With the last few Installments, I have been showing that back in late 2015 and the early days of 2016 things were changing for me. Not that I understood back during those days what was happening, but as I share “My Story” I can see that things were beginning to change.
With that in mind, I want to share my prayer from January 9, 2016 (Month 10 Day 27). I began: Father. The Divine responded:
Then I continued with a question: Can you help me?
The Divine responded:
But before I continue with the prayer, let me share what I wrote in my journal entry. I wrote:
Really struggled this week regarding this leading, really wanted it to end, prayed for things like my own death, but I’m still here. I really have strong misgivings about this, and strong doubts about things I feel/believe I have heard, [and] learned.
So from that note, for me, it reminds me that I had been once again uncertain about my life. In the previous Installment, I was led to understand that my mind was astray and to follow my heart.
I didn’t make notes beyond that entry but perhaps that previous prayer made my mind wrestle against my heart and I was trying to determine which end was up, but couldn’t.
So I asked another question: Why do I struggle so?
Let me offer right here, right now, that the response the Divine gave was not what I wanted. To my question, the Divine responded:
You know. We’ve been over, through this. I will speak not of it again.
Well, that’s a bummer.
But, in looking back at this prayer, and my questions, I did know why I struggled. But for some reason, I think I relished the struggle over following my heart. Here’s what I mean.
Consider my struggle with the following analogy.
My heart tells me that I want on a zip line. My mind sees that the zip line is not tens of feet off the ground, but hundreds, spanning across tree tops, and valleys, running from one mountain to another.
Admittedly, I am not one for heights, so my mind sees the height, and fears it. But my mind also conjures all points of failure. What if the connecting points break? What if the harness breaks? What if? What If? WHAT IF?
My mind processes failure and fear.
My heart processes excitement and reward.
The counsel of hundreds informs me to be risk averse. Yet, my heart would gladly go if my mind would shut up.
So I knew why I struggled. And the Divine was proper to convey “You know [why you struggle]. We’ve been over, through this. I will speak not of it again.”
The answers were in my prayers, but I didn’t start looking at and processing those answers until I was going through all the material to pen “My Story”.
So in that sense, it was completely unnecessary to go over it again, when it had been gone through so thoroughly, making it proper for the Divine not to speak of it again.
But in a way, in that prayer, the Divine did address my concerns. The Divine continued:
Now consider something.
So while the Divine said that nothing further would be conveyed about my personal struggle, the Divine did want me to think about the following. The Divine continued:
A man has a shoe, worn out, tired, done.
To make it clear, because someone could misconstrue this, the ‘shoe’ is not Mary. The shoe is my monogamous relationship. It sounds unsavory, so let me explain.
After spending countless hours in dialogue with Mary, after spending additional countless hours in prayer, meditation, self-reflection, it became painfully obvious to me that there was no way that we were going to be able to remain together as a unit. Here’s what that means.
Mary’s heart had changed. She wanted a family with two wives. She wanted the larger family.
Me, I hadn’t arrived at that point. So, my thoughts were many.
Since I struggled mightily against having two women, one of my thoughts was to divorce Mary, remain unmarried, but thereby let her pursue the life she wanted. That would not win me any points with family, nor with Mary, but at least I would not be holding back her desires.
Another thought was that I would ignore all the prayers, all the meditations, even Mary’s desire, and remain monogamous with her, even if it meant having an extremely unfulfilling life. Wouldn’t gain any points with Mary, but it might make family and friends happy.
But in my heart, there was no possible way that option of divorce would work for me because I know how deeply I love Mary, so I couldn’t let her go. And there was no possible way for the option of remaining monogamous to work, because I know how deeply I love Mary and I want the best for her, so I could not make her walk through shit just for us to remain monogamous.
With that in mind, consider how the Divine continued:
Doesn’t want new shoes, but needs new shoes.
And that was certainly true. I didn’t want a new marriage. I wanted to do everything I could, if possible, to remain just Mary and me.
Yet, there was a counterpoint, the Divine conveyed that new shoes were needed.
Needed? The Divine had to be kidding, right? No. In fact, it is quite true. Here’s what I mean.
There comes a time that one must step into the new shoes, even if those new shoes were unexpected.
That might be puzzling, but it shouldn’t be. Consider how the Divine continued:
This man continues wearing his shoes knowing his shoes are near the end but is resistant to acquiring new shoes.
That simply means that when one is traversing life, they can sense, know, and feel that the end is near, like moving from one job into another or moving from one location to another.
When one loves their work and work environment, it is difficult to step into the new shoes of another work place.
When one loves where they live, it is difficult to step into the new shoes of another place to live.
Those transitions are real, and the emotional upheaval is also real. Just talk to any parent who has had to relocate because of work and many will share stories of how their child hated the move and didn’t want to move.
But back to the prayer, the Divine continued:
In the context of the prayer, why did Ray continue wearing his monogamous shoes with Mary, knowing that our relationship had matured beyond those bonds? Why was Ray resistant to acquiring the new shoes of polygamy?
The Divine continued with a reflective question:
One might think I was reluctant, but the Divine continued with one word:
So reluctance to accept polygamy was not my issue.
The Divine continued on, asking another reflective question:
One might think that I was insistent upon Mary and I remaining monogamous, again the Divine continued with one word:
So it wasn’t that I needed to maintain that monogamy, because I was open to alternatives if it would be something beneficial for Mary, even if it was detrimental for me.
However, the Divine continued by giving one more reflective question:
Familiarity of our relationship, the association that Mary and I had had, our social contacts, our friends, in other words: the life we had built together.
