Saturday, September 30, 2006


Laughing While Holding

In the dream I was riding a hand-cycle. I don't know what was wrong with my legs. The hand-cycle had a fairing. Around me were men holding rocks, and high-quality bicycles leaning everywhere. The implication was that the men were there to destroy the bikes, assuming they didn't turn their attention to me. It was a brief dream, a kinetic moment, a flash of scene. I don't know how it turned out. I work up, feeling God holding me.

God has been effusive in his care for me, but this was special. Any time He is this close I know it's for a reason, and the reason usually has to do with self-destruction.

So, yes, there are humorous aspects. I watched my brother get teased mercilessly in his various romantic involvements and decided I'd preserve my sanity by staying out of it. The odds were against success anyway. My brother killed himself some years back, and the only reason I'm still here is that I found a more flexible balance between self-destruction and living. The balance included ruthlessly suppressing any tendency toward handing any of my eggs to anyone else for safekeeping. Now God has proven that he cares more for the hidden, fragile parts of my soul than I do. He's not one of those dark men holding rocks. He designs paths and with subtle nudges that can easily be ignored guides those who choose to pay attention. No matter how improbable it might be.

I conceived of my previous post here as an Email directly to my friend. I ran various versions through my mind and then realized it would work better as a Blog entry. Then I sent her an Email to tell her about it. Her response was a surprise.

I just sort of automatically assume that everyone knows more than I do. Women are born knowing how to relate to others, right?

The first line of defense is long stretches of empty ground. Make others approach you. Women never do this; they're taught that men always make the first move. I thought I was safe. I met her at one of the parties I manage in Until Uru and we talked a little bit. The party is something of a marathon; we start early so Europeans can dance and then just keep going until west coast U.S. nighttime. By the later part I'm tired. I play slower music, and the party becomes more thoughtful and there's time for conversation. That's when she asked me to meet someplace privately for ... something. I said yes. Notice how easily she ignored the long walk.

Next defensive line is more immediate. I'm not good at small talk. Ask me how the 49ers are doing and I have no idea. As usual, though, obstacles I don't control caused problems. Something came up and we couldn't meet. We tried again and something else came up. On the third attempt we actually managed to meet, and then two other people landed where we were. At this point I was ready to admit failure, that the Cosmic Principle just wasn't going to let this happen. Look back in my past and you can see a zillion examples of this: no sooner does something get started than the phone rings, or some other thing. It's just not worth it. My friend doesn't give up that easily, and once we finally managed to meet she didn't bother with the 49ers or the weather. We talked about God and churches and life. She made it look easy and I just followed along.

It turns out to have been no easier for her than for me. Her story is as unlikely as mine, and our situation reminds me of a dating agency for porcupines. Also brings up questions about how shy people meet. The main thing I see is that God can do anything. After all, porcupines do get together. Maybe I should start calling myself Porcupine instead of Lord Chaos.

The chaos idea fits, though, because once something good happens to me I bring in my very own wrecking ball, dynamite crew, big rocks and chainsaws. I used to treat this all as just something I did. Small problem, part of who I am. Everyone puts up with this kind of thing, right? It's also a good reason for not getting involved with anyone else: don't want to get into a relationship and then have to disappear. Better not to start. Kind of too late for that now; I'm well down the slope.

This is typical of God. He started with kindness, separating the warring factions when I asked for his help three years ago and keeping me from tearing myself apart that night. Now I know that self-destruction is basic to my way of living. Leaning on me is dangerous because I will fail. If I don't fail I will blow up the foundation. God absorbs the explosions, though, and is imperturbable.

So, two people come wandering out of the dark and meet in God's grace and light. What will come of this? All I can say is that for a day, a month, years, it will be unique in all the world.

two by two and it's me and you falling from a yellow sky
it doesn't really matter if the coast is clear
just as long as you're not telling me lies

dreams are a kite on a windy day
free as a boat by the pier
and i can see it's always me
holding her here
holding her here

by the law of the ground my feet were bound
made to levitate towards the core
and try as you might you just can't fly
but the secret is to separate your mind

dreams are a kite on a windy day
free as a boat by the pier
and i can see it's always me
holding her here
holding her here

sitting in my chair i could be anywhere
when you turn for my reply
did you know i could go as you watch out
from your window i'll be sailing by

dreams are a kite on a windy day
free as a boat by the pier
and i can see it's always me
holding her here
holding her here

--Sinéad Lohan, "Sailing By"

Thursday, September 28, 2006


God is Chuckling

You can only build defenses against known problems. This is how God got my attention a few years back: an honest, down-to-earth man. Then a man whose main interest is in following Jesus, and then the people of the church that he heads. It's like walking through a series of concentric strong walls, each of which has an undefended doorway in it.

