Random Memories

Every so often I think of this man I once knew. I met him at a party. Well actually his party since he was the host. As with all parties, I helped in the kitchen to avoid socializing in large crowds. It was my job to prepare and pass out the Jello shots. There were lots of friends there and we all had a really great time!

But late in the evening- when everyone else was passing out and just a few people could get intimate in their dialogue… (my favorite part of a party)… I found that him and I were alone with the opportunity to discuss life and love… (my favorite but very general topics). Our conversation surprised me or I should say “stuck with me” in a strange way. This man, Dan… the sociable host and I connected on a very deep level. He told me how much of a struggle it was living without his daughter after the divorce with his wife and how hard she made it for him to see the sweet little “love of his life.” He was kind, but in so much pain! We chatted a few times on the phone after that but then I started overthinking, “I’m only 21, he’s 40-something. I shouldn’t lead him on because when it comes down to it, I cannot date someone that much older!” I felt like he had been giving the vibe that he wanted more than I could give, so I made a polite excuse not to hang out with him. I didn’t hear from him again after that. It made me sad, but I figured it was just the ways of dating.

Several years later in talking with an old friend, it came to my attention that shortly after that time, he blew his brains out with a gun. I know that it had nothing to do with me. I know that it had to have been about the hopelessness in not seeing his little girl. But I think, what if I had just accepted the invitation to hang out with him? What if I had just been there as a friend? What if I had just listened instead of letting my ego hinder the flow of brotherly love? What could I have done? What should I have done?

I also know that I cannot be anybody’s savior. I could not have saved him from himself and his demons. Nonetheless, I could have guided him to somebody who could have helped him through his struggles… who could help him to overcome those demons.

Now-a-days, it is so hard for me to reject people. There are people who are weird, who are homeless, who seem lost, or who seem really happy but something just doesn’t feel right… All people need our love! Because this conversation, this friendship, this moment might be exactly what they need to get through this tough time or that convinces them to step back from the ledge. You never know who’s on the brink… Ready… with their finger on the trigger.

You just never know.

Is it faith or just stupidity?

Discussion in my family has centered on faith recently. My mother- who has been an Elijah and I her Elisha wishing for a double portion of her spirit when she has gone from this earth (2 Kings 2:9)- has struggled with what it means to have faith. It seems so simple… She has lived by faith all my life. It is who she is… A faithful woman! But this issue is not only about faith- in her mind- it is about faith in what? What does God want her to have faith in? It has become an issue that makes faith, “Easier said than done.” Yet again and again, she is told “Just have faith.” Her frustration is paramount because she seeks a yes or no answer- “Have faith in which side,” she wonders! Her dilemma has led me to consider my own journey of faith. Am I living in faith? Should I be a better model to her and others as to what faith means or what we should have faith in?

My story begins- like many others- with the traumas of childhood, which are manifested in my character today. After my dad’s accident, we were dirt poor- not in spirit, but in the worldly construct of money and possessions. We grew up rationing, sacrificing, and humbling ourselves before the Lord. Although my mother had faith that we would be fed, have a place to live, and have all our needs met- as promised by God (Philippians 4:19), we still felt it. We knew we had less than everyone else: Often, others in our social circles would remind us that we were less because we had less. Despite her best efforts to keep us ignorant of our circumstances, we grew up never feeling financial abundance… It is uncomfortable now. I feel as though “if I have… then I must get rid of.” Whether it be a splurge or a donation to someone in need… All my pockets have holes.

Consider the lilies. Consider the lilies. Over and over I have reminded myself not to worry about having enough… God provides! This verse (Matthew 6: 25) has meant so much to me that I tattooed lilies on my arm as homage to God’s promises. Yet it goes beyond “having enough” to truly feeling “abundant.” When my mild OCD spikes, I calculate as a way to self-soothe. I calculate my budget. I calculate the same numbers a different way. Again, another scenario. I feel better when I make the list, deduct, add, cross off… Pen on paper… Action when I am otherwise stuck with these debts. I secretly hope that money will appear out of nowhere to get rid of it while I replay my mother’s pattern of “not letting the kids feel in lack.” But sometimes, I feel inspired to share my struggle and why I can’t fulfill my own desires, only their wants and needs. “Mommy, have you taken any stones off your mountain?” My mountain- a great sturdy force looming toward the heavens- blocking the path between me and my dreams- casts a long shadow on my spirit. “No sweetie, not yet.” I hate it, but that part in me- from childhood- has become way too comfortable here. Consider the lilies. May God “grant [me], according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit [in me]… Grounded in love… Unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in [me]” (Ephesians 3: 14-21).

Conceptually I knew to feel abundance versus lack. Yet, no one had told the child in me that I am not poor! It has only been these past couple of years that I have acted in abundance. I had jumped- took leaps of faith- trusted in God. Now I live in abundance! I thank God each day for those blessings. However, I still feel in lack when I consider “that time when I won’t get a paycheck.” I have a small savings for it but I look at my mountain and get overwhelmed and anxious. I still feel like I’m drowning. I am flailing my arms trying to survive when all I need to do is… stand up! Better yet, all I need to do is take the cloak that has fallen onto me and strike the river (think wrapping a wet towel to fling at someone) so that I may cross on dry land (2 Kings 2: 14). But how do I do that? How do I turn metaphorical imagery into real action?

My rational brain says, Don’t be stupid! You are putting yourself at risk. Just keep doing what you are doing… Your situation will eventually change. You just need to get through the summer. But living in fear and doubt is contrary to God’s plan that we “have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him” (Ephesians 3: 12). Our rational minds keep us tethered to the 3D realm and I… I was born into living a life beginning in no less than the 6th dimension (hahaha)! How dare my mind pull me down! I am an heir to the riches of the glory of God! I declare this debt be gone! I declare abundance. Child in me, I am not in lack anymore. I have inherited the riches and glory of God through Christ! Now… Take up the cloak and…

Walk across!

I can’t answer my own question on how to make the imagery real except…

May we boldly ascend to higher dimensions of faith through love, not fear!