On May 17, 2014 (Month 2 Day 17) during Havdalah, I prayed. I began with a blessing: Blessed are you Jehovah our God, Sovereign of the Cosmos, who gives abundantly. The Divine responded:
Yes. But why? Why that?
I replied: “It’s what came to [my] mind.” The Divine responded:
Let another come to mind.
What is one to make of that? I assumed that the Divine would simply accept blessings. Then I learned that the Divine doesn’t always need blessings. Then I learned that the Divine would hear one’s blessings then direct to another blessing.
If there is one thing I have learned from all of this journey, nothing that my religious heritage, or any of the religious bodies that I have visited (Christian or Messianic Synagogue) could prepare me for the experiences that I experienced over the last few years.
They all have taught me about the Divine. They all have taught me about the Bible. They all have shared with me what they think the Divine does or does not do.
The other thing they taught me is what they believed was happening to me. They believed and some continue to believe that I have run aground with my faith, and I have found it nearly impossible to have a spiritual dialogue with these folks.
The truth that I have experienced is that the Divine is wholly unknown, because we only KNOW in part, as in a portion of the immensity of the infinite Divine. So what on earth, in this temporal state, in this earthly house, this materialistic abode, this time managed, finite place, do we think that we can fully grasp the infinite, and then determine who is and who is not seeking the Divine’s face?
I digressed, going back to my prayer. I put my being into another gear, and offered this blessing: Blessed are you Jehovah our God, Sovereign of the Cosmos, who shines forth in dark places. The Divine responded:
Then the Divine asked:
So what is dark?
That is not a response that I was expecting. So here is how the Divine answered the question:
Oh, let me tell you,
From that, I am intrigued, what could it be? Here is what the Divine provided:
I have spent the majority of my life pursuing the Divine. I have been at church. I have read the Bible. I have done as others instructed me. I have prayed. I sought the Divine.
Up to that prayerful moment, I had spent the ensuing time since January 2011 seeking the Divine, intently, like I had never done before. How on earth could my heart be dark? So consider how the Divine continued:
Your heart is not black.
Thank God for that. At least I was not (am not) in such a pitiful condition. The Divine added:
It is not a dungeon,
Thank God again. Those would be horrible places to be. Yet, the Divine described my heart as a dark place. I was told what it wasn’t. So what was it? The Divine continued:
but the light has been turned down, reduced.
And there is the direct reason why my heart was a dark place. Not really what I wanted to hear, and certainly not what I was expecting during my prayer.
Yet that matches quite well with my blessing: ‘…who shines forth in dark places.” In essence, the Divine could have easily said “Ray (David Paul) your heart is dark because you’ve let the light of your heart grow dim.”
I am here to tell you, that is not really what one wants to learn about themselves. So I had a problem. The Divine continued:
Why [let your light be turned down]? Let me tell you.
I am one for explanations. I like to know “why” something does what it is supposed to do. So that question represents hope. Yet it also represents a moment where I am going to come face-to-face with something I potentially don’t really want to know. Here’s what the Divine conveyed:
Look, fear stops all of us at some point. We could have fear of heights. We could have fear of traffic. We could have fear of “fill-in-the-blank”. Fears abound. And if we permit our fear to keep hold on us, we will never make progress.
Sometimes we go our entire lives not knowing what our fear(s) is/are. But the Divine was not going to say a general statement and leave it unspecified, the Divine continued:
[You’re] afraid of me.
I’m I afraid of the Divine? Yes. The Scriptures tell us that it is good to have a proper fear of the Divine. So I have a proper fear of the Divine. But I was afraid of the Divine in a different sense, which the Divine would address. But the Divine added:
[You’re] afraid of them.
For me, when the Divine used the word “them” I felt like it referred directly to Esther and Rachel. I was afraid of them, and I’ll leave it at that.
But by “them” the Divine could also refer to anyone, other parts of the family, friends, society, culture, you name it. I was also afraid of them, for no other reason than I wanted to be accepted.
Then the Divine continued:
[You’re] afraid of what I’m going to do.
Yeah. Yep, sure was. Still am, to a much lesser degree though. Look, when you’re following the Divine in faith, it doesn’t look like what the Christian community taught me it should look like.
No one believes me, not because they don’t believe in “God’s leading” they believe in God’s leading, but ONLY when God’s leading matches their expectations.
