Installment 134

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I want to share something from my prayer back on July 11, 2015 (Month 4 Day 25). During that prayer, the Divine conveyed:

You depend on others,

That has certainly become the truth of my life. In my life, I have always had some kind of dependence upon someone.

For example, I don’t have welding skills. I should get them, but I don’t weld often enough, so I have always turned to others who have that skill, looking for their help. In some instances, I have had to give them compensation; others have been kind enough to lend me their help.

Even when in pulpit ministry, I depended on the congregation. But it was my labor that made sure my family was taken care of.

But that changed when I stepped away from my last place of employment, being a bus driver. When I stepped away, I had to adjust to being the one who was being provided for.

I can’t say that it was an easy adjustment. I just had to make the adjustment. At times, it has not been easy.

But, I have noticed that during the time that has passed, it is not limited to monetary dependence. I have become more dependent upon others to help me accomplish tasks, help me see things, how they work, why they do what they do, in order to achieve.

I am not sure how that comes across. But I am trying to express that my educational, religious, cultural and familial training was that I was to be independent and depend on no one.

But since 2014, that has been changing.

Back to the prayer of 2015, the Divine continued:

but you still depend on yourself,

I did.

It is a tremendous humbling experience to move from independence to dependence. Candidly, it is a move I never expected, never really warmly welcomed, never truly wanted.

Now, dependence means something unique to me. It means that I have become dependent upon my own family, my wife, my children, to help me see what is going on and overcome a hurdle, for something as ordinary as helping me repair our automobiles, whether starters or transmissions.

Dependence also means another thing. I am completely dependent upon their income. Mary’s income provides us with shelter, and pays our bills. My son puts fuel in my car.

Even though he drives my car the most, and some might see it as justifiable that he pays for the fuel he uses, my son has also helped cover the cost of maintenance items.

The point is, it was I who used to pay for all of that, from paying for housing to paying our bills, from going out to eat to paying for automotive maintenance.

Seeing myself not in that role has been a unique challenge. And goes back to the point of that 2015 prayer, “but you still depend on yourself”.

I was trying to. Who wouldn’t?

I mean when you have spent your lifetime providing for others because they are your dependents, it is very difficult to flip the roles. So it becomes important that the Divine continued:

when you learn to let go of yourself, your tables will become easier.

Let go of myself, as in letting go of my need to be independent.

Is that ego? I respond with ‘no’ but that does not mean it is easy to make the transition.

Here in November 2016, I can see how putting my trust in them has helped me. But that transition was counterintuitive to my entire life up to that point.

Now, on the flip side of that is that I can help them with things that in my previous life I could not. I am able to actually get automotive maintenance work done for them. For example, my daughter buys the car parts she needs, but I help her by doing the repairs.

My life used to be tremendously jammed packed. Working Monday through Friday. Some week nights were filled with home responsibilities. Weekends were filled with house work.

Now, because I know the demands of employment, my family pretty much does their work, and I do my best to make sure that there are a limited few demands on them when they arrive home.

They do contribute to the house and its responsibilities. But for the most part, the majority of it, I do my dead-level best to make the house my responsibility, and their place of enjoyment.

Here’s the way I look at it. The house and it’s associated items, from home maintenance to clean up, from food preparation to automotive maintenance, are my primary responsibility. That means that I do everything I can to make their life simple for them to do the things that I depend on.

Together, we work together for the betterment of us all.

Before I close out this prayer, I want to share one more thing that the Divine conveyed:

Now consider this:

Like many previous moments, there is something the Divine wants me to think about, to contemplate. The Divine continued:

a man walks and walks and walks, then talks and talks and talks.

From this, I assume that the Divine was referring to me.

For me, the walking part refers to my life experiences, working here, working there, living here, living there, the things I did in my life.

For me, the talking part refers to my communication. Everywhere I have been, I have talked. Sometimes it was small talk. Sometimes it was poignant talk. Sometimes it was important talk. Sometimes it was critical relevant talk.

Then the last five years happened, and my life took a turn leaving me where I did not know what to do or how to respond, which is important for understanding the following, the Divine conveyed:

Baulks but doesn’t walk. Talk but doesn’t speak. Shouted but only tears fell.

And that was my life for the last five years. I recoiled. I hesitated. I pulled back from what I was experiencing. In many ways, I stopped moving forward, I stopped making progress in my life.

At one time, in trying to encourage me, a friend told me to throw my hands up in the air, surrender it all to God and let it unfold as it was intended.

I appreciated their advice. I wanted, really wanted to do that.

But to help them understand my predicament, I asked them to put my experiences into their life and walk in my shoes for a bit. Thankfully, they did.

Their response, “Oh Shit!” and they put on the brakes.

My response, “You see!”

In that one moment, I felt like I finally had someone understand.