I left the doorways because I knew that complete walls would kill. If the wrong thing found the right way I'd get killed too, but the alternative slow strangulation was worse. I could see that in the lives around me. So, God walked the labyrinthine passage and entered the inner sanctum, where no one else can come.

He could have turned on a flame-thrower and laid waste the whole of my soul. He could have laughed at my defenses and shown how easy it was for him to walk around the walls. He could have done anything and I wouldn't have resisted; I was in bad enough shape to just let anything happen. All he really said was "Remember me?" Then he simply held me for a time.

Since then we have walked. I've tried to throw him out. I've succeeded in the short term but I always sell myself out. Once that particular sun has shone on your world there is nothing else that comes close, and I find myself very surprised as I turn to face him again and ask for his help in walking the way he wants. It's a back and forth thing.

A few nights back I was feeling particularly scattered so I asked God to just... hold me. I needed to sleep. I spent most of the night awake, and it took a couple of days to understand that. Inside me, it seems is a very scared little boy. God reaches out to hold and that boy just panics. No touch can be kind. No touch is for the sake of healing. It's for forcing in a certain direction, it's for overwhelming my defenses, it's to make me do things that fit society more than they fit me. I realized after a time that if God really wanted to do those things, no effort on my part could stop him. He could tear me apart as easily as he sang the universe into being.

What he wants to do is more difficult than any of that: have that little boy turn to Him and smile. Hard to imagine, but God is very creative, very patient, and knows exactly what to do.

Why is he chuckling now? Because I have recently had someone else walk the labyrinth and end up on the threshold of the inner garden. In the same way God did it, she just wandered along and followed the path through the undefended doorways. Why defend against the impossible?

I'll admit that I know nothing of romance and intimate relationships. I can handle the words and when the relationship becomes too close I can use words to deflect the view, like mirrors. In the past I've not differentiated between closeness and danger: if they're close they're dangerous, the alarm sounds and I go into full-on defense mode. It's the same system that makes me run from God. Having recently settled some of that I now find myself in the same situation wondering about this new friend. I doubt that she's interested in hurting me. The alarm still sounds, though, and I'm poised to run. God invites me to hold on, face what's happening, and just keep walking until we all find out what happens next.

I have no idea if her interest in me is anything beyond the intellectual. We've had some intense conversations, but will she be patient?

The timing is interesting. Within days of getting some clarity on this threatened little boy I get into a situation that would have him running for the hills, but he's waiting. Trembling, confused and not knowing what to do, but still here.

I don't know what love is. God is willing to teach. The world will never be the same.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006



God brings light. Shining in the darkness. What happens to those whose survival depends on skulking in dim shadows? Shadows hide the tender, the soft, the fragile from the harsh examination and withering effects of the hot searchlight. Cool damp shade is the place to be.

God is light. Those who would live with him must make some sort of accommodation with that light. Honesty, humility (in its real sense of knowing the truth and not expanding it), but what else might be hiding in the shadows? What kind of person might I be if I could show everything to God?

People's frequent response to the strange is to laugh, especially if the crowd of commoners is on their side. Mob versus Larry. I seek the shadows, alone. God shines his light and I flinch. Light is hot, dry, blasting, and given a choice between Junkyard Dog and God, I go for protection automatically.

What if I'm wrong about this? What if it's my own assumption about what God wants to do that makes me fear him? What if his light is actually gentle... sent for the sake of life, not to destroy... and what if, even more radical, he's not there to laugh at what His light shows but to help me see what I'm doing and then more miraculous yet, help me to change it?

I do have some experience with this kind of thing. Not everyone is ready to laugh. Some accept who I am, but still I wonder if they see the even better hidden things behind what they've already seen, what then? Still, acceptance? I doubt it.

