Talk About A TRIP!!
What an interesting life this is! Never in my wild dreams would I ever have imagined that I would be sharing the most intimate, personal details, thoughts and feelings of my life with a public audience. And doing so with the stated intention that perhaps it may help others as well as myself along the way. The whole notion that I would do ANYTHING with the idea that it may benefit other people would have been foreign to me just under a decade ago.
Not that I was a bad guy or anything , I did care about other people and genuinely wanted others to have success in their lives too but I just did not want to be involved with them in any way...I wasn't about to actually help them get there! No...they were very much on their own. My focus to the very core was always about me and getting MINE...I figured other people could and should take care of themselves. It was certainly not in my best interest as a practicing alcoholic/addict (and yes, deep down I did know that is what I was) to share details about myself really on ANY level with other people....the more I kept to myself, the better!
No, I was already going to great lengths to lie about what and who I really was. I didn't want anyone to have a clue about me because in reality I lived in real fear about being exposed for being the fraud that deep down I really knew I was...You see, I hated myself and was certain that I would not, could not EVER measure up to the expectations I felt the world had for me. I literally remember feeling like a fraud...it was a sickening, disheartening, DEFLATING feeling that even thinking about today leaves me feeling somewhat uncomfortable.
Now I CHOOSE to reveal who I am...and no one is more surprised by that today then me. And yet...I'm really not surprised, knowing deep in my heart that with my transformation to a FOLLOWER of Christ, truly anything is possible. And the existence of Shell Shock Serenade? Well...this is the MOTHER LODE of examples of that right here! The fact that I would reveal myself in this manner, day after day with all the implied and ACTUAL emotional and even physical risk is quite simply beyond human understanding...certainly I don't understand it. Therefore there must be ANOTHER explanation for it and I believe most certainly that there IS...It's GOD.
No doubt in my mind. And to take all of this even further...not only am I most willing to share of myself in this manner in the sincerest hope that it may in one way or another help someone in need...I simply cannot think of any other way that I would much rather live right now.
The stuff that used to be such a priority to me just six short years ago just really does not matter to me any more: Money, drugs/alcohol, sex, instant gratification, greed, deceit, power, control...none of it even remotely motivates me today. Nothing I have found in nearly 50 years of life comes close to the incredible gift I have discovered through my relationship with the LORD: The gift of GIVING back of oneself to OTHERS.
It is with out a doubt simply the most profoundly rewarding thing that I have ever experienced and I was NOT even looking for IT when I stumbled into this new life in HIM. No...I was just trying to "get through" another day...just like I ALWAYS was! And the simple fact that I take no credit what so ever in this matter speaks volumes about the origin of my recovery and spiritual life today. I truly believe that the term "saved" is accurate because that is exactly how I feel: GOD saved me from myself!
I literally stood at the edge of life, looking most intently into the abyss convinced that the only answer for me, the only right thing to do for my family and friends was to throw myself over the edge...and so I did. That was the depth of my despair and hopelessness that I was convinced to my very core that death was the only answer for me.
But as the British Great War Poet Wilford Owen states in one of my favorite poems of all time...SPRING OFFENSIVE: "Some say God caught them before they fell"...well, I am certain that GOD indeed caught this wretched sinner, before he finally FELL.
Oh, I died all right that day but not in the manner in which I intended. No...that failure to succeed in dying that day lead to my eventual surrender to JESUS and doing so I make a commitment to DIE each and every day for HIM, to renounce the old life, the old ME and embrace the new...which is life in HIM. How do I know this has really happened? How do I know that this is real and not some figment of my imagination?
Because this selfish, secretive, self oriented person who NEVER thought of sharing ANY part of myself with others NOW (as I mentioned at the beginning of this post) willingly shares all my most intimate thoughts and feelings with others in the improbable hope (we can call this FAITH) that it may in some way or another HELP someone in NEED.
That my dear friends is just too improbable of a change to have "just happened for no reason". No, no....that is DIVINE intervention, plain and simple...there is simply no other way to describe or explain it. An I feel privileged....I mean that: PRIVILEGED to be able to do it each and every day to the very FULLEST of my ability.
And that is how I know that I have changed because I do know ME...and this my friends is not the natural me, not even close. This can only be explained as the work of the universal artist, THE CREATOR of ALL: GOD.
(PHOTO: Kathy Tomson)