, I answered: Clouds. Haze. Shadows. However, the Divine again asked:
What do you see?
It was the third time, but I gave a somewhat different answer: Man making a place for himself. The Divine again responded by asking:
“What do you see?”
This time I responded with: I don’t know. But I wasn’t willing to leave it there, I asked the Divine: What am I supposed to see? The Divine answered:
This is not your home.
That was a tough moment. You see, I have considered Texas my home before I even moved to the state. Way back when my father retired from the military, he asked the family about moving to Texas. I don’t remember my exact answer to him. I just know that I gave him an emphatic affirmative. I definitely wanted to live in Texas.
In talking with the Heavenly Father, I was not, in any way, prepared for what I had been told about my home. My heart had been in Texas, even when I lived outside of the state. My heart was at home in Texas. So in interactive prayer, I replied: “Home is where the heart is.”
I was expressing to the Divine my heart, my heart was in Texas. I was most happy in Texas. Texas, sweet Texas, where the stars at night are big and bright. I have never experienced a physical location being home except for Texas.
So telling me Texas was not my home was rough. That is why I conveyed that my heart was in Texas. But that didn’t prevent the Divine from delivering what came next. To my heart-felt statement, the Divine replied saying:
Your heart is in China.
What?! Like I said, my heart was in Texas. That is why I replied saying: My heart is in Texas.
What was the Divine’s response?
A very direct:
Followed by the statement:
Your heart is in China.
What was my reaction?
Tears flowed from my eyes like I was a weeping child, who just lost their favorite item.
What was the Divine’s response to my personal emotional plight?
Get back in the car. Let’s go home.
In my journal I wrote that it was 12.03pm when I looked at the clock. At that point, I had been out and away, uncommunicative about things, for more than an hour. A task that should have taken me no more than fifteen minutes turned into almost an hour and fifteen minutes.
I usually do a pretty decent job of letting the family know where I’m going and have my phone available if/when things changed. But I didn’t have my phone. So I felt bad that I had no way of communicating to my wife what had happened.
When I got back in the car and headed home, I was still teary eyed. For whatever reason, I remember slapping my palm against the steering wheel for emphasis, even though I did not record that in my journal, as I said: But I love Texas.
The Divine’s response?
The next thing that was given to me is interesting. The Divine said:
But Texas is going to change, and you are not going to like it.
My response was to weep even the more. I am not sure what the Divine meant with that statement, but both Texas and I have changed since that moment. Texas elected a new Governor.
Texas has had an immense growth in population since my return to Texas. I hear more negative news reports of assault and death. The highways are filled with cars. Houses and neighborhoods popping up in places that used to be fields. And it seems like it hasn’t stopped raining for the last year. That might actually be a great blessing considering the massive draught that Texas was in.
As for me, I am me, but not really who I was when I moved back to Texas with my family in 2010. As a famous character once said, “It’s not the years honey. It’s the mileage.” I have traveled a tremendous spiritual distance over that time period. It has affected the manner in which I view everything. For the sensitive, forgive me upfront: truth told it was a bitch getting here, but I don’t regret any of it.
Thankfully, the Divine shared the following:
I like Texas. Texas is beautiful.
I took that as reassurance that Texas is in good hands, even though an insurance firm uses that slogan. For the Divine to like something is amazing. And to describe it as beautiful is even more amazing.
With that in mind it surprised me that the Divine added:
But where I am taking you is more beautiful.
To me, Texas is one of the most beautiful places to live. Yeah, it has it’s flat plains. People call Amarillo and Dumas the Armpit. It has it’s swamps in East Texas. But it also has the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Houston. Dallas. Lots of miles of highway, travel for hours and see nothing but Texas. Great music – yeah Texas has Country, that’s a given, but Texas also has Janice Joplin, SRV, ZZ-Top. Great scenery – lakes, great parks, the Gulf of Mexico. Great food – smoked briskets to Whataburger. Great people. What is there NOT to love about Texas?
So when I was told that where he was taking me was more beautiful, that beauty has to climb a high mountain, because, to me, Texas was where I wanted to be and where I wanted to live the remainder of my days. That reminds me, when I discussed pulpit ministry in Indiana, I was asked “What would be the hardest part of moving here?” My answer was simple “Leaving Texas.” That’s how much I love Texas and how much Texas has my heart.
But let me return to my journal. In it I wrote:
I was instructed to ride home without the radio. On the way [to the picnic area], I drove out there listening to various radio stations, various songs, the signal faded, I turned it off, I was told to stop, [but] could not listen to any music on the way home.
I arrived home about 1.15pm. Mary gone, having left to find me. I figured as much. [I was informed] that she left about 15 minutes before I arrived home. I called her and had her come home, telling her I would be typing in the computer and I would let her know what happened. I felt some relief in that Abba, on the drive home, told me it would be okay.
Yet, I knew that Mary would be upset, I split without telling her. But something pulled me there; I was not running. I simply had to go. Unexpected. Didn’t even know where I was going to end up. All I knew is that I had no phone and that I was in my house shoes and a t-shirt. Totally unprepared.
…[During] the drive home, Abba [helped me understand] that he helped me leave Texas for Indiana. Some might not fully understand, but I love Texas. I mean I really love Texas. Yet, on the way home, I heard, “You’ll be back.” and something else about how my life would be different….
So while driving, I asked about how to get to China and various other things, like work, and I was told not to worry because he had it under control. I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but I guess I know where I, we are going – China. …
The entry, like all other entries, simply cannot convey the emotional cadence or disposition of my arrival at the plateau and how I felt during the conversation and on the ride home. But this is tough, currently not as tough as I expected. But life is about to change.
From my departure from the house to my arrival back at the house it was under three hours. And Mary had no clue what was happening. It’s no small wonder why she began to look for me. To this day, I wished I would have had my phone. But maybe I left it at home so I could be taken by the moment.
I spent that afternoon talking with Mary. Until I made the emotional adjustment, the ensuing days were uncomfortable.
Blessings and Shalom