The time is coming, however. God may soften his light but he never stops shining. I wonder what kind of world we'd have if people allowed their own light to shine instead of all the crippling we endure. The brighter you shine the more of a target you are.

There is a depth and roundness to the idea of dying to self that the usual guilt-ridden superficial homilies and devotionals just don't get into. New Age thinkers tend to call it baggage. Whatever your metaphor, the core idea is dying to self... and then becoming a new self. People talk about the dying but not the living afterward, and how the two process run together. It's difficult but not impossible, when aided by the Holy Spirit. Step by step, down and up at the same time. Old assumptions die slowly.

Monday, September 11, 2006



I've had lots of ideas for things to write about but haven't done it here. A public Blog like this is rather impersonal and exposed for the things going on.

Part of the problem I have is that I don't understand why anyone bothers to tell stories. Our society suffers under a glut of words. There are more words out there than one person could handle if given 28 lifetimes. The cup overflows and it's easy for me to imagine my words being the first to go on the floor.

That is, however, my characteristic self-defense. Life is very delicate. It runs on belief. If I believe that I'm worthless then who in hell would want to have anything to do with me? Self-reinforcing prophecy and reaction. My beliefs have a strong effect on where I go and what happens, and this is safer than trying to believe that anyone really does care. It's better to stay down than to get up and then get knocked down. Again.

The real problem is that I'm the one doing the knocking down. I look for attackers. There aren't any. Well, there are, but they have only the power that I give them.

So, what is the answer? The answer is a real left-field, blue sky bolt from the edge of the land of improbabilities. Way back when God gave me a hand and a restart I set out in a certain way. No lies. No Christian church bullshit. I was going to find out the truth, if there were any truth to this stuff. I figured to get hit by lightning or at least kicked into reality after a few months; a short period of playing around at humanity and then God would whip me into line. I imagined God starting his tolerance timer, waiting impatiently for me to get this personal stuff out of the way and buckle down to the task at hand.

Well, actually, God was laughing. Gently, but amused. It turns out that he has a real soft spot for anyone who asks for the truth. The path that I thought so strange turns out to have led straight to his heart. One time I asked God why he bothered. He said it was because he liked watching me do things. Solving problems, making things. My response was to quit making things. Too wild. Another time I told him I wasn't worthy of any of this. He said of course I wasn't. That's what Jesus did. And then he promised he'd deal with my depression. I expected some kind of mechanical answer: relationships, works, something.

Here we are, three years into this experiment, and the answer turns out to be very simple in statement, but uniquely complex, detailed and wondrous in execution. The solution for depression? The solution for the Junkyard Dog that keeps smashing the delicate structure that is my soul? The way to survive another day of a life I never really wanted and still don't understand? God's face.

There is no mechanical, self-supporting answer. God isn't in business to give someone a toolkit and then turn him loose. The answer is God Himself. I got hints of this three years ago and the idea has only grown stronger with more proof added on. Each time, the answer is to look at Jesus.

I don't really know why. Well, I do know why. I just have a hard time believing it. What kind of sucker am I for buying this invisible friend stuff? Why does God give me special attention when the whole world needs Him? Perhaps because, after all those years of working on other ways, I'm one who decided to listen. I think God gave me the gift of listening when he made me, and has encouraged that ever since the day I was born. For some reason I didn't tune him out.

What do you fill your mind with? What kinds of distractions do you use to get through the day? Industrial Christianity can certainly do that. Movies, books, cell phones, Ipods, television, all the rest of modern culture's favored ways of distancing the real world. For the hard-core there are drugs of all kinds. I have to admit that many of those are attractive to me, preferred to the raw need of looking at Jesus.

That's all it is. There is nothing elegant. I follow Jesus because I need him. Day by day. And you know something? I doubt it will ever get better. I've thought that eventually I'd be strong enough to sort of loose the lines that connect us; after all, how patient can he be for a life-long nursing gig? Every day brings the same solution: go deeper. Become ever more dependent.

I know this sounds nuts. Answers built on top of this haven't come to much yet. I still have no motivation, but we're talking about that. How does one who doesn't care learn to care? I don't know yet, but I'll bet the answer has something to do with becoming even closer to Jesus. When all else has failed, I have nothing to lose by going the nutty direction. There is still some use for desperation.

So, Lu, does this answer your question?

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