For those that have read my writings over the last year know that I can be a compassionate writer of my past life, but also one of humor, and sarcasm. I decided to start off 2018 on a serious note but will be back to my same old self quite soon. Why do I want to kick off the new year like this?
Have a bit of patience, and let me answer that question first by laying the cornerstone of my life and the house that has been built on that.
I started my life at a very young age. In fact, I was a baby, innocent and with no beliefs of hatred or selfishness which seem to be developed over years by life and that can create a hardened callous-covered heart if a person does not have positive, loving, unselfish role models. Additionally, I was born into the Jewish faith, one of which I will always be proud of no matter what belief I have which has been an ever-changing development in my life.
Personally, being Jewish is more than a faith. It is a people and a history of pain, suffering, and an endless desire to learn, to be the best we can be, and to help others. A friend, whose parents lived in Nazi Germany, shared with me knowledge her parents drilled into her. A group of people can take everything from you, but they cannot take your mind.
I grew up during my foundation years in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood during the time our country was experiencing a very rebellious era. For the years prior to the age of ten, I was protected from the world-- the rule was I could not leave the block I lived on. My circle of friends was very limited.
From the age of ten, I started to meet new people who moved into our neighborhood, and that influenced me in a way that I started to question things. Why were people of my faith so sad looking? Why did they wear black and white shirts? Why didn't they shave their beards? I did not want to be like that.
During the ages of 12 and 13, there were major changes in my life that would put me on a new path of uncertainty, seeking answers to questions. We moved from the city to the suburbs and shortly after, the Patriarch of our family, my grandfather who was the major role model in my life, died. That began my period of feeling lost, not in a geographical directional sense, which I usually am, but in a spiritual one. I needed answers then, more than any time up to that point in my life.
It was about this time the first of eight interventions happened to offer answers to my questions, doubts, and peace to my angry mind.
When I was 13, I met a boy at school. His name was Steve, and he turned into my new best friend. He took me to his Awana group. I was enthusiastic about going to the meeting and would secretly study in my bedroom, memorizing the lessons, after all, I was Jewish and if my father found out, it would not bode well for me.
I found I was hungry for learning this new religion. It was one of peace and friendship. It did not have an angry and jealous God, or one who sent people into battle, but a loving father with time to be present whenever I needed.
Even though my friend introduced me to Christianity, he did not try to convert me. He was just being a good friend who offered his time to help me deal with issues I was having in my life.
The years went by and I did not follow any religion because I was too wrapped up with my life. I was not an atheist because I did believe there was something.
My second intervention was at the end of April 1992. I was going through a divorce and had no idea where my children were. I did not want to go to my house. Night after night, I hated going to the quiet, dark, and empty home. A co-worker named Ken was telling me to pray to Jesus for help.
Boy, did I pray! I was praying more than there are Smiths and Joneses in the phone directory. I was praying at work. I was praying at home. I was praying in bed, and in the shower.
One night as I was driving home from work, I suddenly heard a voice in the back seat of my car. I did look to see if anyone was there, but the car was empty. Okay, before you think I was just hearing voices, I can tell you it was clear as a cloudless sky.
In fact, the night became light and I saw all the trees along the road AND the stars.
The voice said, "Do not be afraid, for I have given you all of this. I have given you life. I have given you the beauty. I have given you strength."
Okay, so here I was fully charged with energy. After pulling up to my dark, empty house, I parked the car and got out. I RAN up to the door. I JUMPED up the stoop. Ken pulled up behind me and he asked me if I was okay. My hands were shaking; I fumbled as I tried to put the key in the door. I THRUST the door open, and I just felt ELECTRIFIED!
I turned on the light and turned to Ken. I told him, I heard a voice. I didn't know if it was an angel, Jesus, or God. But I HEARD someone talking to me.
Ken walked up to me and hugged me. I was crying. I FINALLY had relief and was no longer scared, or worried. He told me I experienced something he said very few people truly have. It has been almost 26 years since I went through that, and a charge still comes through me and a tear to my eye as I recall it.
Yet, even though that happened, and my sons came back to be with me, I was so overwhelmed by life, I once again fell into the pattern of daily living, except I did do something a little different this time. I made sure my sons were baptized.
Being a stubborn person who needed to rationalize a physical existence, I still wasn't committed to just handing my life over to a spiritual someone else and just have faith. I needed to be in control. I had to raise, feed, pay bills, and whatever physical requirements needed to be accomplished.
The years drifted by and my life continued on. My sons grew up and moved on to building their own lives.
As an aside, an interesting experience happened in 2016 during the holidays. I gave each of my sons a Christian Bible for Christmas as part of their gifts. I wrote an inscription in each.
My younger son went to New York for a short period of time. He had some valuables in his car as most young people do. He went to a gas station to get coffee and while in the store, he watched as his car was stolen. The brazen thieves drove his car away. He reported it to the police, and they did nothing, even though everything was caught on video.
He took it upon himself to find his car. Even though it was smashed up and all his books, some clothing, and a camera I had given him were taken, they left behind one thing— the Bible. They selfishly took all materialist things that will not last, but left a collection of wisdom that has lasted centuries.
The 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th interventions will bring me up to date.
