During the trench warfare of life, I found myself looking for an escape hatch. I was a commercial artist now. I could not do as I pleased, but must please clients and art directors. this kind of art was not the delight it once had been and there was little time for creative writing. I found myself living for the “happy hour” from the time I got up in the morning.
I had never received Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. Those who claimed to be “Saved” seemed to look down their spiritual noses at others. If they offered their personal testimony or a Bible track, they seemed to do so the way someone drops coins in a leper’s cup then turns tail and runs as though sticking around would contaminate them.
However, finally out of desperation, I gave my life to Jesus Christ when He seemed like the only one left who still wanted it. It was in earnest. Still, I had watched the “health and wealth” – “name it and claim it” folks on television and and the more carnal nature in me could hardly wait for the “goodies” to roll in. – That is not what happened.
A year or so later, the man I had long been seriously involved with left me for another woman. He said God had told him to do it. I wondered if God actually had done so and why and an anguish gripped me even more profound than the loss of romantic love and companionship with a kindred spirit? Was this a curse or was it the “fiery trial” Scripture speaks of? I prayed for immediate answers, but they did not immediately come.
I had treated others as stand-ins for this guy. Now I found myself holding an empty bag socially speaking. Also, I was still in debt. I still hated my job. There was a fallen tree lying on my roof. I had a foot infection. I began going out for a drink with people at work. Many shared their own tale of getting dumped. I began to feel a crack in my invisible case that warmed my heart as much as the alcohol warmed my body.
Then, after a long evening of riotous living at a local club, I awakened out of a “blackout”, late at night, to find the employees sweeping up the joint and all my former “soul mates” gone. I stumbled out to my car, only to find that the battery was dead. I called a cab. He let me out in front of my house and drove away. I made my way up the front walk, partially crawling. – I must never do this again for any reason!
A “blackout” is a little like sleep walking. You are still going about your business as usual, but you do not recall what you did or said after you come out of the blackout. I will never know what went on that night. All I can say is, I had tried to break out of my case and mesh with others in a genuine way. That was a huge step forward even though I had gone about it in the wrong way. I must not be bitter and give up on that quest, but I must do it soberly.
Still, I needed to get things right inside me. Even though I was now “Saved”, I had felt closer to my friends than to Christ. My friends had been fun and funny, but were also often bitter, vengeful, lustful, self-involved, grasping at straws, strung-out on pills, liquor, or pot. They were like a big part of me still was. I was in a momentary comfort zone with them. We had our alibis for grudges, self-pity, and a plethora of vices. Christ had perfect unconditional love for me, but He was also perfect righteousness and my alibis to Him did not suffice. – Still, I knew that He did not leave me when the others did. Knowing that was a start in the right direction.