People have always told me, “You just need to have faith.” I would ask the tough questions (even as a kid) and my parents, preachers, and Sunday school teachers would all say the same thing, “You’ve just gotta have faith. There are some things that you’re just not meant to know! If you really had faith, you wouldn’t ask such questions. You’d just believe the Bible as is.” I took this to mean, “God’s not about truth - just believing - so… believe!”
Well… I couldn’t. I kidded myself for a while. I played along, going to Sunday school, church, and family functions and I convinced myself that I was Christian. But, it was all an illusion. I went off to college and the “knowledge” I found there was too alluring. It became my god, for it seemed to satisfy my thirst for truth way better than all that, “Don’t question - just believe!” stuff the church was feeding its sheep. I went astray and headed for higher, greener pastures, but Jesus left the ninety-nine and gave me another chance on June 24, 2003.
Over the subsequent twenty-odd years, the appeal of “knowledge” had lost much of its luster. I had acquired as much of it as I needed to satisfy my “thirst”. My worldview was set in concrete, and, besides, I had long since replaced that god with a goddess... my second wife. I worshipped the ground she walked upon! On June 20th of 2003, it had become clear, after living in a fog of uncertainty for the previous 6 years, that she had chosen a life devoted to an addiction over one devoted to me and our family, and, since I was addicted to her, I crashed... and crashed hard!
She left, leaving me with two small children. She... “stole” the love of my life. She murdered my goddess. She hated me, and I hated her for doing so. I mean... I was a “good” guy. I couldn’t believe that she had chosen a life devoted to drug abuse over one devoted to a man that worshiped the ground she walked upon. She actually said, as she took our children for her first “visitation” with them, “I hate you and want nothing further to do with you for the rest of my life!” She said that in the driveway to our “home” just before getting in her car and driving off with our children. I didn’t know what to say, so I just mindlessly said, “Well, I guess I’ll just move all your stuff out into a storage unit.” She drove off. I stood there.
That was a Friday. That was the Friday, June 20th... 2003. I spent the next two days emptying my house of her stuff. Sunday evening June 22nd came - I was exhausted - physically - emotionally - totally. As I was loading the last bits of her stuff onto my trailer to take to the rented storage unit, the reality of what was going on collapsed upon me like a ton of bricks. I was carrying a small decorative wire basket that contained her ponytail holders and barrettes to the trailer, and there it was... in the basket - her hair, intertwined in the items it contained. I was carrying “pieces” of my life out of my life... forever!
I broke. I looked into the night sky through the ceiling of my garage and wailed at a God that I didn’t believe in, “Just fix her and I’ll believe!” A lump developed in my throat and I sobbed uncontrollably, but the lump remained, like a cancerous growth, unrelieved by the intense sobbing. The next day found the lump unaffected as well. Neither time nor emotional release reduced the size of the lump in my throat. I couldn’t bear this alone. I called a “preacher man” that my “wife” and I had done some marriage counseling with a few months back, and told him of the dire straits through which I was traveling - of how urgently that I needed help. He could see me at 4:00 that afternoon. I went. I poured my self out like a liquid upon the table between us. I was, like a liquid with out a container, just there, ready, willing, and able to take the shape of whatever “container” could be found for me.
This was the greatest gift: the God of the universe reached down through His creation, and provided a vessel to contain me - to support me- to give me shape and direction. This vessel was called... Jesus. He scooped me up and carried me, but He only did this in response to my obedience to the “shape” of the vessel that He was. Before... I was hard - was... frozen in a shape of my choosing. It was only now, in this “liquid” state, that I could take the shape that He had designed for me. The “preacher man” that sat before me - that the God of the universe had seen fit to place before me at that time and in that place - instructed me as to three key aspects of the “shape” of the vessel that was Jesus.
First, he said that I had “prayed” an improper “prayer” when I wailed at God, “Just fix her and I’ll believe!” He said that my wife had free will and that she had to choose to... “be fixed” - that God would not fix her against her will. He suggested that I reword the “prayer” that I had “prayed” the night before. Secondly, he said that I had made a god out of her and that there was no room in my heart for God because she filled it. I concurred and asked what I needed to do about it. He said that I should write a letter, releasing her back to God so that He could be free to work on her. He said that I didn’t necessarily need to give the letter to my “wife” - that the letter was more for me - from me to God. And thirdly, this man of God said that I was harboring hatred and resentment towards my wife and others that were instrumental in her drug abuse and addiction, and that I needed to let it go and forgive all those who had wronged me whether they had asked for it or not. He said that this hatred and resentment was blinding me - preventing me from “seeing” God.
I did as the “preacher man” had suggested. I “conformed” to the “walls” of the Vessel that the “preacher man” had presented me. At the time, I had no idea what I had done, for I had... unleashed the power of the God of the universe to affect change in me, which, in turn, had unleashed the power of the God of the universe to affect change through me in all those within my circle of influence - to include my wife. Though I was unaware of it, a chain reaction had begun that would continue and will continue until the day I draw my last breath here on Earth. He fixed her by fixing me. All the while - during all those years while I was trying to “fix” my wife - it was me who was broken in the first place.
This was the most pivotal moment of my entire life! I could choose to ignore this man’s advice and return to an empty home, uh, an empty house, to deal with this hurt alone, or I could choose to take his advice, forgive others, and give it all to God to handle. I chose… to give it all to God! I called the one person I most resented on this Earth, I should honestly say, “hated,” and I forgave her. I just called her over the phone and forgave her. She was stunned. She probably though it was some sort of sick joke at first; and, anyway, an immense weight was removed from me.
The next morning, the morning of the 24th, I was standing before a window at work in the midst of a conversation with two coworkers, and all of a sudden, every hair on my body stood up, my vision became pinpricks of light, and the voices of my coworkers began to sound muffled. It were as though I was deep in a dream that came to me after having dozed off in a room filled with activity. Though I was “aware” of this activity, it was distracting. It took from my dream. I had to finish it! I had to get out of there before they… “woke me up”. I grabbed my car keys and walked out of the room with my coworker in mid-sentence. I drove.
For forty-five minutes or so I drove until this phenomenon, whatever it was, subsided. Slowly, my vision came back and the muffled sound of the voices on my car radio became clearer. Then... I noticed it - the lump in my throat was gone! An overwhelming joy had replaced it! I... had been... indwelled! It was amazing! I had no fear - no anxiety - no angst. It seemed I instinctively knew where to go and what to do. I was... drawn here, there, and yonder. I did things seemingly without reason - just because I felt like I was supposed to. I had an incredible amount of energy, doing things - routine, mundane things - that I never would have dreamed that I would have had the strength and energy to do. It truly was incredible.
The next day was Wednesday. I went to church and felt like the preacher had been spying on me, taking notes on my life, and tailoring his sermon to fit me. Sunday morning again found me sitting in a pew, and before the service was over, something lifted me up out of my seat and pulled me down to the front of the sanctuary as soon as the hymn of invitation was begun. I declared Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior and requested baptism as soon as they could get the water in the baptistery warmed up. I was baptized on Wednesday, July 2, 2003. My wife was there to see it. She cried. I knew that God would fix her if I would just believe. I did. I do. He did. And now... back to Hawk's Blood.