In 1970, my father left my mother for another woman. I was 4, my brother Andy was 3. Andy does not have any childhood memories of my dad until he was around 10. He unconsciously chose to block it out. I, on the other hand, chose to shut down emotionally. I forgot how to cry. I became bitter. I became apathetic to the world around me. This affected me spiritually as well. I looked at God from a distance, as one not worthy of being loved. As a result of this view, I became reckless.
A few years after the big divorce, I was in a bike accident and knocked myself out. I remember coming to (at least I thought) in a part of the park I hadn’t seen before. I was laying on a picnic table bench, my head on the lap of someone that did not look familiar, but seemed familiar. I remember that this man had a beautiful face. It was unlike any that I had seen before. He had long hair and a light beard. As I lay on his lap he kept telling me that everything was ok, and that I was fine. I looked at the surrounding scenery. It had become quite sunny I thought. It was bright, but not too bright. I felt comfort. This lasted for some time until I found myself feeling sick to my stomach in a doctor’s office. I wanted to go back. I had a concussion, and a very bad headache.
That moment in time was filed into some back file cabinet in my mind.
As time went on, I found compassion for others. I was still reckless. I stumbled my way through church. It was an on again, off again thing for many years. I put myself into situations that should have gotten me killed, but escaped unscathed. At times I felt invincible. I have been in car wrecks, fallen down a very steep hill, taken enough drugs at one time to kill a horse, had alcohol poisoning more than once and lived in the Mexican wilderness for a couple of weeks with little food and few bottles of rum and tequila. (There are more stories of God’s protection that I may share later.) I know that during this time I felt alone physically, but had a slight feeling that I was not alone, that there was someone with me. I know now that it was Jesus.
Some years after I became a Christian, I realized who that man in the park was. It was Jesus. He was right, everything was ok. How could I have missed that? I was so concerned with my situation that I missed the most important thing in the whole of eternity! I missed Jesus. Or did I?
During my downward spiral He was with me, protecting me until I could come to my senses. It had to be a free will thing. When I was there in that park, I was unsure of who I was with. I did not realize it until much later. I think that it was part of His plan to allow me to go through the things I did in order to minister to those in similar situations. I also believe that He allowed it to increase my faith. I have more than a bruised head to be thankful for. I have a lifetime of close calls to look back at and see the hand of God protecting me.
Reflection is a wonderful thing…..