At the end of March 2017, I moved to a new town. This is where I met my third intervention. In hindsight, I believe this one was with the Devil disguised as a human. He offered his disguised cloven hoof as a hand to me, claimed he also was Jewish and smiled. He told me that he and I were the only ones in the town, and tried to make me believe he had my best interests at heart and I had a friend.
What he didn't know was what was in my mind. He also did not know the power of the combined efforts of the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth interventions and the hundreds of good people surrounding me that would be connected to the first intervention started many years earlier.
Being a non-denominational person, I wandered to the closest church which was across the street. This is where the fourth intervention happened.
An elder named John walked up to me and welcomed me. I said in a quiet voice, I needed to warn him I had not been to church for many years, and in fact, was Jewish. He laughed and invited me in any way putting away his holy water squirt gun.
Over the next month and a half, I went to church every Sunday, Men's Bible study on Thursdays, and one eventful Wednesday Bible study at his home.
During my time in this new town, I was seen as an "outsider" to the powers in charge. The Devil, (my landlord), said I had to leave the town.
My fifth intervention came at the Wednesday Bible study the day after I was told I had to move. John asked Pastor T. if she knew anyone that had property in the area I could move to. She and the group prayed, and God opened up an opportunity. One hour later, I had a new place to call home. The Devil lost yet again.
Before I moved, I experienced my sixth intervention. It was at a church dinner at a pizzeria. To my right sat a man who told me about a pastor that used a chainsaw to cut a hole in the wall because he was tired of his request to expand the church being ignored. John laughed being the jovial chap he was. It turned out that the man telling the story was indeed the chainsaw wielder. I dubbed him the Chainsaw Pastor. To my left sat a young man about the age of thirty. He was close to completing his training to be a pastor. He was married to Pastor T, who sat across from him. I was literally physically surrounded by men and women who had dedicated their lives to their faith.
My seventh intervention came after I moved to my new town where I presently live.
A man walked into a store I was working at and asked if he could hang a poster for a charity event for a local food pantry. He introduced himself as Jim, a retired pastor.
Over the next seven months, we have built a solid friendship. He may be a retired pastor, but he also motivated many students to compete successfully in state competitions as a track coach. He has completed an Ethics book he started two decades ago and is helping me with my book. He also is a retired professor. Most importantly, he is a loving husband and father.
Jim has a secret talent. He is an excellent angler. He knows how to let the fish take the hook, let it run, and has the ability to have the fish reel itself in. Why do I say this?
He knows of my faith and must understand my struggle. He knows I have questions. He invited me to the church he goes too, yet doesn't expect me to attend. He treats me like an equal, even though he has attained so much more than I.
The eighth intervention was December 31, 2017. As I sat in the pew listening to Pastor D, as she read some of the Resolutions of Jonathon Edwards.
The first resolution:
"Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit "and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.”
After hearing that, something happened. I didn't hear the rest of what she said. My mind went somewhere else.
As I sat in the pew my mind started to drift. My eyes went up to the familiar statue of a man on a cross. I admired the craftsmanship. Then I started to wonder. Why was he light-skinned, blue-eyed, neatly trimmed man? Why not the darker skinned man with dark eyes more true to the people of the Middle East? Would he not be worshipped if portrayed that way?
The white noise of the pastor continued to fill my ears while my mind continued to process and question.
Suddenly, it struck me. God and Jesus take the form of whomever the audience is. To me, I thought of physical beings, when in actuality, they are not physical. They can be whatever they want to be. We say God created the Universe, yet how many Universes are there? Did he/she create all of them or one of them?
My mind went into hyperdrive. The neurons were firing information to the point of where 'Enlightenment" happens. One of the questions I've asked for many years was being answered somehow.
I simply cannot equate God and Jesus with being a man, woman, or whatever the human eye has to see, the ears to hear, or the mind to believe.
I believe this is an energy I am dealing with. It lives in everything that is on and of the Earth. It lives in us, lives around us...answering my question as to how God is available to everyone at any moment anywhere. He/she is not a physical being. The statement I am a temple takes on real meaning. 2 Corinthians 6:16 (No more junk food for me)
This energy as I think is not limited to those that began the crusade to spread Christianity all over the world using whatever means they thought proper. It has existed in my mind, prior to the beginning of what we humans call Time. We cannot comprehend 'ehyeh '?šer 'ehyeh" I Am That I Am" Exodus 3:14.
I see it when I photograph a tree, a flower, or even a hawk sitting on a branch that I capture in flight spreading its wings to glide effortlessly through the sky. It is the beauty of all things that we see, hear, smell, taste, feel, and become one with.
It is with Native Americans; it is with Egyptians; it is located in the Bosnian Pyramids (future article) which I knew nothing about until I met a very interesting woman named Jan. In the few conversations, we've had, she has put forth to me new and exciting things to learn about and question.
It is also the darkness of a mind for as with positive there is negative that does things we see as evil, yet is needed to have homeostasis of existence.
Therefore, with this new awakening, I dedicate each day to myself to be a better person spiritually and to continue on my journey of questioning and seeking answers.
AUTHORS NOTE: I am not advocating any certain religion. I joke that I have the benefit of double indemnity, being Jewish and accepting what I see to be the spirit or energy, which many call Jesus.
Until next time, Shalom, and Peace, K’e be with you. Where did I put that peyote?