Installment 100

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On July 26, 2014 (Month 4 Day 28), I prayed during Havdalah. I did not begin with a blessing. I began my prayer stating: Father. The Divine responded:

Son. Hear me.

This time it doesn’t carry the same tone as the exhortation to listen of so many prayers in previous days. But it seems that there is still the concept to pay attention. The Divine continued:

She’s making powerful progress.

This “she” is not Mary, but seems to be an indirect reference to whom the Divine as referred to as Rachel.

What does the Divine mean by the statement? I can’t really answer, because I have no conceptual way of understanding that statement, yet somehow she, back in 2014, at least, was making progress.

Making progress to what? That is my question. The Divine continued:

Pray for her. She needs your supplication. She’s fine, but you showing forth your part is invaluable.

Have I prayed for her? Yes. I have prayed for many things for her, clarity of thought, open heart towards the Divine, willingness to follow the Divine’s lead, courage to do what she is lead to do. I have prayed that the Divine would lead us to each other.

But here sits 2016, August to be exact, about a week before my birthday, and where I am has not changed since about August 2014. Returning to the prayer, the Divine continued:

Now, listen.

That is more of what I am accustomed to, the familiar tone. The Divine continued:

You are doing well, heading in the right direction.

I am glad that “doing well” was from the Divine’s perspective, because from mine, I was not doing so well. When one is tossed around on the inside because of the training and upbringing one has received, no matter how much “doing well” aligns with the Scriptures, it is very difficult to believe that one is doing well.

But it is the other part that intrigues me, “heading in the right direction.” So somehow, even though in July 2014 I really hadn’t found myself settled in my personal turmoil, I was making progress toward something healthy. So consider that the Divine added:

Keep tightening up the screws on your ship, for loose fasteners lead to falling apart.

Remember the ship set sail back in Installment 98, and the ship is metaphoric. But the picture paints the image: a ship that does not have it fasteners fastened, permits weakness, allowing things like water to enter the vessel, or the ship to weaken during its sailing.

There are many fasteners that are on a ship, from fasteners that keep porthole windows closed, to various covers that need to remain closed. But there is another type of fastener on the ship, it’s the crew, and a well developed crew makes for skillful sailing. So consider that the Divine added:

However, always trust, believe the best with your crew, no need to be brandishing the iron, they will follow.

This is a direct contrast to tightening up the fasteners. The Divine is encouraging me to believe the best in the crew of my ship and trust that they will do their best.

That is a difficult task. Not because I don’t trust them, because I do. But the manner in which they go about their approach many times is not the approach I prefer or desire, but the outcome is acceptable.

On an actual ship, the crew has to perform to certain standards, established by someone else, and there are those who perform drills and all kinds of events to make sure the crew knows their responsibilities. Even the captain has drills, especially if they are a captain on a naval vessel, being one of many in the fleet.

But we are not talking about an actual ship, but a family where the concept of a ship works as a metaphor. To demand such accountability from the family (the crew of the metaphoric ship) works against the strength of the ship itself.

So as “captain” I have to recognize that this vessel has its unique demands and requirements. One is that I trust the crew, especially my wife/wives. Two I believe the best of my crew, which begins with my wife/wives but I also believe the best of my children.

Now that doesn’t mean that children go without instruction, direction, and training. No. But it does mean that while they receive those things, I am to approach it from the aspect that they are giving it their best efforts.

With that approach then, trust and belief, a type of confidence and conviction that they are also for the betterment of our ship, then it is not necessary to interact with them in the manner of an overbearing, unrelenting captain.

Returning to the prayer, the Divine continued:

Now, the time has come, as you well know, life is different, life has changed.

Back in 2014, I had no real clue what “The time has come” meant. This prayer occurred during Havdalah. Havdalah is a transition point from the end of Sabbath to the beginning of the first day of the week. This prayer occurred on July 26. The very next day, July 27, I would be introduced to a lady and we would begin discussions about marriage.

One might think that with all my praying that I could have or would have seen how all this was unfolding before me. Nope. When it happened, I felt unprepared. Only as I have reviewed the events and considered their placement, have I learned that I should have been able to see what was happening.

