Maybe I can clean out the gutters come Christmas holidays - rake some leaves too. I am not as brave on roof tops since I nearly fell off it about five years ago. My foot went through where some wood had rotted around where the first Dish Network guy installed my first dish. I don't know how I stayed atop the eave. I was very close to it when my foot went in. I fell sideways - and nervous about gutter cleaning ever since. Yes, I put it off. Not only from nervousness but wanted most of the leaves to leave the trees. I am going to wait to do the deed when another grown up is around to cover the body with a tarp.
I am ready for school to get back in session. I've had my break. I got stuff done at home and office - I got to be with family - many hours down by the fire. I am ready to get this first semester over with - get the finals in my rear view mirror. December is next. So many shopping days till Christmas. First semester clinics are over with and I've got some of my home time back. Let's get this thing over with.
I went to church today - because Katie wanted to go. I don't go as often as I should. Strange thing happened today - during ministry time Jim asked if anyone needed prayer. I needed ministry today - but I didn't ask for it. Past experiences reminded me that as much as I love that fellowship - it's not a safe place. I remember it was during a time when assurance was constantly being doled out on a weekly basis that the fellowship was a "safe place" - that was during the time when I caught friendly fire. I can't pick on my church too much - every fellowship probably does the same. I couldn't step out this morning - instead I prayed over others. Strange how old wounds can keep a head down for years. I need healing in this area as well - maybe a little more distance from that past experience. This church on the most part has been a little safer than most of the churches of my past.
Todays prayer incident reminds me of something that happened to me several decades ago while I was working for Chick-fil-a. I was asked by the manager if I'd help unload a truck one Saturday morning. I took the hand-truck and climbed up into the side entrance of a tractor-trailer. I was greeted by a nice fellow, a black man, who was the driver. He was pulling boxes and pushing our cargo to the doorway for me to haul inside. By the time I got back to retrieve my second load - there was a little cowboy on the sidewalk shooting a cap pistol. He wasn't shooting constantly - just random like. I climbed back in the box and the driver was sweating and fidgety. I asked him what was wrong - if he needed a break. He said "it was that damn cap gun" - he said he was a Vietnam veteran and that cap gun had him on edge. He said that the cap gun sounded exactly like a bullet zipping by the ear during fire-fights. Poor guy - sure enough - every time that kid pulled the trigger - he was sending that guy instant messages of near death from a jungle war a long time ago. Sure enough - the cap went of and the poor fellow would wince each time that pop went off. May God bless that fellow where ever he is today - healed and and with plenty of distance from that war and the wounds inflicted on his heart and mind. God bless him and muffle his ears.
We were years from that war, and on the other side of the globe. We were in a safe place - safer than most churches. As the saying goes, "only Christians kill their wounded". It's a good thing that I was leaning on the arms of Jesus rather than the church at that time. I thought that **** was behind me until that cap gun went off today. I couldn't raise my hand - I flinched and kept low. My mind said, "It's not safe here." Don't give them any ammo to spread around - they'll shoot you in the back with it. Isn't that sad? I need The Body - I know I need The Body - but I ducked nevertheless. I need my brothers - I need my sisters. I need two or more to give me cover - to watch my back during enemy attack. I guess it will take some time for that wound to heal. To this day, when some joker uses the term "safe place", - like a bullet passing my ear - I wince.
A few years back I was looking for another church. Funny thing is, "safe place" was a catch-phrase that was being used rather freely among every fellowship I visited. I ended back at Vineyard - they are no better or worse - at least I have a better understanding of the terrain there. For now, I will stay in the familiar jungle - until I am sent elsewhere.I am glad God gave this David a cave back then. Glad He gave me a few male comrades that I knew were trustworthy - thanks Jose' - thanks Jason, thanks Jerry. Thank you Jesus! Through that experience - as in experiences in the past with organized religion - God has never left me alone. God was always real - always there - giving me grace and hope - often outside of the norm. I didn't need the judgement from others - God wasn't lording my failures over me - I found grace in Him- I found hope and sanity because of His immediate presence and guidance amid that terrible valley. The judgement from others should not have mattered- I am not their slave after all. I was nevertheless wounded - which is ultimately my fault - that I allowed it cut me - cut as deep as it did. All I had to do at the time was wait on Him - and heed what He was instructing me to do during that painful process of learning and growing.
The good news is that God had been redeeming that experience even while it was transpiring, Yet I realized today that I have a scar from it still. I need healing - maybe more time - His healing touch. Hopefully - I have learned from this - that I have had my Matrix moment - that I can navigate through the bullets - even the friendly fire -without allowing them to hit the mark.
On a more positive note.
After the service today, I was asked to join in the worship leader's meeting. It was a good meeting - God is plugging every one into His work in the community. We need to have our ears wide open - eyeballs click opportunities He lines up for us. He's calling us to take Worship out side the walls. It's been on my heart for at least three years now. I know that it's not just a Vineyard thing - but a Body thing. I can't wait till school is over and I can get out on the streets and play about His love, worship Him, be free, laugh in between. All we can do is be ready - prepare our hearts - fast & pray - fill our lamps with oil and burn our lamps - shine for His glory. All we can be are vessels. It was a good gathering today.
God on you.
"First thing is, that target wasn't shooting back at you. Second, most men at that last second will flinch; I won't." - John Wayne The Shootist.