On October 4, 2014 (Month 7 Day 8), I prayed. I began: My heavenly Father. The Divine responded:
Yes, my earthly son.
Interesting response, is it not? The use of earthly is not a negative reference, but seems to be a reference of location, the Father is heaven, whereas I am on earth.
Later in the prayer, the Divine conveyed:
Now, consider this.
Notice that the Divine did NOT convey that I was to listen, but to consider. This means that I need to reflect on what is being conveyed. So let me give some reflection.
I pray regularly. I also discuss those prayers with Mary, many times she has thoughts that I don’t readily consider. But it is very difficult for me to understand my prayers at the time of my prayer. I am not sure why that is, but it seems to be the case.
I do consider what is conveyed during my prayers. But mostly, I consider the prayer almost immediately after the prayer, and then the prayer becomes part of my journal record. Sometimes, I go back to them and consider them again, kind of like I am doing in telling “My Story”. But other times, I simply read them, and personally reflect on the prayers.
In this instance, in this particular prayer, the Divine wants me to consider what is being presented. My journal doesn’t have any record of me considering anything at the time this prayer occurred, so I will consider it as I walk through the prayer today.
After telling me to consider things, the Divine conveyed:
You are a resourceful man, a man of intelligence and creativity.
Am I resourceful? Yes, in a sense.
For me, I am far more resourceful with language. I am not sure why, because at one time I wasn’t. As a youth, I went to school, learned to write, and had to write untold number of papers. Later I went to university, and had to write another count of untold number of papers. Later still, in my occupations I have written untold number of projects, prospects, papers, and presentations. All to which I added more writing when I attended Bible School.
Writing and composition is probably one of my greatest strengths. I don’t fiction. I am not a story teller. I am more about technical presentation. I cover difficult topics, sometimes in nauseating detail.
But am I resourceful? Not really. I have to read a manual to work on a car. I have to read instructions to assemble something. I can’t see the workings like others. For some, those things come naturally, not me, sheesh, it takes a freaking act of congress to help me get some things done, because I don’t see the flow and thought.
But not so with writing and composition, a field that few respect, but everyone seems to think they are an expert. It seems I have a gift for something that few value, and it has moments where it makes me feel like I shouldn’t even desire to keep learning language and composition, but for some reason I’m just drawn to it, like a moth to a flame.
Am I resourceful? No, because I am a perfectionist. I can’t stand that I make spelling mistakes, I can’t stand that I make errors in writing. So it is tremendously difficult for me to want to learn to play a musical instrument.
For instance, when I was younger, I took two years of music. I learned to read music. I learned to make the sounds. I was descent enough to earn and retain first chair for a time. But I lost that interest. I still love music, but the ability to sense it, feel it, see it, the way my son does, I think that part of the DNA sequence passed me by, and is why I don’t really want to learn other instruments, even though music pulsates through my being.
In a sense, I use my intelligence to be too damned critical of myself to be creative. Yet the Divine told me to be creative. So at this point, I am using my creativity to do the only thing I feel that I do well, outside of Bible Study and presentation, and that is tell “My Story”.
Going back to the prayer, consider that the Divine continued with a question:
How do you use it?
That is a tremendously important question. How does one, or in this case- I, use intelligence and creativity? Here is the Divine’s response to me:
Sometimes you actually just waste it.
Wait! What?! You mean it’s possible for one, in this case- me, to actually waste intelligence and creativity? The honest answer, even though it is discomforting, is yes, it is possible to simply waste intelligence and creativity.
For instance, let’s be honest, we observe others who waste away, because they have chosen to waste their intelligence and creativity. Let’s be honest, we privately, maybe even publically, criticize them for their poor choices. But let’s be honest, we, and in this case- I, do the same. Nothing like the truth, eh?
So the Divine asks me the big question:
The Divine provided clarity, at least for my situation, the Divine conveyed:
Not because you are stupid, no,
Okay. Good. Thankfully, I am not stupid, as in lacking intelligence. So I am not brainless.
However, sometimes I am quite obstinate, sometimes too stubborn for my own good. But that is not my issue, the Divine conveyed:
it is because you don’t see yourself creatively being creative,
Quite candidly, that hits the mark right in the bull’s eye, that is the perfect description for my creativity problem. There was a time I took art classes. I like film. I like learning how scenes are shot, why the director does what they do. I am the nerd who watches the film commentaries to learn why things work. In a sense, for me, commentaries that don’t specifically discuss the how of film making are worthless.
But you want to know what sucks about being creative? Creativity means putting your creation out for others to see. Do you know what that does? It opens my mind to hearing the criticism of others.
I’m not talking about helping critique, because I have met a few who truly, and I really truly, offer fantastic assistance. But they are the few, not the many.
Instead, I am talking about hearing the blather of stupid. It’s everywhere. Personally, I am not sure how creative people turn a blind eye to it. I guess at some point, one simply has to learn to do that, so one doesn’t have to process the amount crap that others peddle.
So I return to the prayer, the Divine conveyed:
you are now to create, and create beauty.
First, let me begin by asking: What is beautiful?
To answer that question, I return to what the Divine conveyed in Installment 100, “Beauty is in the eye of the craftsman.”
With that, then it follows that it is the craftsman who not only sees the beauty, but it is the craftsman who creates, because the craftsman creates in ways that beauty is seen.
What am I creating?
First, I am no longer creating what I used to create. I used to create things from a much different perspective. In many ways, I “created” what others taught me to create: an education, a career, a house, a retirement, a hobby, blah, blah, blah.