Consider how the Divine continued:
Yes, for he is so acquainted with his worn shoe that a new pair of shoes seems not only unlikely, but unnecessary.
The knowledge our relationship provided was something I did not want to change. Struggles and all, it felt good. It’s like wearing a comfortable pair of jeans, who cares that they have been worn for years, have holes in the knees, one or more belt loops have separated from the jeans, or that the worn pockets have holes, and the back of the pant leg is worn from dragging the ground. They still fit and will be worn until, well, they can’t be.
That was how I felt about my marriage. She was not just the best thing that happened to me, she was my whole reason for being alive.
How could these new shoes of polygamy provide me anything of that value? How could it be just as good or better?
When one is comfortable in their shoes, or their jeans, it is nearly impossible to see how a new pair of shoes, or a new pair of jeans, will make one happy, even with all the wear and tear upon the old ones.
Consider how the Divine continued:
However, he knows, he knows, the shoe will fail, because it is failing.
That means that I knew that my monogamous marriage with Mary would not continue in monogamy and find itself.
Why? She changed. I changed. Even when others don’t understand, or can’t envision that, or want to deny it.
The reality is that the things we experienced opened our hearts to another reality. Only one aspect of a different reality, but a different reality still.
When the heart becomes aware of something, then opens itself to that something, the heart has to experience it, or the heart dies.
And since the thing that our heart was opened to was acceptable according to the Scriptures and acceptable to the Divine, the heart had to pursue that reality.
That is why I knew that our shoes of monogamy had walked their course, and why if things did not change regarding my heart, then things would fail.
Yet. Yet. I would have kept it monogamous. Consider how the Divine continued:
Yet retains desire to prolong that which he knows he needs to change. Oh, he’ll change, but only when the shoe can go on his foot no longer.
And that sums up pretty much what I came to understand.
At the beginning of the prayer, I asked the Divine two questions: Can you help me? Why do I struggle so?
The Divine’s first answer was “Always.” The Divine’s response to the second question expressed a negative response. Yet, the Divine provided me a parable of sorts. So the Divine did the very thing that I asked.
But the Divine did not leave me there with only the parable. The Divine continued:
Now, my son, you can wear that shoe until its worn out, or you can get your new pair that I have waiting for you.
So I had a choice. So I chose. I chose to pursue the new pair that is waiting.
Truth told, I was not really pleased to learn that. I didn’t want those choices. I wanted a choice that said that Mary and I could continue.
But our experiences, our studies, our discussions, our prayers, led us to a different place on the path of life.
In a somewhat pejorative statement, I needed to man-up to where we were and simply accept what had occurred.
So, in light of the fear of heights, I have chosen to ride the zip line, in other words, I have chosen to pursue the new pair of shoes.
But what the Divine conveyed next is intriguing:
You didn’t get to choose them, and you never will,
So in a sense, the polygamous shoes were not something I actually chose on my own. There are plenty of men and women who choose polygamy through their own volition.
But for me, it was different. I prayed, and my spiritual life brought me to these shores, these shoes – if one continues the motif of the prayer.
In the sense of following the Divine, one either follows the Divine’s lead or one doesn’t. In the face of so many thinking me unwise, I have chosen to follow the Divine’s lead and step into some shoes that I would not have otherwise ever donned.
If that wasn’t intriguing enough, consider how the Divine continued:
but I guarantee these shoes are better than what you’re wearing.
Wait. What? How can something I’ve never tried on, let alone ever seen, be better than what I have? Because I’m telling you that my life with Mary has been the best thing for me.
The only way I know that the polygamous shoes are better is trust. In a sense, I have to take a leap of faith.
Now, for those who think I am heart-foolish, I want to give an analogy. When two people meet each other, let’s assume they are young and have never been married, but they meet, interact and determine that they ‘love’ each other. They don’t know the first thing about ‘love’ they simply know how they feel when around each other. When they determined to make it ‘official’ by calling the other their spouse, they have no, and I mean n-o, idea what’s in store for them in their marriage, they simply hope and possibly pray that they make it. In a phrase, they take a leap of faith.
In a sense, they have to accept that the dating shoes have taken them as far as they can, and the matrimonal shoes need to be worn. Some get (pun intended) cold feet, and don’t wear the shoes.
The Divine is encouraging me to move past my fear, to not get cold feet, and accept that the polygamous shoes -actually better stated as polygynous shoes- is the place that I need to be, and that Mary needs to be and that Rachel needs to be.
That is quite a tall order, actually. Sometimes it takes the parents and/or friends of the bride and groom (in my case, brides and groom) to encourage the one or the other, or all of them to move forward.
When I met Mary, my life seemed complete. Even with all the nonsense of the stupidness that surrounded certain events, I didn’t need encouragement to move forward, forward was where I knew I wanted to be.
But over the last few years, when all of these things happened, I truly needed the encouragement to move forward, because without the Divine, I am not so certain I could have moved forward.
So as the prayer came to a close, the Divine conveyed:
Give it up.
In other words, stop fighting yourself.
Then the Divine conveyed:
The shoe has gone as far as it can.
I had to accept that Mary and I had traveled as far as we could in our marriage.
We both gave to the Divine our lives and our marriage, as such the Divine led us to a new pair of shoes.
The Divine closed out the prayer conveying:
It’s time to put on my shoes and walk forward.
Within days of this prayer, I began writing “My Story”. In a sense, putting on the shoes, the ones provided by the Divine, and learning to walk forward.
But before I could do that, I had a couple of more prayers and a dream that affected the course of my decisions. Those I will share in the next few Installments.
Blessings and Shalom