Installment 127

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I will freely admit that my experiences during the last few years have been unsettling. In the sense, that they have challenged me to understand more about life, more about relationships, more about marriage, more about spiritual activity.

That unsettling nature does not mean that I reject the direction of my life. That unsettling nature simply means that I have had to really examine my life against my experiences, and then examine my experiences against expectations.

My life before my experiences was one where if my experiences did not match the training and upbringing that I had been given, then I found a way to make them fit or reject those experiences. I feel pretty confident that is something we all can relate to.

So take something totally innocuous, driving on the proper side of the road. I know which side is the proper side of the road. I have driven the proper side of the road all my driving life.

But you see, that is a statement that is easily agreed upon, until one asks the question: what side of the road do you drive on?

I am in the United States. All my driving experience is in the United States. So, of course, I drive on the proper side of the road, the right side, with a left-hand drive car.

“BUT WAIT!” says the reader from a country that drives on the opposite side of the road with the steering wheel in the opposite seat, “I drive on the proper side of the road – the left, with a right-hand drive car.”

And therein is the rub. Which is correct? Both? Neither? Does it matter?

Well, it certainly matters, because if I were to drive on the left side of the road with a right-hand drive car in the United States, it would be completely unsafe.

But if I were driving on the roads of let’s say Australia, I would be expected to drive on the left side of the road in a right-hand drive car.

It’s totally innocuous. But people definitely have their beliefs about which side of the road is proper.

Me. I don’t care. Truly I don’t. My driving experience is in the USA. If I were to move to Australia, I would have to adapt, learning how to drive in an automotive culture that is foreign to my experience.

The learning curve would be steep, especially since I drive manual transmission automobiles. I would have to learn to shift with my left hand. I have spent the better part of my driving experience, and that is well over 20 years, shifting the transmission with my right hand.

The timing for my shifts is all geared (pun intended) with a left-hand steering wheel, right-hand shifter. To learn to drive with a right-hand steering wheel, and perform a left-hand shift is going to take some time to adapt.

There is no doubt, I would adapt because I love driving.

Yet, there are some who won’t. They will stay in their own country, driving on their only experience, whether left-hand drive or right-hand drive, because they are too unwilling to make the change.

Some would make the change for the time necessary whilst they live amongst a place that drives differently than their experience, but they would maintain their preference and state such, and probably at their earliest convenience make their way back to their preference, whichever it might be.

But, you see, I am probably, no, I am the guy who would grow up driving in the States, move to Australia, learn to drive a right-hand car, and fall in love with it. After making the adjustments, learning to adapt, complaining about the process, I would then make comments about how not only is the driving experience altered, it also actually provides enjoyment and fulfillment that driving in the States couldn’t.

Innocuous, but not really. It’s a judgment call, based upon personal experience, my own temperament, and my own desires.

In essence, because I love to drive, I don’t see the left-hand versus right-hand preference to be a stumbling block. I would get it, learn, adjust, improve, enjoy, and would tell everybody about the experience.

And in telling that experience, there would be those who can’t make the adjustment, but don’t care that I did; there would be those who don’t believe that the adjustment should be made and condemn me for making the change; amongst a myriad of other complaints, condolences, commentaries, and encouragements from those watching me.

I have been making the change to seeing life with two women, seeing life with a bigger family. It is far more complex than learning to drive on the other side of the automobile, but the analogy works.

With that in mind, I want to share a prayer from May 2, 2015 (Month 2 Day 13). I began with a blessing: Blessed are you Jehovah our God, Sovereign of the Cosmos, who establishes his sovereignty. The Divine responded:

Yes.

So the Divine affirmed the Sovereignty. But it is how the prayer unfolded that is intriguing, the Divine added:

But what is sovereignty, if not the ability to take life?

Interesting question, is it not? Consider how the Divine answered it, the Divine continued:

No. It’s not, sovereignty is the ability to create life. So create.

The Divine provided an opening question in order to establish the power of the statement. From the point of view of the Divine, sovereignty is not the power to obliterate, but to create.

Life is created in many ways. First and foremost, one might think of offspring, for children are a type of life. But we also talk about the “life” we are providing for them and the “life” that we are giving them, both of which are beyond their physical life.

So “life” can be created and sustained in a multiplicity of ways. Some move from one area to another and make a “life” for themselves in that new area. Some have a “life” as a celebrity, or a sports star.

So what type of life do we create? If it has not been a question that has been pondered, then it should be pondered. The difficult thing is people do not have identical views on what “life” is.

Some argue the point at which human life begins – conception, birth, or the ability to sustain itself?

For me, my answer is pretty simple – life begins at conception. I am unwavering in the definition because how we define the “beginning” of life influences how we determine and define the “ending” of life. The beginning of life has to be as protected as the ending of life, otherwise life itself is devalued.

Some want to argue the value of life – is it contribution to society? Is it procreation? Is it something else?

These are difficult things to discuss, because how we value life, in a way, defines the person. For instance take a special needs person, who requires some type of medical equipment to help sustain their life. Are they any less alive than the person who does not require medical equipment?

I have to answer, no, they are equally alive. Each have their own needs for living, but I cannot, in good conscience, answer that one has a greater right to live than the other, because in my approach to life, the Divine is the one who has the power of life, all I can do is do my best to respect and honor life, and that means giving each person the best opportunity at living as possible.

Yet, even in that approach, there is heartache, because life has heartache. Some people have challenges foisted upon them that they were never expecting, loss of an arm, or loss of arms, or loss of a leg, or legs, or paralysis, or illness, or disease, or some other malady.