There is no feeling like that of feeling like a plebe, one who is amongst events that feel like they are for the more highly trained. So consider that in the prayer, the Divine continued:

This is good, for the best, yes, for the best.

This was the day before. It was a prayer. I was like: Okay, sure, I understand. Blah! I didn’t understand it. Only after the event can I see that what was an intense moment was for my betterment.

Consider that the Divine continued:

Now, what this means is that your future days will be brighter than any you have experienced.

Recall that in Installment 99 the Divine had described the moment as a tempest. A tempest it was. Swirled around me. Making me uneasy. I spent lots of time in prayer during that moment.

So when the Divine referred to “my future days” looking back on this prayer, it has to be the days that followed the tempest. But that is not what I was thinking back during that prayer, because the Divine conveyed:

You see you think your best and brightest days are behind. You think you could have had great accomplishments. You could have.

That is where I focused. That is where I put my efforts. From the moment of that prayer back in 2014, I understood the days that were behind in a much different way. I was thinking of my days in Information Technology. I was thinking of my days in Ministry.

I was so focused on that, I completely missed the direction of the prayer. The Divine continued:

But you have chosen.

Chosen? What does the Divine mean “chosen”? The Divine continued:

You chose to forego the worldly wealth, you would not have sinned, and you would have been very wealthy, but you chose the wealth of family over prosperity for yourself.

What? That may sound like I would have chosen wealth over family, but given the opportunity to do it all over again I would still choose family over wealth.

But when did I choose? That is my question.

I tell you. It was the same choice made over and over. Let me explain.

When I was in High School, my ambition, my goal, was to be on the floor of the Stock Exchange. I really like(d) how money works. It is a fascinating subject. There are risks, but so with any given sport, some sports have more risks than others, likewise some financials have more risk than others.

When did I choose family? When I met Mary. Ambitions of the stock exchange melted. But I changed career directions, still aiming for healthy financial income.

During my university years, I worked in an insurance office. I determined I wanted to be an agent. I applied. They asked for a business plan. I devised one. Presented it.

They didn’t hire me. They hired someone else. That person didn’t know how to draw up a business plan. They were given mine. Totally uncool. My efforts were unethically used. But that is not the issue.

The agent was hired. And established their office within a half-mile of where I specified in my business plan, and was successful. Eventually their doors closed, so perhaps turnabout became fair play. Instead, the fact that my business plan was used shows that I know what I am talking about.

In university, my capstone class was about business development. It was a project. It was essentially a lengthy lab experiment. Point is I won. My ideas surpassed the entire class.

I was with a team, but they couldn’t see the vision. They simply did as I envisioned. The best the remainder of the class could do was fight for second place.

After graduation, I went into Information Technology. I worked as a computer programmer. Not really the best place for my talents, but at least it was business, and ultimately part of the Insurance Industry.

During that time, I was pursuing career goals. I achieved some. But the big decision came regarding family. Would I pursue the career or empower family? I chose family.

Sometime thereafter, I chose to go to Bible School. One of the things I told my kids is that I would be able to spend time with them. I went to school. I became a pulpit minister.

Things unfolded as I have shared elsewhere, but the thing I realized after exiting the pulpit is that my family suffered in ways that I did not want. We returned to Texas.

I found work, as did Mary. But my focus was to rebuild my family as best as I could. When the opportunity came for me to leave my occupation of driving to return home, I went. And have not looked back. My family is better.

Money is tight. I hate that, especially knowing my skills and talents. But family means more.

In light of that, consider that the Divine conveyed:

Now what this means is that your family will achieve what you could have, and then some, oh you have the talents, yes, you do, but you chose to put those talents to work in a ‘business’ that builds other ‘business’….

So my family is going to achieve greater things than me. Why? Because I chose to put their needs before my own. That makes me unique. Most men, I dare say, most Christian men, will not do this. They choose. I chose. That’s the great thing about life: choices.

I have the talents, I know that. That is why I hate struggling financially. But family and their success is more important than having financial success. Money fades. Dries up. Is lost during a financial meltdown. Efforts blown away with the wind.

But Family remains. And so do my efforts. And that is a business I would rather invest in. I would rather see my wife and her children find success than have invested all my efforts to find my success and they have none.

