I’ve had two dreams of the last days of high school several nights apart.
The first was really not at all like I remember it, the school much different. And it’s vague now as it has been several days but I do remember the feeling of loss associated with knowing I would never see many of the people there again.
The second much more detailed, they had divided the last three days into half days with each half day being one of the classes we took, one of what would normally be six periods. The last half day after those three was some big general assembly. This is the dream, not the reality.
In this dream I couldn’t remember where the classes I was supposed to go to were. My memory was much worse than my actual memory in waking state. But the feeling was the same, a feeling of intense loss, knowing I would never see many of these people again in this life.
I am approaching my 57th birthday, and it comes just a few days after Halloween. Two reminders of death in a very short time span.
And there are people I know I won’t see again in this lifetime, my mother who has passed on. And perhaps my daughter and youngest son. Not to say that isn’t deserved but it is still hard.
Today’s Our Daily Bread, a devotional I follow, had a story entitled, “Don’t Touch the Electric Fence”, and featured Jeremiah 18:1-12, both of which pointed out that God’s warnings are to protect us, but in the case of the story, from real world dangers, but in the case of the verse, God’s own punishment.
I didn’t head the warnings, I grew up with some funny ideas about love and sexuality that weren’t corrected until I spent 2-1/2 years in prison and two years in sex offender treatment. I had this idea that love and sex were intertwined in a way that made them inseparable. Didn’t really understand how else to express love. And didn’t understand how mashed together these feelings were in my mind until an assignment I had in the sex offender treatment program in prison asked me to define the various types of love, and while I was able to do so, I also realized in spite of intellectually knowing the difference, I could not feel the difference.
I was unaware of that at the time and acted upon what I felt and the result was 2-1/2 years in the slammer, three years in community custody, and a loss of some rights for life, and most importantly harm to and alienation of part of my family.
I’ve also learned another lesson but not from prison or the program but rather from the Bible, and that is love is what you do and not what you feel, and that it’s the whole purpose of God, and if we act according to his purposes, also for our lives.
Still now, often fear and not love rules my life. I am afraid of helping others when I can because I don’t feel I have enough resources or that God will provide them. I wish I had the absolute faith in God that George Müller had. I would so much like to get past fear and onto love the way God intended.