So during the last five years, not only have I recoiled, but when I spoke no one seemed to listen, at moments I shouted and it felt like the only thing that happened is that my eyes shed tears.

Emotionally and relationally, the last few years have been very challenging and difficult, aptly described by what the Divine conveyed.

Interestingly, the Divine continued:

The trouble with prophets is that

Wait! Is the Divine talking about me? What does the Divine mean?

The Divine continued:

they know too much, see too far, hear too often, speak that which is known, and receive nothing but subterfuge.

That is the life of the prophets. Is it not? Every Biblical account seems to fit that mold. Even though the prophet is godly, the prophet’s life is one that few want.

The Divine continued:

Now, for you,

So the Divine is bringing an application to me. The Divine continued:

it’s a good thing you’re not a prophet,

I wipe the sweat from my brow. I’m not a prophet.

But wait. What does that mean for the last five years?

Being led by the Divine does not make one a prophet. It simply means that the Divine is providing assistance to life.

But since I am no prophet, then it stands to reason that I can be led by God and still be confused about what is happening. It explains why I can speak and in time to come what I spoke was proven not quite what I thought it was.

So don’t confuse me with a prophet, for I am not.

After that part of the prayer about me not being a prophet, the Divine continued:

so lighten up and enjoy life, life is too good for you to let it pass.

Wait. What?

Okay, so I am not prophet. That was actually comforting to know.

But it does seem that I was misunderstanding myself and what my life meant. I will freely admit that I spoke not fully understanding.

Here’s all, and I mean a-l-l, I know: I have dedicated myself to the Creator, I have sought the Divine’s will for my life, I have prayed, I have my experiences, I shared what I experienced, I studied the Scriptures, the Scriptures confirm that the traditional interpretation of marriage is incorrect, I know that my life will unfold into having two ladies.

In telling “My Story” I have shared various aspects of those things.

I have had to learn to lighten up.

For some that will make no sense. But for others it might. Here’s what I mean.

From my youth up through my early forties, I was trained and then conditioned to be uber-serious. Nothing was really to be taken lightly. All of my social, familial, cultural and religious spheres expected nothing but the most serious expressions of life.

As such, I was conditioned to see myself as something that is NOT intended.

For some, when they become dedicated to the Divine, they have to tighten up their life, they have to get rid of excess behavior, shed the non-seriousness of their life, in order to see that life needs to be taken seriously.

For me, I was trained from a child that life is to be taken seriously. Ethically, I was the pressed-shirt type that believed everything had to be proper in order for life to be.

If you want, call the old me – stuffy, reserved, dull. In a way, I was. But, I certainly lived up to and met most of the expectations of that peer pressure.

During the last five years, I have learned to not bend to social, cultural, familial, religious peer pressure, when that peer pressure is nothing more than personal preference.

That was a tremendous thing for me to overcome, because I had not realized how much personal preference invaded that group peer pressure and how much that had affected me.

In essence, because I was so stringent on myself, I was imposing behavior on myself that was unneeded, so I had to “lighten up” and then I have had to learn how to enjoy life.

That was unexpected. Enjoy Life. What do you mean?

I have had to learn to laugh at the absurdity of life. I have had to learn how to let go of not only expectations for my own person but also expectations of how life should unfold.

Humanity. What an absurd thing we are. We literally kill each other doing our damnedest to make others live the way we believe they should. I start actually being more personal with the Divine, and I learn that I need to chill, take it easy.

That was totally unexpected, because it sure wasn’t what I was trained up to do.

Enjoy life. Go for a walk. Stop putting religious burdens on myself that were unneeded. Sing a song. Stop putting cultural burdens on myself that were unneeded. Eat a burger. Have a beer.

Why? Because the Divine concluded:

life is too good for you to let it pass.

And that was exactly what I did.

I have actually looked back at the last twelve years, and that is exactly what I was doing.

I was NOT drinking in the goodness of life. I was letting it slip through my grasp.

I was too tightly focused on making the world in the image of the Divine, that I totally missed that the Divine created life for me to enjoy.

How stupid.

But not.

The reality, my reader, is that we as believers, because I assume my reader is a believer, is that we put way, way, way too much emphasis on “appeasing” the Divine instead of enjoying that which the Divine has given.

I am learning to slow down. Drink in my life. Enjoy the journey.

I know where I am going, both in the here and now, and the eternal.

I know whom I serve, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

I know in what Covenant I set.

I know that I have been permitted to enjoy life, enjoy that which the Divine has provided: a wife, children, an additional wife, more children, joys of life, laughter, humor, relaxation, happiness, walks in the park, swims in the ocean.

No longer am I going to let life pass me by. I am living my life. I am enjoying it. I am learning to lighten up.

Life is a gift – a gift to take pleasure in, to take pleasure from, because the Divine only gives good and precious gifts.

Blessings and Shalom