Wednesday, August 25, 2004
The bomb exploded and the poor fragile pieces of my soul ran for the bushes. They're all dug in now, in a state that is much too familiar. The body is here but I'm gone.
Two days more I have to be here. It's a retreat for Mosaic men, with games and meetings and such. They're good people. I wish I could join them, but I'll never make it. In the past when things like this have happened I've been absent for weeks, days, months. A sort of testimony to just how little involvement is really required in today's world.
The future is right now. Blank. I can't see beyond this moment. I know the track I'm on leads on down to oblivion, but is there any other option?
Well, this is a church meeting. I've seen some examples of people who seem to think God is real, and that he is interested in what the people are doing. It's different from anything else I've seen, more life-oriented, more interested in whole people. "We'll be glad to have you, no matter where you are on your spiritual journey," they said. I didn't even know I was on a spiritual journey; I was just trying to survive. Now, even that looks doubtful. The moon slowly slides across the sky and my mind is just a whirling soup of loose idea-chunks.
"God, I don't know if you're real. If you are, would you please help calm my mind so that I can learn what the truth is? What really happened back there?"
Quite quickly a stillness comes to my tired brain. I've been awake far too long, but with the calming I can think more clearly. What happened? I run the event through from the start.
We'd gotten to the conference facility just in time to get something to eat. While eating, the pastor of the church came over and told me how much he'd enjoyed the stories I wrote about my experiences in the church. His church. I wanted to crawl under the table and disappear but the best I could do was just lean my head on my hands and wait for him to go away.
Exposed! And by someone who really reads! I've gotten used to readers who notice very little. This man actually read the piece and understood. I'd become unguarded through the years of not caring, and now I found that I did, after all, care. Invisibility is the key to survival and I'd just thrown it away. So I ran away and hid internally, putting up the old automatic front to keep up appearances.
It was actually quite simple. He paid me a compliment. He liked what I wrote, and asked me to continue. The truth gradually comes out, there in that guided session in the silent cabin, and the various hiding soul-bits poke their figurative heads out of their familiar hidey-holes and see that the country is safe. At least there won't be open fighting again tonight, and the rest of the weekend looks OK.
Who could imagine it? Tell this story to the average preacher and he'll say it can't be. God isn't concerned with one man's hurting soul. He expects the man to put things together, get out there and do the work. God had, however, already shown me instances of his gentle power. This was the latest and most powerful, and I finally started to remember the God I started to know in 1971. Church ideas dragged me away.
No more. I walk as an experiment now, checking all learnings against each other. Who am I? Only God knows, and I'm finding out. Finally. Perhaps it took those 25 years away to get me to the point where I could see the truth of God instead of the assumptions.