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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bear's three prayes

There have been three very significant prayers in along the path of my life's journey. After much thought and reflection, I have decide to share these three prayers, and the aftermath that came with them. I do realize that some of you may not believe in such things; that's OK with me. But for me, I believe that God is alive and well, and He does intervene in our lives.

At the age of fourteen, I had one man in my life make a huge impact. Although I barely knew him, and had very little contact with him, he made one comment that forever redirected my entire life. His name was Earl Grant. He was a pastor. He said to me one day, "Mark when you hear God's calling, come see me, you are going to be one of God's firecrackers". Well, at the time I gave that very little consideration. I put that in the "that's bullshit" column and went about my life. My life? Always scared. Beaten often at home. Terrified to go asleep at night. My life within the "normal American Christian home". Accepting Christ was easy, it was the only good news, or even the possibility of something, anything better.

Prayer number 1. I am yours God.

Two years later, during my family's Sunday masquerade, God called. To this day I can't remember what was said that moved me so. But I know God called. So, I did what we do, I went forward and into the prayer room to make the call official, I guess. That day, I committed my entire life, everything I am and would ever be to Him. Where you lead I go! Of course I assumed I would have a churchy life.

From a seventeen year old young man's point of view, time dragged on and God never called back. I moved out and did my thing. Alcohol was the cool thing and I had no shortage. I did not know shit! I was one big sponge for whatever life brought. I was going no where quick. Imagine that! The military become a viable option and I jumped at it. As I sat in a Marine Recruit Depot squad bay, terrified, which the normal feeling my entire life to this point, God called again. This time I was more like, you have got to be kidding me. I was appointed to be the "Lay leader" for my platoon. This was not me, and I had no way out. It scared the shit out of me. I could hear the words "I lead you follow".

The next season was interesting. He lead me in and out of churchyness. He brought me a companion. He took me around the world with no responsibility but to simply follow. He lead me to what I perceived to be a life of ruin.

As a young twenty four year old homeless man, who had just came back to the United States from traveling extensively through ten countries, I found myself searching for meaning. The wasted human potential that was being pompously masqueraded around as the "cool" thing infuriated me. As I reflected on my burning anger, I began to ask God what the hell this is all about. Why do we compromise so much for so little? How did we become so insecure that we seek so much, so selfishly, from so many? I wanted to create some form of change around me, I needed to create change to feel like life actually mattered.

Prayer number 2; God please let me know your heart. Let me see mankind as you do so I can understand that which I see and hear.

What followed over the next several years was hell! I became violently aware of the evil hidden in the darkness. I cried in my dark isolated moments. I drank to subdue the tremendous hurt I felt everyday. I saw, heard, and felt so many desperate pleas for help around me. The magnitude of broken and rejected hearts was insurmountably. How could I have been so blind for so many years? For the first time in my life I realized, I felt the passage in the Bible that talks about downcast sheep without a Shepherd. Where the hell are the good shepherds, and why are they not dealing with all this hurt? Why do so many pile into pews like zombies and change nothing? As I wrestled with the issues of pain, I began to ask, "Where has all the love gone?" We speak of it, we write about it, but it is nowhere to be found. We have lost all understanding of what love is, what it is meant to be, and what it requires of us! My marriage was failing and I felt hopeless in the fixing. There was a lot of " he don't" and "she don't" and very little " I do" The ONLY thing that kept the one symbol of love alive in my life was commitment, opposed to love itself. It was my Vow to God, taken at the "alter of love", I was not even worried about my commitment to my wife. At the age of 34, I myself had become a downcast sheep full of hurt, rejection, hate, anger and disillusionment.

Prayer number 3. OK God, then what is your love about? How can I get some of that shit?

I was ready, once again for something else. The knowing God's heart thing absolutely sucked! Maybe, just maybe the other side of the coin was better. I now believed that evil was simply the absence of all love; yeah I had read that once, but now I had lived it, felt it, saw it. I had driven my version of love into the ground, hard. I think C.S. Lewis had it right in his book "The problem with pain". We can not understand love without understanding pain. It would seem to me that we, humanity, have this view that love is this fluffy fairy tale, wonderful happy ever after thing. Love seems to be ugly in its beauty. Harsh in its tenderness. Giving in its selfishness. As God has taken me down this path, I have begun to realize that in order for us to get, or feel love we must first forget our own need for it. We must focus only on the giving away of it. It is a paradox in-itself. I must stop searching for "the getting of it" in the face of mankind. Unconditional love is unobtainable by oneself. I can not reap it for myself. I can only sow it for others. I must forget my self, my needs, my wants and only worry about those needs around me. I become nothing, I do not matter. And somewhere, somehow I find myself more loved than ever before. My wife and I have finally found what love feels like and sounds like. All the fears of rejection, the long and tiresome pursuit for validation, and all the selfish ambition, vanish. I have come to a place where the only thing that matters is you!

My journey has been, and is, about pouring everything that I have become into you. You matter, you are valued! You are loved!

At 45 He is still leading and I am still following. I have spent most of my adult life outside the hypocritical churchy bullshit I was raised in. Obedience, guilt and fear are bedfellows. I have never found love in a pew. I have never witnessed grace or mercy in a Sunday service. As the church sleeps, the screams for love become the loudest, and God weeps the most. I approach my next prayer cautiously even though I have no idea what is next.

Thoughts?

7 comments:

Mike Barrett said...

I need to read through this again... and probably again. Very meaningful post. But I disagree with the anti-church ending. In one or two churches I have seen sacrificial love demonstration and repeated through that local church in a local community... in countless ways. It's just the broken trying to serve the broken.

Most important is your definition of love and your openness to the next "prayer" in your life. I can't wait to hear that one. Post when ready!

UBERMOUTH said...

Very touching post, Bear.

This is why I do not like organized religion[for the reeasons you outlined]. I find there need be no specifics and denominations, for God and love is, or is not,in our hearts.

I love the jewish faith for it does not isntil a sense of morality based on guilt and threats of brimstone and brimstone. These messages only make God a condemning,judgemental force instead of a benevolent all loving one.

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UBERMOUTH said...

Where are you Bear?

UBERMOUTH said...

Bear- Where are you? Don't you know that your blog is being taken over by lunatics? I have stood guard by ye ole' tree[but had to take a toilet break after a month and they kinda slipped in].

It's been 2 months[not that I am counting] but I think you've been off, praying long enough, don't you?
Oh yeah, I kinda had to eat all your honey while you were gone.

I hope that you and yours are well.

Talking Bear said...

I am here UBER. I have been very busy and I am getting ready for another long motorcycle trip. I will be posting some more pics of my latest adventures soon. Hang in there...TB

UBERMOUTH said...

:)

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