The Past is the Present

11 10 2009

A few weeks ago, I was reintroduced to my “old” self.

Kathleen had invited a  couple who was interested in our idea of shared communal living over for dinner.  Turned out that the husband was a guy I knew from my Rocky Horror days.  And is nearly an identical copy of me 10 years ago.

So this post is about my past, how I came back to God, a prequel to the About Me and Following Where Others Have Gone Before pages.   At least this story will be better than most of those prequels that have been out there in the movies.

Set the way back machine for 1998.  My wife had just asked me for a divorce.

I went into deep depression, started doubting that I was even worthy of a job, wife, life ect.   We were living in California at the time, and I only had a few friends from the job that I had.  They had no idea what I was going through or what it was like.

My wife wanted to leave me because I didn’t meet up with her expectations, and I was being abusive, both physically and mentally.  The real scary thing about the abuse, was that I could hit her without bruising her skin.  I could make it hurt and not show a mark.     I was attempting to control her, since I was a nice Christian  boy and had no contact with God at the time,  I was supposed to make sure she submitted to me.

I also was not thinking about her needs.  The first part of our marriage was all about MY happiness no matter what.  We were both very selfish about what we thought marriage was supposed to be.

I had once thought that by being married life would be easier and someone would be there for MY needs.  But I was always trying to please her, even when it was not good for me to do so.   This is part of being a passive/aggressive person.  This is not the way we are meant to be.

But I wouldn’t learn this till years later, when I read Paul Coughlin’s “No More Christian Nice Guy”.

My wife and I filed the divorce papers together, we were very civil about the whole affair. Thanks to Papa God that we never finalized the divorice.

This was the crisis that brought me back to God and the Methodist Church.

Since I had lost what was important to me in my life, my wife, I had nothing left.  So I ran back to God.

I started to learn about Him.

A few months later, my wife calls me and says she had gone back to God too and felt that she was to call me.

We moved back in together, but still had our problems.   I still was abusive to her,  and still was when she became pregnant with our first daughter.   Thank God  He stepped in and brought help through the California State programs.  Through a parent support program ,we had a worker come in from time to time to talk about how things were going between us.  I got into a state funded program on how to deal with depression.

I learned how the cycle of depression works and how to overcome it, but that was just the beginning.

I was able to get help.  I have become a better, no…..a new man, because of learning the way of Jesus.  That the state will not provide, so you have to find someone who has been there before.  For me it meant going to an institutional church, namely the Methodist tradition.  It meant going home in a way.

So why bring up this past?

It is happening again.  Remember that couple that I wrote about at the beginning?   They seem to be my wife and I 10 years ago.  Biggest problem though is that they have two boys, ages 3 and 1.

I wish we had gotten together sooner.  But for reasons beyond my understanding, God chose this to be the time.

I have been helping the husband to understand that he needs to put God first in his life.  Easier said than done, because I’ve been there too.   I feel his pain and suffering, the depression that he’s feeling, and it’s brought my old life back up.

Change is never easy for the human being.  We want comfort, dependability, consistency and safety.  But I have discovered that the past is the present and only can we prevent the past from coming back is to do things different.   The way of Jesus.

My wife thinks I’m becoming too emotionally attached to the family in crisis.   It’s been at least 15 years since I knew the husband.   But I remember having to reach out to someone who was a stranger and most didn’t understand what I was going through.   I know what this guy is going through, and some of what his wife is going through too.

It seems that my past has caught up with me, but has taken on another form, that of another husband in crisis.   All I can do right now is be there as a sounding board.  A glimpse of a possible future for the couple and for the guy.

I’m not using names here because this story is just for you to understand what is happening.

I honestly feel drained a bit, but also feel the presence of God helping me to help the husband.  I want to help the wife too, since I understand what it is like to be a stay at home parent and feel that no one understands what that is like.  Vicious circles.    Wanting to serve others, hiding the fact that I want to do things for myself, take time for my interests but feeling like I can’t do that or else I’ll neglect the family.

So I had tended to be “dedicated” to children and the family, but neglect that part of me that wants to have friends outside of the blood line.

This is a mistake that too many people make.  And I’ve seen some churches being even worse.  We go to church but we don’t really know those that gather there.  We are afraid  to even make friends because if they find out how much we have screwed up, they won’t want to be with us.

But now that my story is out there, this prequel, I hope that those who read this can understand what it is that everyone is searching for.  We all need a friend who has been there before.  God certainly is that, but we need to see him in the flesh.

Those of you who claim to follow Jesus.  That’s you.

Don’t be afraid of your past.  Be open to changing your ways and expect God to rip you apart.  To reform you into this new being called Christ.

I see my past in my friend, the husband I wrote of.  I want to help him become a new man, for his wife and kids and for God.   But I know that this can only be done by God if that is what HE wants.   I feel that this is what he wants.

Papa God, help me to overcome the past again and help you change a life.




One response

27 10 2009
Kevin Beck

Thanks for being so strong and so vulnerable all at the same time.

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