The answer? I stop when I find myself talking to someone who isn’t there, or for that matter, who doesn’t care what I think. I stop thinking about the embarrassing moments and faux pas that crowd my mind. Then I take my antidote and think about the something that doesn’t drain me, but encourages and fills me with hope, things that are wise and spiritual. Not necessarily all holy and Jesus things, but mainly wisdom and advice I’ve gleaned from searching for escapes from the insane asylum in my head. For instance, there are places and I’ll paraphrase, in the bible where God has said, “don’t be afraid of their faces or what they say, and I’ll be with you.” Instead of thinking about an insult said to me, or about how I really screwed up this or that, I think about how my Big Daddy (my affectionate term for God) is going to help me through this and give me a decent life. That’s how I’m learning to walk instead of crawl out of anguish. Peace my friends, it’ll work out for you, don’t stop trying, don’t stop believing.
“Sometimes beautiful things come into our lives out of nowhere. We can’t always understand them, but we have to trust in them. I know you want to question everything, but sometimes it pays to just have a little faith.”
― Lauren Kate, Torment
For the first time in my life, I’ve got insurance on most things I own. This gives me incredible peace of mind, and I realized, “Why don’t I feel this same sense of protection and relief when I contemplate God’s care and oversight?” I’ve made an investment in material insurance which leads me to believe that I have purchased the protection and therefore will get it. But how do I “purchase” God’s favor and protection? Or can I? The currency of the spiritual is faith and I must invest it on this insurance policy. But many times God has superseded my investment by providing what I needed with no provocation or allowance from me. I was spiritually bankrupt ignoring my spiritual responsibilities and He still came to my rescue. So why can’t I relax and enjoy the fact that God will bail me out if trouble comes? It’s like having a policy and not knowing what it covers, if I don’t know I won’t feel that relief or worse I won’t be covered over a particular disaster. So how do I know what my policy covers? I have to read the paperwork. This is the bible, a book written by people under the inspiration of God. We know that people wrote it and men decided which writings were shall we say “inspired” and not “perspired”. That means how the heck do I know that this “policy” set forth in the bible is correct? How do I know my experience is correct? Were my particular provisions set about by me or God? These are hard things to grapple and I struggle to find my feet in faith. I do know that in more than a few instances there were no ways out but through, shall I say. the miraculous. I choose to call this Divine intervention and I believe. But damn if my soul isn’t torn in half trying to understand the whole faith and God thing. I do believe, but I struggle and fret trying to find out my role in this life.
“and it was he who some fifteen feet down spotted the body of the young man floating like uprooted seaweed, upward, a brilliant white in the underwater space, and it was he who grabbed the body under the arms and brought him up, and also he who made the young man vomit all the water he had swallowed.” ― Roberto Bolaño, 2666
Wave after wave full of debris. It’s not just the water, it’s the stuff in the water that hurts. I’ve learned through years of playing in these waves, how to hold my breath to wait out the turbulence above. Being beneath the ocean isn’t always a bad thing, but necessary for my survival as I dive into the deep to let the rolling trouble pass. Lately I’m a land dweller and though having never entered the ocean for years, I can still learn from those water bound lessons. It’s not so much the living, the actual breathing and going through the days that brings the danger, but its the stuff that’s in the living that hurts.
There are many ways I’ve held my breath to get under the trouble. Substances, relationships, danger seeking (i.e. adrenaline junkie), have all held me below. With all this avoidance and struggle its nice when I see a boat. That’s how God intervened in my life. He sailed through the storm and found me gurgling and diving just to survive the day. With loving hands he picked me up, asking nothing from me. I never made promises to Big Daddy (that’s my affectionate name for God), saying “I’ll do this or that if you save me”, I was just a panic ridden, scared to death young man who needed the rescuing power of God which He was happy to provide.
You may not appreciate this power to rescue but believe me, when trouble comes and your life ebbs, you’ll grab any hand. Though not just anyone could save me because I have this tendency to jump right back into the frothy waters, that’s all I knew how to do. His hand not only rescued me but gently held me in the boat long enough to help me expel the water I swallowed and show me that I can ride the waves for exhilaration. That’s the wonder and love I have for Big Daddy, he teaches me a better way. So here I go, pushing ahead to the other side fully aware that though I feel like the waters will swallow me, I’ll still be saved.