From my own desires, I found a need to understand the Scriptures. God permitted me to go on that quest. I learned. I do have a better understanding of the Scriptures. Then I learned that what I had been told to create wasn’t creating anything beautiful, at least, not to me.
I prayed for a purpose for my living my life, being willing to give my life in service to the Divine. The Divine provided me with insight, guidance. I balked. Because the very thing I was led to understand was, at the time, unattractive to me, not scripturally, but practically.
I was too busy trying to understand the critics and their response. I thought that if I could appeal to the senses of the critics that they would see the beauty. BAH! Critics will piss and moan, bitch and complain, and stand by their criticism without having any real desire to understand.
Remember, it is the few that will actually be helpful.
I had faith to carry on, to move forward, continuing to believe in God. The first lady. Whew! Unpleasant for all involved. Why? I couldn’t see the beauty because of the critics. The story repeats for the second lady. The story unfolded differently on the third.
One cannot go back in time, so it seems pointless to do a what-if scenario. But I do know this, critics be damned, I am moving forward to what is beautiful, and having a marriage with two beautiful, godly, spiritual women is one of the most beautiful things I can imagine this side of eternity. Because of that, God give me another opportunity, beauty will be built.
That is so important, I cannot underscore it, except to share that in the prayer the Divine continued:
It starts with your heart, yes your heart, not theirs, but yours, yes yours.
It begins with me. I am the husband. In this situation, I am the craftsman, I am crafting the most beautiful thing I can imagine, a marriage, but not a marriage, two wonderful beautiful ladies, Mary and whoever this Rachel is.
But it has NOT been easy to arrive at this point. As a craftsman, I have kicked myself for being incapable, watching my scribbles, knowing that I can do better, becoming angry at the critics who would rather give me a crap-barrage than helpful advice.
But, the thing is, my vision about this seems truly unique. No one else can see the vision that I see, no one else can help me carve out the beauty from the marble, no one else can help me paint the canvas. The beauty I see is internal and I have sought to understand it. Only I can do the work, because it begins with me.
Don’t misunderstand me, my wives are not marble, and they are not a canvas for my desires. The marble and canvas simply are analogies. All I know is that I want to see this beauty, and I am doing my best to create that beauty.
Returning to the prayer, consider that the Divine continued:
‘Create in me a clean heart.’ No.
Okay, that is actually an important thought. Consider that the Divine continued:
You have a clean heart,
That is why I didn’t and don’t need to have a ‘create in me a clean heart’ temperament. That disposition is what the church needs the flock to maintain, but at some point, if the person is seeking God, then the clean new heart is given.
What does that person do then? They have to continue seeking God and his righteousness, and God will help that person understand how they are to live their life with their clean heart.
So I didn’t, and don’t, need to have that event happen in my life, because it has already occurred. But consider that the Divine continued:
foolish actions from time to time, but a clean heart.
Blech. That is not what I want to hear. Am I foolish? I admit only what the Divine declared “from time to time”. But I am certain that “time to time” creates for me my own problems.
When did those events happen? Well, I guess that is mine to learn, and some of them I have. But consider that the Divine conveyed:
From that cleanliness, create beauty, yes beauty, and do so tonight, in whatever way you please, but make it beautiful for I sanction it, both, include both women.
That is an amazing thought. One, that I have a clean heart. Two, that from that clean heart God has permitted me to create beauty in whatever way I please, but it is to include both women.
Look, I know that sets at odds with the church and Christians and the associated teachings of monogamy-only. Quite frankly, it pisses off so many believers it is ridiculous.
For some, it truly becomes a stumbling block to their faith. They stumble so badly, that for them they would rather disassociate and distance themselves from me than actually consider the doctrinal reality of what is going on.
My retort is this, I will defend the Scriptural nature of what I am doing, but I am no longer concerned about persuading the critics.
Why? Because I am not, and I mean I am NOT, N O T, not going to submit to Church and Christian critic pressure when the critic is criticizing from Biblical ignorance. Ignorant Biblical criticism is not only badly informed, it usually seems to manifest itself as badly-mannered. True criticism acknowledges what the Scriptures convey and the Scriptures do NOT convey monogamy-only.
Since the beginning of 2016, I have been doing my best to create this beauty from my heart.
Marriage is a wonderful thing. But it is not a thing. A thing is an automobile, or a computer.
Marriage is a wonderful institution. But it is not an institution. An institution is an organization of people, or a business establishment.
Marriage is a relationship. A relationship between -and I am speaking as one who refers to the Biblical text- a man and his wife, or a man and his wives.
I have met many people in monogamous relationships who are wonderful people BUT have non-beautiful marriages. In the sense that they are accomplished individuals, professionally, academically, even in some instances spiritually. Yet when it comes to their marriage, they simply cannot accomplish a beautiful marriage.
Yet, I have met many people in monogamous relationships who are wonderful people AND have beautiful marriages. Sometimes that beautiful marriage is accomplished but one or the other or both people are not accomplished professionally, academically, or in some instances spiritually. Yet somehow they created beauty in their marriage.
I have no practical experience of having met polygamous people, so I refrain from offering commentary.
Beauty defies logic. Beauty defies reason. Beauty defies rationale.
Importantly, beauty comes from the heart, and the heart is not governed by those things. That simply means that when the heart is clean, goodness and beauty blossom, even amidst foolishness.
Call me a fool, but beauty is what I seek.
Blessings and Shalom