Page 217 of my autobiography entitled “Watersheds”
Question four, inspired by this article.
University of Pennsylvania: “You have just finished your three hundred page autobiography. Please submit page 217.”
on, I knew that I was never going to write again. But, as things changed, and life went on, as it often does, I was drawn back to the pen and paper, or in my case the keyboard and the screen. But it took a long time. The characteristic that rears its ugly head in me, at times of great failure, or in this case betrayal, as you know so well, is self-abuse. Many a day did I stare blankly at the world, not seeing anything. My wife would ask me, “What’s wrong?” and I’d tell her simply, “Nothing. I’m fine.” I’d go to work, to church, sit among groups of friends, and note the changes in those around me. They were all so conciliatory, that it made me sick. I was tired of people trying to placate me from the despondency I imposed on myself. I had enough at that point. It made me want to scream until my lungs were empty, to poke stiff fingers into people’s stomachs who blandly smiled at me, trying to gain some sense of empathy, knowing full well no one understood. I could have had cancer and been better off. I could have lost my home, my job, my family and it wouldn’t have equaled the pain of everything that was building within me. Yes I understood more than most that my home, my job, my family was what made me have being. But this was different. This was a stripping of my being. I was gone; shattered. I could not see me living life as normal again.
But God. Those two words that makes the Bible such a beautiful book. They make the universe have hope and wonder again, when all is lost. I can’t tell why you’re reading this book. Perhaps you know me and are humoring me, after much begging, to read it. Maybe you found this book at a junk store, and you read everything, and the title intrigued you. But for whatever reason, you need to hear this: That God is the only thing that brings hope, TRUE hope. Nothing else will satisfy on a level you really need. Either way if you don’t know Him, you won’t understand.Of course you come across more about God before or after this section, but you cannot just pass this by. I will never understand those who claim in no God and live life as is. Just do what you want. Nothing really matters. It is all an accident anyway. This isn’t what they say, but it is always what you hear. Examine the world. Look up. Look around. Where will you find hope? There is this commercial, interestingly enough, that addresses hope (little “h”) and at the same time reminded me of my hope. The camera showed people just staring, while something is going around them. A man pours a cup of coffee, and the cup overflows, spilling on his hand, on the table. Yet, he stares, straight ahead. A woman sits in a park, children running all around her, other women talking next to her. Yet, she stares, straight ahead. A man sits at the kitchen table, while his children go off to school, his wife looking at him with grave concern, as he stares, straight ahead. Then a word flashes in the corner of the screen: “Hope.” To me the message is predictable, it is a commercial for some church in town. Because without God, why do anything? Why work? Why look around you? But then, the message turns to makinghomeaffordable.gov. These people have no hope because they can’t see paying their mortgage for the month, or they will be paying it for years and years. Their hope is gone. Really? I understand the difficulty and challenge home ownership is. Even see that it seems hopeless to get through the next month, or the next year, or the next thirty years. But even that seems a little extreme, especially at the time I saw it. For this was the era of Obama. I’d seen countless videos of college students being interviewed, not even knowing how presidents get elected, but they knew, really knew that Obama was going to solve it all. Then these commercials that show the only true hope comes from the government come around. I knew he was trying everything to keep himself looking good, but this was beyond reason.
I’m not going off on a rant here, well, that may not be true since this is basically going to be a 300 page rant or so, but it’s all been said and done before and this is about me. Me! Me! Me!
It was this commercial that made me angry and yet reminded me of my TRUE HOPE. My God. He brings about messages, to His people, in His time, the right time. God took His super glue and put me back together. I was gone for months, but then I came back. The watershed moments in my life hit me hard at always the right time. I’d seen the waste I’d made of 11 weeks or so. I repented, washed my face, got up, looked around, and started moving again. I started writing again, with a new zeal I hadn’t before. It was like my hands couldn’t keep up with all that was in my mind. For years I’d practice writing those “Strange Confessions”, and it all was mere childs-play to what was coming forth, bursting from skull and fingers, I barely managed eating or sleeping until that first publication: “Magnanimous Highlighter” It wasn’t received well, but I had people writing to me about how they came across