… Blending with a friend
As I prepare myself for another meeting with Pastor Mark, I ask myself, “why prepare?”
I’m really staying ahead of myself here.
I mean, I use to reach out to the future with my little mental tentacles to see if there was perhaps any danger there waiting…
Last month, I was wondering if maybe my meeting was going to be centered around the gross negligence of my relationships.
This month, I’m more worried that he’s sizing me up for the proper straight jacket.
God, I am glad that my tentacles don’t reach out, probing for danger anymore!
Instead they reach out, probing for wounds to heal — no.
Correction, they’re probing for hope.
It’s different once you’ve hopped on the bandwagon. No one wants you to fail. In fact, Jesus wants you to heal, and to grow. Fulfill.
I had this horrifying vision in my teens once when I did ecstasy. Most people love that stuff, but the one time I did it, I regretted it immediately, and for the remainder of my life up until this exact moment.
I think it has finally abated.
Can I abbreviate Thank God? Cuz, I think I’m gonna be using it a lot from now on!
I’m not going to beat around the bush. I did drugs that day.
I also had been practicing this weird stuff where I could see people’s auras. And as always, I was constantly reading, so I was partially convinced that our soul was energy of some sort and that it could be measured, or seen, or contained… maybe controlled.
Maybe that is what saved me.
But, when that stuff hit me, I saw a freight train coming to get me. The universe was smashing in — and in Five, four, three, two …
I had only a split second to be terrified and realize I was going to die. I had overdosed, that was it. I was done.
All I could mentally do, after my physical self gripped the sides of the table, both hands in a vice, was hear the bang when it hit, and try and convince myself that I was energy. That was my only way to survive.
When the scream came, it went up and out of my mouth toward the heavens.
I won’t explain what happened on the other side, but when I finally caught a thought and returned, I remembered what evil I had done and that God wasn’t happy. No one was happy.
There were no excuses and if I tried to explain it, it was only going to get worse.
That didn’t stop me from trying.
The result of that route of thinking found me in a padded room, locked in a straight jacket.
At least I was alone.
It was silent.
Right up until I realized there was no way I was going to think my way out of this. Then the room was filled with my screams again.
I screamed so loud that I remembered how hot the pain had been when the overdose hit. And that must’ve triggered something because there I was…
after a thousand rounds of spiritual Russian roulette… body in reach again.
Standing by that table, still on my feet. But I couldn’t go there without losing it again, so I put myself somewhere else — somewhere serene.
A couch with a friend…
…but that’s a different story.
Now, after all this time, I can see that my fear of ending up permanently in that straight jacket has materialized as all the belts and lassos that might tie me into a community. Make me responsible.
Force me to be a people.
Make me cast off the doubts, the worries of insignificance. The petty superficial falsehoods of immaturity and look to the future, and to the past with good clean lenses.
Boy, how I am relieved!
I can deal with a life of metaphors. It’s the nouns and verbs that getcha…
What’s funny is. There’s a term for metaphors that have been used-up. Dead metaphors, they’re called.
Clean as a whistle. Clear as a bell. Black as night.
Words that retire and age… My favorites. Why? They’re beautiful because of their mortality.
There are so many things I took away from my meeting with Pastor Mark this time. Incredible advice. Marriage-saving advice even.
I was almost inclined to leave some thought provoking ideas in return. But, I am still in awe of the guy. And when you’re even slightly unsure of your own greatness, or equality of company, you can tend to be a little sheepish.
Is that really it?
I mean, when God is talking through someone, it is definitely more valuable to just shut up and listen. The things I have to say, or rather, think I have to say, really could be completely valueless. I know them to be — in fact.
Maybe that’s why I put them down on paper. So, people can read them if they find time. Because honestly, my time is so valuable that I want to hear what you have to say!
I’m learning here… and well, I may not be around forever, nor may you. Last thing I want to do is waste someone else's.
That is a really selfish thought isn’t it? The fact that I don’t want to talk because I already know these things and might not gain any further insight from divulging them?
Assuming that I know things is the real problem!
But if, just what if, I divulge something that a friend takes and transmogrifies by alchemy or by miracle into something more amazing, and better yet, more truthful?
Well, we weren’t there to talk philosophy anyhow…
Though we nearly breached it when he said that the dichotomy is in science and philosophy, not in science and religion, as most people understand.
I read in a biology book that mycelium (the fluid networks of underground fungi) act in a semi-conscious way. The research found that the fungal symbiotes could actively decide which plants to more fully nourish with a real-time intelligence of which plants were giving them the most nourishment in return. They discriminate!
In fact, studies showed that these fungal networks knew which plants would eventually give them nourishment later if they gave them nourishment now. This was assumed to be largely in part that most living organisms have these fungi and bacteria living inside of them already, as they have evolved from these first biological organisms and now are actively living in symbiotic harmony with them.