I have taken my skills, my talents, my education, my training, my spiritual awareness and focused those things solely into the betterment of my family. So consider that the Divine conveyed:

But this is not a business, it is hard spiritual work.

Is the spiritual work hard? Consider the Divine added:

Yes very hard spiritual work,

It is hard work. Family is NOT a business, but I sure employ (pun, haha) my talents in helping my family, from projecting into the future, to analyzing others success stories to help my family see success and how to achieve it, from discussing career goals to talking about having proper professional dialogue. They want success. I am doing my best to assist them in that.

The Divine added:

but as you will see, it will be amazing. These people are going to prosper under your care because you know how to succeed, lead them to success.

I am still waiting to see the outcome. I am still investing in my family business, the “profit” has not yet been reported, because all of the proceeds are being turned into the business keeping it running. But I have confidence that they will prosper in ways that I couldn’t, finding success, for themselves and their families.

Later in the prayer, the Divine conveyed something interesting. The Divine conveyed:

Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder.

That is actually a tremendous thought, for the thought goes against the commonly accepted wisdom. So if beauty is not there, where is it? The Divine continued:

Beauty is in the eye of the craftsman.

Interesting, is it not? The craftsman is the one who holds the beauty. Therefore it makes sense that the world was good and then very good at creation, for the Divine was the craftsman of it, and the Divine liked what was done.

Similar occurs for us, whether building a bridge, a skyscraper, a house, a car, a stable, a home, a blanket, or an entre to be eaten. People who craft are everywhere, and they take pleasure in what they create, especially when it is exceptionally well implemented.

People will offer their critique of the craftsman’s and/or the craftswoman’s work, but critics don’t invest their time for the beauty, only the person who crafts does. So criticism should be evaluated and processed according to investment, the less the critic invests the less their criticism should mean.

Interestingly, the concept about beauty was derived because the Divine was referring to my wife. The Divine conveyed:

Craft beauty, and she’ll be beautiful.

So, no matter if a man has one wife, or several, his wife or wives will be the result of his craftsmanship. In essence, that is the exact same thing that the Apostle Paul stated in Ephesians 5.25-27.

But, since there is so much preaching that occurs on that passage, I will take the liberty to present it so that the concept will be seen regarding a husband and his wife/wives:
Husbands, love your wives, …sanctify [her] and cleanse [her] with the washing of water by [your] word [which is how you speak to her], …present [her] to [yourself] a glorious [bride], not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that [she] should be [beautiful] and without blemish.

I’ve heard lots of lessons from that passage. The lessons prove that preachers don’t get that simple truth, so how can the men on the pews?

I am to craft beauty. Paul said the same. The Divine said the same. Importantly, in the prayer, the Divine continued:

Now listen.

Again, emphasis on listening, the Divine continued:

This is big, wonderful, amazing, life is good, life is marvelous, stupendous in fact, never dull, never boring. A wild ride, oh yes, a wild ride.

That picture of life is not how I was trained up religiously, life was to be anything but that. Life was painted as a type of drudgery, toiling, spinning, trouble here, trouble there, plight here, plight there, with joyful moments being few and far between.

But I have learned that life is anything but dull. Life is vibrant, sometimes for me too vibrant. But the Divine created and permitted all of the vibrancy that is found.

Are the Scriptures true? Yes. Do the Scriptures guide us about righteousness? Yes.

But, life is meant to be engaged and lived, otherwise why did the Creator create living beings?

Be wise. Be intelligent. Be spiritual. Seek the Divine and the righteousness that proceeds forth from the Divine. But live life and enjoy it, because the Divine created life to be enjoyed.

Yet, to that statement about life, the Divine added:

But under your guidance, tutelage, your people will accomplish amazing things.

Weird, my “people”. I take that to mean my family.

Will I guide and provide tutelage to my wives? If I do, it certainly is not as from a father to a child. Not even the idea of mentor works well regarding the ladies. I will support them, and in essence sponsor them because I promote them and champion them. But each lady has to develop herself for who she is. As the Divine has made clear, each lady is an adult.

But I definitely will guide and provide tutelage to our children.

In either case, everyone should be able to do as the Divine conveyed: accomplish amazing things.

But before any of that could, can, occur, I had to go through a trial to determine what it was that I wanted. That is what I will discuss in the next Installment.

Blessings and Shalom