The Journey Home: I am an Angry Drunk (on the wine discussed previously)

In my previous post, I talked about Journey Home: The wine of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil I feel like I am one of a few that believes that God undoes the curse of that tree, replacing it with the dependence on Him. But sometimes fear comes when I look at verses like Ps 68:6

“God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity,
Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.”(NASB)

I long for the fulfillment of that verse. When I drafted this, I had a short section on the home that I desire, and a much longer section on the prisons that I long to be set free from. What I noticed was that some prisons, I already have been set free from. But I still started by listing them.I think that is because, though the neglect, or abuse was absent, I still had not yet grieved the loss of being in prison.

I want to be home, to be in a home, and to have a home to come home to. I long for that for my son as well.

So, what is a home? The first words that come to mind are “relationships” and “interest”.

Relationships to me, reminds me of the 3 legged race from childhood (Or maybe the “We’re All in This Together” song from the Disney film High School Musical). We share something. Direction. Dreams. Knowing and being known. And a lot of little, maybe even mundane, things that just speaks to valuing together. My son and I have that. My God and I have that too.

Interest, precedes valuing (or honoring). Interest is just something where someone else is interested in you, and what you enjoy, as well as what matters to you. Even, what hurts you. Psychologists may call this attunement. But I am not really sure. I think relationship and interest are required for attunement. But, again, I am not really sure.

I found that I had a verbal crutch. I would say “It is interesting that …” And, more often than not the other person’s eyes would glaze over. I brought up that God had called my attention to that verbal crutch, and what I was really pleading for was interest. In fact, maybe a reason that I read and learn so widely, is that I am hoping to find an interest that is shared. My curiosity often time takes over. Still, I asked for help with the verbal crutch. I find that many things that are interesting to me are not interesting to others. I have to combat shame in that. A home would be a place where someone is interested in what I was doing, making, or my experiences, just as I would be in theirs. I haven’t experienced that much in life. My son is starting to get to the age of peer relationships, but still a chunk of what has formed me, and deformed me relates to my past relationship with his mom, so I don’t know how to gently, gracefully, appreciate his interest there, but also hold some things back.

The other thing that I have found with my son is that because of certain gifts, I just lack the understanding. He is a talented musician. I am not. I don’t understand music. I have no idea how pieces are composed. I can only appreciate the outcome based on my personal taste, sort of black, white, and gray. He can see colors of complexity, and arrangement, and execution, and many more things that I can not name. Still I have interest. And that interest led me to even learn to like jazz.

So a home would be a place of reciprocal interest. And it would also be a place of individual expression. Gordon Dalbey wisely asked his wife soon after he was married what she would do if she wanted to do something special for herself. She said that she would buy herself flowers. She asked him the same question, and he said he would scratch his back. He explained that he enjoyed the sensation, and that was one of the reasons that he would rub up against door frames. As we have looked for houses and land, I really want a screened in back porch where I can write at my computer, and I want it deep enough, so I wouldn’t have to worry about a laptop getting wet in case I left it out overnight, and a thunderstorm rolled through. My son wants property that we can hunt and fish on. I want a fireplace and a library inside. And a urinal in my bathroom, as well as one on the main floor. He wants a fireplace in his bathroom.

I would like geothermal heat so that we don’t get killed on heating bills in the winter. He reminds me that is only a matter of money, and is more fear driven than anything else.

I would like a shop. One that could handle some wood and glass work. I would love an old Bridgeport milling machine, though I barely know how to use one. I took a metal shop class at night once in order to make a part for a cap on a truck that I owned. I made one that was so much better than the original. Still, I wonder how much has passed beyond reach in these 66 years.

It seems that I have been in many prisons. Prison in marriage (now released). Prison in waiting for her return. Prison of being the rock for my son while his mom struggled as well. Prison of ignorance of others when starting a new department at work (now the work of my new manager). Prison of a jealous and fearful manager (who took my position), and who knew that I knew much more about his job than he did (former manager). Prisons of people seeing what they expect to see. Prison of my own making where I hid my talents to avoid jealousy and rejection. Prison of courage, a strangely good prison, where I would go where others feared to go, but because of my calling, and increasing integrity, I would not go back or pretend. And when I was young, and most recently, a prison of clutter, and not knowing what to keep and what to get rid of, and just knowing that some of it has to do with being intended to live in a larger home. And the prison of waiting and being powerless.

But then we get to the “Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land” part. Our land has seemed especially parched lately. Though I realize that many people just don’t understand how parched we have been for a very long time. Parched because the normal rain of relationships, play, ease, and rest are far from us.

A woman at a church that I attended a long time ago gave a sermon on life. She had a daughter in her early teens, and a daughter nearing 10. The older daughter was diagnosed with a rare degenerative terminal disease. She would get sicker and sicker until she died, most likely in her early 20s. When she gave the sermon, her younger daughter had just been diagnosed with the same disease. She talked about the frequent days that she lived out Ps 39:13. “Turn Your gaze away from me, that I may smile again Before I depart and am no more.” (NASB)

Adversity just keeps coming, and coming, and coming, and coming, and coming, and coming.

That happened this morning. I had taken my son’s truck to get it inspected, and they said that it needed new front brakes. I had just put new front brakes on it 14 months ago and the truck has been driven very little since the pandemic.

So, we are past a payday, and a friend, who is a professional mechanic, offered to do the pads and rotors at his house. It was half what the shop was going to charge, but it was still $200 that I hadn’t planned on. And, as I really looked at things, I knew that there were more repairs to the car that were needed as well, including a clutch. So, I raided my retirement account again, knowing that I couldn’t fit it into my normal budget. My retirement account is so low that I am glad my employer matches my 2% with 10% currently. But, still, I am almost at the point of having to wait for them to put it in for me to take it out. So, I had to draw up the withdrawal paperwork so that I could fax it in from my office which is near where my friend lives.