I can’t tell you how many times I shared that I was following God’s lead and hear a retort like the following: “That’s good. Follow His lead no matter what.”
Then they’d ask me something like “How’s God leading you?” In my naïveté, I answered their query. You should have seen them. Except for just a couple of people, it was recoil and rejection.
From them, I learned that it is okay to follow God only when following God meets their expectations, and when following God doesn’t meet their expectations, you will receive their condemnation.
Try facing that over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and then having your own self doubts, your own questions, light within your heart can begin to burn low.
“Stand for the truth even if you stand alone.” they say, but they don’t mean it. That was a tough lesson I had to learn, learn to stand up for the truth, even when others want nothing of it.
Was I afraid? Damned right. Now, I am aware of their attitude. Do I care? Yes. Do I need their approval? No.
Am I afraid of what the Divine will do? Not as much as I used to be, but, to be candid, I still hesitate, I still struggle. Who wouldn’t?
But the Divine wasn’t finished telling me what I was afraid of. The Divine continued:
[You’re] afraid of who you are.
Yep. I was. Back then I was afraid of what I had learned. To me it didn’t matter that I had corresponded with a couple of women about the leading of God. They balked. I balked. The ONLY one who didn’t was Mary.
In time to come, she was actually one of the reasons why I stabilized and accepted myself. I know her, she is a tough one, doesn’t back down when she believes she is right. Believe me I have had plenty of intellectual and spiritual disputes with her. When she believes, she believes, and when she believes she’s right, look out.
She changed. She went from “NO WAY!” to “YES, I WANT THIS!”
There was another major interaction that my wife and I had with a minister. Interestingly enough, the minister was female. Other than introductions, she did not converse with us, she almost immediately prayed with us and about us.
After the prayer, my wife sought out private dialogue with this minister, where my wife shared our events. The minister responded conveying that she was aware of our situation (though no one had told her anything) and that our friends wouldn’t understand. AND that is exactly where we have been.
Was I afraid of what the Divine would do? You bet.
In 2010, perhaps in 2009, I prayed asking for something worth my efforts. By 2012, I was on a completely different journey. If the Divine could lead into such things, then where else could the Divine lead?
Returning to the prayer, the Divine continued:
Afraid. Afraid. Afraid. A-FRAID. That’s you – your heart. Yep. That’s it.
And that WAS me. Totally.
Was I afraid of my own self, of the person that had been revealed to me? You bet.
I have had too many dialogues with too many people. I have experienced too many negatives. I watched an interview with a family that identifies themselves as polyamorous. That is a term that they said applies to them, the term that would best apply to my situation is polygynous, the terms are different and mean different things. During that interview, one of the ladies said it was easier for her to reveal her sexuality that her marital status.
I can appreciate her statement because of my experiences discussing this marriage. That is the problem I face. Do I care? Yes. Am I afraid? I will describe myself as cautious, what I once did in naïveté, I now approach with some experience, so I guard myself as I move forward.
It was a scary notion to realize that I could love two women. It was a scary notion to consider the family, social, and religious implications of loving two women.
So I can only imagine the fear that my second wife has. But, I can imagine at least one fear – notifying her parents that she has fallen in love with a married man.
It is likely that one of the first things her parents will assume is that the lady who has fallen in love with me is the “other woman”, the mistress who is breaking up a marriage and family. The lady who falls in love with me will have to reassure her parents that that is not the case.
Another likely assumption is that her parents will inform her that this “man” she’s fallen in love will not divorce his wife for you, just to marry you, and that you can’t trust a man who divorces his wife for another woman. The lady who falls in love with me will have to inform her parents that he wants two wives, at the same time, and that I, as a husband, am faithful.
If she is able to navigate through those, then her parents might respond with Biblical assumptions that have to be worked through. My future wife will have to address their questions and their assumptions and delicately let her parents know that the Scriptures are true, but the doctrine of the church is misguided.
If she is able to navigate through those, then her parents might still have the normal assumptions, that polygamy (polygyny) can’t work, that it is detrimental, bringing up all the negatives. Then my future wife will have to assure her parents that marriage is healthy, and healthy spiritual people, living healthy spiritual lives, make a healthy spiritual home, a home that protects all members, wives, children, and husband.