Some people adapt to these situations and find new life in that changed environment, while others struggle. If there is one thing that is certain about life, it is that life is uncertain. It can and will unfold in ways unpredictable. How we approach these challenges is at least as important as how we view life itself.

So the Divine conveyed the concept: create life.

Sometimes our perspective of life prevents us from creating life. I know mine has. Here’s an example of what I mean.

At one time, I considered marital life viable only as a relationship between one husband and one wife.

Then I was challenged to accept that one husband and one wife was not the only viable means of having a marital relationship.

I have shared that experience in detail, so I won’t re-share or recap it here. Suffice it to say, I struggled to understand how marital life could be viable outside my understanding of one-husband-and-one-wife.

Through years of study, meditation, prayer, reflection, research, discussions with Mary, discussions with others, I have arrived at my understanding of an alternate viable life for marital relations between a husband and his two wives.

Now, that was no easy task. In fact, it was quite arduous for many reasons, some of which have been shared throughout my telling and sharing of my experiences.

But the reality is, marital life is possible -both before the Divine and Biblically- as a relationship of one man and two women.

Now, how that is carried out seems almost as varied as the ways in which a relationship of one man and one woman is carried out. That simply means that the people involved in their relationship (marriage) have to come to an agreement upon how they want to define, contribute to, interact with, and expect from their relationship. That is both simple and complex, all at the same time.

Part of my view of marital life is that it all goes back to an individual agreement, external to religion and government.

For example, two people (a man and a woman) agree on their concepts of marriage, and upon that agreement, they marry and work together for each other, as one.

For example, three people (a man and two women) agree on their concepts of marriage, and upon that agreement, they marry and work together for each other, as one.

Those are simply two examples. But in either example, their agreement needs no recognition from government or religion to be viable, because viability depends upon their agreement to agree and agreeing to make that agreement come to life.

With that in mind, I want to share how the Divine closed out that prayer. The Divine conveyed:

Interaction is pleasantry.

This is something that many seek, yet is difficult to attain. But when we experience it, we know what it is – a mutual recognition and respect for each other, a reciprocity acknowledging each person’s worth and value.

After that, the Divine conveyed:

Pleasantry creates invitation.

Is that not exactly how relational dynamics work?

Consider walking into a room full of people, it’s a gathering organized by one of your friends, but the room is filled with lots of people you don’t know.

For some, the first instinct is to gather with those we already know. But, the point is to meet new people. It is easiest to open up to those who are pleasant, because their presence is enjoyable and agreeable, which creates an opening, an invitation, to participate with them in life.

After that the Divine conveyed:

Invitation creates openness.

Because they invited you to participate in life with them, even if only for the moment of that gathering, then they have provided an openness, between them and you, and in turn you with them.

After that the Divine conveyed:

Openness creates opportunity.

In that openness, there is a type of honesty and candidness that exists. That creates an occasion, a chance, an opportunity to learn more about each other – preferences, concerns, life’s goals, directions, all kinds of things.

After that the Divine conveyed:

Opportunity creates no restraint.

When those individuals move through those initial stages, they find themselves right here at no restraint, they interact with each other having no barriers, no need to hold back their thoughts, their laughter, their humor, or even their embarrassments. They feel completely free, liberated, having the ability to express themselves in an uninhibited way.

After that the Divine conveyed:

No restraint creates joy.

When they have experienced the previous, they find joy, a happiness, a delight, even if for a moment. Yet that moment, seeks furtherance, because we all enjoy feeling elation.

After that the Divine conveyed:

Joy creates life.

From there, if they can sustain their unfettered access to each other, then their joy begins to create, to generate, to form and fashion a bond, a friendship, a relationship, a connection. For some, that connection lasts only for a short time. For others, it lasts a lifetime and beyond.

After that the Divine conveyed:

Life creates itself – sovereignty.

Sovereignty – the opening blessing I gave the Divine. Life, you see, has to move through these things -from interaction to joy- for life to be. Without interaction there cannot be pleasantry, because pleasantry can only be experienced through interaction.

Life requires these things. We probably intuitively know these things, but have not sat down to think about it. But these are needed.

When joy is found, life is found, even if born in the most difficult of circumstances.

Before I wrap up this Installment, I want to return to something I was talking about in back in Installment 125, how I had expressed some concerns about an environment with two ladies.

The tone was not necessarily positive, and it has nothing to do with women, in and of themselves. It has more to do with the reality that the men who feel that one woman is enough have their reasons for feeling that way.

I can’t assume to know their reasons, so I postulate a possibility – some of them may not have found what the Divine had conveyed: from interaction to pleasantry from there joy and life.

Now, here’s what I know, and I do know it. A relationship that has pleasant interaction creates an invitation to openness, which ultimately can lead to unfettered, uninhibited, expression of one’s self, and in that one can find great joy and life, which in turn creates it for others.

Don’t get me wrong, that is difficult to achieve, but it is achievable. But it requires a willingness to be open and vulnerable at the same time.

Individuals find that to be difficult at best, and impossible at worst.

Well, here’s what I know, returning to the prayer, after all of those statements, the Divine concluded:

Go create.

I want to create.

I want to create an environment where both Mary and my wife-to-be can be themselves. I want to create an environment where we are vulnerable and honest.

I want to create a stable home life, where the cares of the world seem as distant as the east is from the west.

I want to create a loving marriage where the value of each person is seen, expressed, and understood.

I want to create a multi-wife marriage that is exemplary, and defies expectations.

It’s not the life that others want to create, but it’s the life I want to create with Mary (Esther) and Rachel.

No, scratch that, it’s not something I want to create, it’s something I am creating.

Blessings and Shalom

2016.10.31

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