I was hoping to catch men’s prayer on Zoom from my phone, because my son and I are precariously near the breaking point (of giving up hope in God, and buying into the lies that He doesn’t care.) But Zoom, or the people running the prayer time failed, and I couldn’t connect.

So, just as I am collecting everything that I need, the dog starts to bug me. I go into the kitchen to take my morning medications and supplements, and I hear the dog retching, and come out to two pools of dog vomit on the carpet that need cleaned up. My son is in such pain physically that he can’t do it.

He is in emotional pain too, from the anxiety, from having his doctors give up on the physical pain, even when they could order MRIs of his back, but won’t. He also suffers from awful nightmares nightly. And with all of these things, he has been unable to work for 10 months, and feels shame for depending on me.

So, I got angry. God has had me on not getting angry and cursing myself. So, I knew that I was angry with Him. I accused Him of being lazy, and in a crude way. I felt horrible. I felt that I had failed Him. I knew that He didn’t deserve that, that He deserved my praise.

So I got in the truck, with the dog, after I had cleaned up the mess, and started to drive. I put on a YouTube video that I had downloaded, that was by a pretty good, and well known teacher from Ireland. He was speaking to men. He mentioned that he had prayed and asked to Lord to minister to men, and a call came 4 weeks later. I shut it off.

Lament poured out, mixed with some sin and lies/assumptions. I would love to minister to men, and I actually do, but it is by example. And it is by being vulnerable, real, and sometimes powerless. I railed that teaching is easy. Living it daily is hard. Especially when I don’t have a wife like he does. I don’t have recognition and honor, like he does. Most people assume that I am in a parched land, because there is some secret sin in my life. And when I am honest and real, they say “Aha!, I knew it” (it is your own damn fault). I am sick of that shallow Christianity. I encounter it enough among my friends.

I guess, what I have always believed that if you were honest enough about your life, like David was honest, that God would look favorably on your honesty and reward you, and speak of you with great tenderness, and would get you through full repentance when you sin.

I poured out a lot of pain. A whole lot of “How longs”. I poured out fear that I had crossed a line in accusing Him, when I had really just been so, so disappointed for what seemed a lack of protection (and deliverance). Anger came in and out of the pain. It wasn’t just one or the other.

I really need to hear from Him. I need to hear His heart toward me. I know that I am forgiven. I need to hear His hurt at my anger, or His lack of hurt, because He knows that I still have distorted images of Him.

Ps 28:1-3

A Psalm of David. 1 To You I will cry, O LORD my Rock:​​ Do not be silent to me,​​ Lest, if You are silent to me,​​I become like those who go down to the pit. 2 ​​Hear the voice of my supplications​​ When I cry to You,​​When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.​ 3 ​​Do not take me away with the wicked​​And with the workers of iniquity, … ” (NKJV)

Ps 30:7-10

LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong;​​ You hid Your face, and I was troubled. ​8 ​​I cried out to You, O LORD;​​ And to the LORD I made supplication: 9 ​​“What profit is there in my blood, ​​When I go down to the pit?​​ Will the dust praise You?​​ Will it declare Your truth? 10 ​​Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; ​​LORD, be my helper! (NKJV)

I looked for the phrase “to the pit” in the Blue Letter Bible, and one of the hits is in Psalm 88. I heard Walter Brueggemann teach 40 years ago, on the Psalms. It was a weekend at my local church. He spoke of Psalm 88. He mentioned two things, one was that most psalms that have dark or hopeless parts have hopeful beginnings and ends. But not Psalm 88. (I don’t remember him talking about Psalm 39 in the same context.) He also mentioned that after talking about Psalm 88 one time, a woman came up to him and said that it was the psalm of a woman who has been raped. I can see that in the psalm. But I can also relate to a lot of the language.

I can also relate to Hezekiah’s lament as it is recorded in Isaiah 38:9-20 (though so far I can only relate to 9-18). Also, I really despise the people who the Lord has mercy on the person who repents, but then says that He will visit calamity on the son. I always want those people to stand with their sons and say “Bring it now, that I may go through it with them”. Hezekiah is one of them, I believe. But, on the other hand, I know what it is like to be weak and want the pain to end for myself. So maybe, I am just despising the weakness that I see in myself.

So am I lonely, or in prison, or rebellious. Where was David, Hezekiah, and the sons of Korah. Does God like me being real, and does He understand that my view of Him is still distorted, or is He so holy, that this is inexcusable. Does He seem far away, and not listening, and not protecting or delivering, because He is angry with me? Or does He want me to see how much I trust him, and how I do understand Ps 103:14 “For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.” It has occurred to me lately, that I may be in a time similar to Daniel as in Dan 10:12- 21 where the angel comes and says that God heard his words when he first tried to understand the situation, and humbled himself. From v 13-21 is the strange account which says that the angel was delayed for 21 days by the prince of the kingdom of Persia, and that Michael the archangel came to help. v20-21 is an ending that I don’t understand, yet,

He replied, “Do you know why I have come? Soon I must return to fight against the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia, and after that the spirit prince of the kingdom of Greece will come. Meanwhile, I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one helps me against these spirit princes except Michael, your spirit prince. (NLT)

Is the angel lamenting to Daniel? Maybe it has to do with Ps 8:3-6 (and referenced in Heb 2:6-9) as well as Holy Spirit in us (1 Jn 4:4)

3. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,​​The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, 4 ​​What is man that You are mindful of him,​​And the son of man that You visit him? 5 ​​For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.​ 6 ​​You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;​​ You have put all things under his feet, (NKJV)

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (NKJV)