If she is able to navigate through those, then her parents might still have objections because they might inform their daughter that she will lose contact with friends with family, and that that is a high cost of having a family that is outside the normal parameters. So my future wife is going to have to have wrestled intensely and deeply with this concept, knowing that it is a high cost, she could lose some friends, she might lose contact with family, but that she, in her own heart, because of her own decisions has chosen to live a different life and that she is mature enough, woman enough, and spiritual enough to come to terms with those realities, and manage herself in a healthy way that just might surprise her parents, friends, and others.
If she is able to navigate all of that, my future wife still needs to reassure her parents of her love and respect for them. And if she has made past mistakes, her parents should trust that she would make a wise choice for her own life, spiritual, and family development, and that if anything were detrimental to her own being or to her own children she would leave our marriage.
When she has navigated some or all of these things, when she’s ready, she needs to invite me, and Mary, to meet her parents. It will be awkward, but it needs to be done. None of us have ever had any experience like this. We’d all be nervous, but with prayer for proper, healthy, and wise words, nervous anxiety turns into confidence and reassurance.
I am not so brazen to believe that I have all the answers to the situation where my wife-to-be has to notify her parents or where Mary and I meet her parents, but I do know that that bridge has to be crossed, and I am willing to cross it. I know that she, our family, and her parents as in-laws are worth that journey.
Hefty things to think about, but that is where my mind goes when I consider the possibilities of being afraid.
So I return to my prayer, the Divine continued:
Now, let me tell you this.
In going through this prayer, I am pleased that the heavy examination of my heart is over, and that the Divine is leading into another thought. The Divine continued:
Life is short. Real short. You don’t have many days left, even though they are many.
Nothing like a little look at the clock to get one’s attention, eh?
Life is short. I am about to turn 44. I look back and back then I couldn’t wait to be forty. Now I’m in my forties, and I want it to slow down. I’m no longer in a hurry to get further in my life. I want to savor the remainder of my days, not to the detriment of my faith, but faith conjoined with enjoying the life that the Divine permits.
So consider that the Divine continued:
Delay. Delay. Delay all you want, you’re stealing from yourself.
That is something I don’t think I ever had cross my mind until that prayer. I delayed moving forward into a marriage with two wives because I feared how others would react, I feared that they would reject.
The end result, I let that time be stolen from me by trying to bring them with me, I let that time be stolen from me by trying to get their approval.
The end result, perhaps if I would have recognized that years ago, I would not have let those things steal a portion of time from my living days. After all, life is short, even though I have many days ahead.
I now have fewer days with two wonderful brides, shame really. So consider that the Divine conveyed:
Get it through your head that the only one who is having no fun is you.
That is an unfortunate truth. Those who reject me still have their joys, their life. But somehow I have allowed them to keep me in check.
A marriage with two wives will be fun, challenging, but fun, and I’ve missed out on some of it. Time cannot be reclaimed, time marches forward, to use a current phrase: haters are going to hate.
The Divine continued:
Son, you have a life to live.
Don’t we all? Sadly, many of us figure this out too late in life and life can no longer be lived. So consider that the Divine added:
Draw it out, or draw it in. Either way it’s yours. [Terrible] or fantastic. It’s now your choice.
In other words, make up my mind. It took me too long, I can’t reclaim those months. Now, I want to move forward. Too bad I couldn’t see it back then, which is why the Divine continued:
I know what you should, should, do, but you, as always, as your habit, sit on your hands, indecisive, inconclusive, unwilling.
Later in the prayer, the Divine conveyed:
Now, stop moping. Get your stupid self in gear, live this life, stop feeling sorry for yourself, stop feeling ashamed, embrace it.
Sadly, that was where I was. I can see it now. I was stuck in neutral, letting my car coast forward.
I don’t want to be there any longer. I have decided. I am willing. I have changed gears.
Will there be those that judge me? Sure.
Can I stop it? No.
Do I want two wives? Yes.
Do I care that people stare? Sure, but let them stare.
Will there be challenges to having two wives? Yes.
Can I be a great husband to two wives? Yes, most definitely yes, if they’re willing to help me be happy, I am willing to help them be happy.
I look forward to the fun ahead. Climbing a mountain is not easy. But there is joy in climbing that mountain.
Rachel, will you marry me?
Blessings and Shalom