Even we are a make-up of these tiny biological marriages, eons old. Just look at our stomachs. It is a huge movement right now; our digestive cultures. Modern diets are sculpted from the results of our internal microbiomes.
Now, are they conscious? That’s the real question. In fact, that has always been the hard problem?
Theists are still skeptical, and rightly so! That’s science.
Where’s the proof?
The answer may not be all that far away.
When we lack a complete answer to a question, I like to look at it from a different viewpoint. So, let us start from a theist’s perspective.
Is God conscious?
Does God’s consciousness have a body?
Now here it can get hairy. And I am interested in your responses. I imagine, some will say that God is everything… in everything… Some will say that he exists in Heaven which he separated the waters from the Heavens from the waters of the Earth. Some will say that he’s just an idea.
Either way, I suggest that God needs us. I also suggest that we need him.
That is, if either of us want to grow.
My statement about these first biological organisms being conscious, wasn’t necessarily to profess their intelligence… I wouldn’t want to insult anyone… I mean, who’s smarter?
Me about to have sex, who looks in the mirror, squeezes a black head, fails — now there’s a red blotch — leans back, wipes the fog off the mirror from my own breath, adjusts my glasses — also fogged now… farts.
Or the damn alga and fungi who look across a lava rock at each other and just say, “Let’s do it.”
And all just from the simple ability to see beauty in each other. In the extreme case of lichens (the first marriage of alga and fungi or bacteria) the beauty of another’s struggle and pain; their inability to survive alone on the lava rock…
the empathy for one another…
Not only to see beauty, but to marry with it in order to survive. And not only to survive but thrive. When things marry they don’t only work together to keep existing, but they change their whole environment into one that is more conducive to their lives altogether.
I mean, these things mended their abilities to use light and carbon to produce oxygen. And now they survive the vacuum of space for years at a time; revived with just a little water!
It’s easy to get passionate about the smallest part of God, which is the physical stuff. So, I want to stop it here, because that’s not what I am talking about.
We’re not lichens. Man is made in his image. There’s a difference.
But his plan shines though Pastor Mark, like it shines through those symbiotic relationships that I now know…
There’s a reason we sometimes see ourselves as the big, sloppy, greased walruses at the tupperware party…
just stick with me here…
Because God is the opposite, which we know, but we and God both also know something else. That as soon as we popped up something started killing us. And it’s beautiful!
And just like those single cells on the lava rock we can see each other across the expanse. So let’s focus on another reason this walrus is at the tupperware party, Baby.
We’re looking for a tight seal!
Now, the good news is. This metaphor is referring to sealing a relationship with God. And vulgarness, ludeness, and all that aside… Man and wife do this together.
It’s only obvious.
They made us in their image.
Are the oldest accounts of the Greek god’s human relationships and offspring purely fantasy or are they parables? If we’re going to bring Heaven to Earth, isn’t it only through seeing the beauty of God and he seeing the beauty in us?
Eyes connecting and marriage occurring to bring us into a shared space where we can co-exist for the better of us both?
When I said God needs us, people cringed… doubted.
Need is a strong word. So, I will give it to you guys…
God may not have needed us to create the Universe? And we may not need him to make a salami sandwich. But, if we are going to survive past the end of this phase...
We’re going to have to work together.
You know, I met this guy once that could draw perfect circles with a piece of chalk.
Marty amazed people.
I never knew a Marty… Like ever... But this guy’s real. I promise. I saw him somewhere.
I used to tease him by making him draw two or three at a time, which always tripped him up a bit. The layers would make it come out more like a tight spiral and I would say, “You see!”
He always hated when I did that!
I liked that better. It more represented the reality of life. The addition of time.
Like a blue morning glory on a field of green circling upward toward a golden sun.
Two steel rails wind side-by-side for over eight miles through aspen groves above a 12,000 foot tree line. The Pike’s Peak Cog sometimes chugs up a twenty-six percent grade to reach the summit which is now a historical landmark.
I can’t remember the journey because I’ve never ridden that particular train. But I’ve read about it, and watched a YouTube video of the adventure in time-lapse.
It was really quite amazing.
In one of my working novels, the Character of Father Time, tells the reader that they are pieces of his memory. That, if not for them, he could not exist, because he would forget where he came from. Where he’s been.
In a way, I kinda see that as rail one.
Because, if not for him (God I mean), we’d not know where we are going.
I think of that as rail two.
But eternity is not a destination, it’s an idea that we both have. God and I.
His idea of what he has always known I was, and my idea of what I know he is.
There is a summit. And there is a train.
And there will always be…
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Jay Horne is an author and publisher out of Bradenton, Florida. He is a husband and father of four.
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