For several months, two people who are important to me have effectively shut me out of their good graces. We can't avoid interacting with each other, and when we meet, conversation is reduced to perfunctory exchanges, with not much enthusiasm. I will be frank here and admit that it hurts more than a little. In fact, I pass through most days with a melancholy accompanied by a lack of energy for most things.
I have tried to force myself to keep a happy disposition, and I've been temporarily able to use diversions such as seeing other friends or watching a movie to make myself feel better, but beneath it all, there is a long sadness about this.
Today I went to take a walk in the woods near a stream. I feel closer to the Lord then. I sat on a log and prayed. I had been spending regular time with the Lord in readings and prayer and fasting since January, so I'm starting to recognize Him when He's there, though it's nothing as certain as looking at a photo or talking on the phone.
My prayer began as a jumbled mess, with a hundred topics and questions. It didn't take long for Him to jump in and calm me down. I felt an involuntary calming down of my nerves, and then I had some thoughts that I wondered whether they were my own. They were not like the thoughts that in the last several months I had voluntarily generated. Those were like "What can I do to fix this?" "What did I do wrong?" "How can I say how unhappy I am with the mistreatment without making matters worse?"
This calming thought was like this: "You are already taking the right approach by not reacting angrily or upset by this. You are doing the right thing by purposefully deciding to treat them well."
I admit, it did calm me down. I accepted it and the swirl of desparing thoughts slowed down. But just for a minute. Then I responded with the thought, "But what if one of them mistreats me again with insinuations of wrong-doing without asking me what happened?"
The calming thought came immediately: "Unless a grain of wheat shall fall to the ground and die, it remains but a grain of wheat with no life. Do you think that the grain does not suffer? Be willing to share in my suffering for the sake of others."
It again calmed me down. For a while. Then I remembered so many of the nagging questions I had before coming here to pray. "How can I tell them that I'm unhappy when they..." "How can I defend my self when they..." "How can I point out that they criticize me for the same things they do?"
"It can be done. I will lead you day by day. Will you do everything I ask you to do? It will require spending time with me each day, and believing."
I said yes.
Sitting on the log with my eyes closed, it seemed like a true gift to have this connection with the Lord or Holy Spirit or whomever that was. I was content. Then I thought about how this could not really be happening, and how I've tricked myself into believing this. I thought, "I'm making up sentences that sound like things I've read and heard about Jesus. This can't be real. The thing about the grain of wheat is from a song I heard at church. This is just me making it all up. Then the last calming thought came:
"You can tell it's Me by the feeling of love and calm and strength in the message when you hear it. The devil can put thoughts into your mind, and very logical thoughts. He is a master at convicing with logic. But he cannot create the feeling of love. Over time you will easily recognize the difference."
What a mixture of feelings as I sit here writing this. I feel humbled at this experience, because this means that Jesus makes himself available to anybody who takes Him seriously for an extended time, since I am no religious scholar or saint. I feel awkward revealing this here in a public website, because even though it was written under a pseudonym, many people know who I really am. I am probably accurate in guessing that at least half of you have just concluded I'm nuts, and will stop reading this article. But I cannot hold in. Since my resolution in January 2011 to spend more time with Jesus, He has just become so much more real to me. It's good. I must tell others. Thus this website.