The hardest part of writing anything for me has always been the beginning. After that, the words just seem to flow, which is not always good, but I figure better out than in, right?
So let me begin by saying that I was wrong about a great many things in my life. I won’t be able to list them all here, of course. I don’t want to crash the WordPress server. Nevertheless, I will hit the high points. Or low points, I suppose.
For most of my life, I had myself convinced I would be alone for…well, forever. It was an easy thing, because none of my relationships with women had worked out for very long, and I just figured I might as well get used to it–once anyone really got to know me, they would bolt. Happened several times.
And because I was going to be alone forever, it didn’t really matter how I lived my life, or whether or not I was healthy, or how I treated people.
When you have only yourself to hold you accountable, it’s pretty easy to rationalize anything, and any type of behavior. So that’s what I did.
I did what I wanted, and I treated others and myself shabbily, to say the least.
I was not a good and wise steward of my finances (even after coming to belief). I spent money as fast as I earned it, with no thought to any potential future. Why bother? It was just me.
God gifted me with a quick wit and a clever mind, but I didn’t use what I’d been given to glorify God in some way. Rather, I used my gifts and abilities to make fun of other people, for my own amusement, and the amusement of others.
You see, I’d found out pretty early on that it was easy for me to make people laugh, and if I did that by making fun of other people, the folks I most wanted to impress would turn their eyes on the people I mocked instead of me. I would pander to those people I deemed “cool,” or popular so they would like me, and if that happened, then I could imagine I was one of them. I could pretend I was popular and liked, too. Of course, coolness by association only lasts so long, and at the end of the day, I was little more than a jester with a sharp tongue, and no closer to being “cool” than I ever was.
My words glorified no one but myself, and not really all that much. I’ve talked before about my various vices and over-indulgences, so I won’t go really deeply into that here.
I will say that with the exception of drugs (other than alcohol), if it made me fit in better, and made me forget for even a little while that I was little more than a speck in life, then I wanted to do it, or say it, no matter who I demeaned, or in some cases, humiliated. I wanted to be seen, and if I was loud enough, or funny enough, or drunk enough, than I would likely be hard to miss.
Invisibility is both great and terrible. You want it because it keeps you safe from harm, but it also sets you apart from everyone, and all the things that you think really matter.
It took most of my life to realize that what really did matter was not something I could find by being loud, or funny, or sarcastic, at least not the way I was doing it. It wasn’t until 2000 that I realized I had always been seen.
It took years, and the death of a man I was only beginning to know to get me to go looking for truth (feel free to check out my page “Walter’s Camp” if you want to know more about that).
And the truth was the way I’d been living my life was no life at all. It was a…facade. I was too caught up in temporal things, and in trying to become part of a group of people who I thought had the answers to the questions I had, and could fill the emptiness through the middle of me, what I’d really done was set myself apart from the people who really could help me.
I’d set myself apart from God in pursuit of empty relationships with hollow people.
I told myself everything I’d been indulging in was OK because this life, here, was all there was.
I told myself I would never find happiness, or a family, and that I was better off without those things because they were only temporary, too.
I’ve never been so wrong about anything in my life.
And it wasn’t until I realized that and began to cultivate relationships with people who didn’t just want something from me, or a ride to the next party that things began to make a little more sense.
Truth is sometimes harder to believe than lies, because no matter what people say, I think it’s human nature to believe the worst of people, and sometimes of yourself.
Human nature would have us believe there can’t be a God because of how horrible things are.
Or that it’s ok to treat certain types of people differently from others based on how they look, or dress, or what they believe.
Or that if it feels good, and doesn’t hurt anyone, we should do it.
Human nature would have us fulfill every base want or perceived need we have at any cost.
It’s human nature that sets us apart from God, and God’s “not human” nature that forgives us for that deliberate isolation, when we are hard-wired for deliberate closeness with Him.
Maybe you feel that way–like you are apart from God. Maybe it feels like you always will be, because you’re too dirty to ever be made clean. Or it could be you’ve mistreated people terribly, or been mistreated even worse.
You are not apart from God–you never were.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.