From the archives -- (This is one of the first things I wrote as an adult -- night shift at St. Louise Hospital)
So, I was at the Bridge concert Sunday, and as the dark came over me I had a vision of what god wants me to do next. Not so much an eyeball kind of vision, but more a "just there" kind of thing. (Please note that I am NOT religious in any way, shape or form; and have really never spent time in a structured church.)
What I saw in a blink of an eye are the following directions:
Get a hair shirt, and walk with a large cross to
I tend to over think things, so I started making bargains with god-what I like to think of as working the details.
How much hair in a hair shirt? Barber shops and super glue? Can I get sponsors for the cross? A wheel at the base? Just how big does the cross have to be? Can I pick the route to
? Why Prescott ? Is it important that I know why? Can I use a harness? Can PBS attach a camera to the cross? Is there a time limit to the trip? (40days/nights?)? Can I bring a date? Will meals be provided? What will I do after I get there? Short or long sleeve hair shirt? How much hair to make a legal hair shirt? What if I like the hair shirt- will that take from the lessons gods teaching me? Maybe just a Pendleton wool shirt? Prescott
And then I started to reinterpret the dream. Maybe god just wanted me to deliver a cross to some church in
. Maybe just a good drive in my truck with the cross hanging out the bed and a wheel touching the highway as I drove. Maybe just a small wooden cross hanging around my neck as I drove to Vegas. Maybe just thinking of a clever way of writing down my vision would be enough. I started dumbing down the deal Arizona
But in my gut, my great taproot of feeling- I know. Its simple-God wants me to get a big fucking cross, throw it over my shoulder and walk to
. Nothing more, nothing less. Prescott Arizona
Am I going to do it? I mentally know that this might not be a real message from god- I might be in error-god knows I've never really been a good judge of reality. So- I plan to run it by some good friends and wait for good weather. I will post again when plans firm up....
OK- later- the feedback so far is- Forrest Gump in a Simpson’s episode. Enough said... A good friend suggested that even dwelling on the idea might make it seem even more real -- as if that were such a bad thing. His feeling is that to give time to a crazy idea makes it seem as if it's a legitimate option- when in fact- it's just crazy talk.
It gets me thinking.... How can a person really tell if he is getting a message from god? How do you check bonifides? Is there a litmus test- a password- a spell check for god’s transmission of the WORD?
Got some feedback to share:
My parents think I write pretty and have a good imagination.
My cousin thinks that god wants me to write a book.
My Aunt thinks, “Typical Mike”
Some other family members are still shaking their heads with small smiles, eyes down
I’ve also gotten a few great emails of 2 types. One with serious comments and related web sites. One with take offs from the original post. (Substituting “Wearing an Ascot” for “Going to
” was my favorite). Prescott
No religious notes from anyone-, which surprised me. Also, no one offered to sponsor me- but I did get an offer to video tape me for later. Also, no offer of anyone to drive a support van for me.
I must say that I think I am getting in over my head with this whole trip. Sure, god told me what to do, but I think I could use a little help with all this. It seems somewhat overwhelming. I could really use some help with the details- I have a great imagination, but have huge blind spots that others can really help me with. Route planning I think I can handle, but small items and fun spots to stop could be helpful. I plan to travel alone, but would like to feel that others are thinking about me.
I plan to take this trip in 40 days (And nights). Seems sort of traditional to me to do the Jebus in the desert approach. So at 700 miles or so- plenty of walking to do. I plan a light wood cross with a pneumatic wheel at the base- nothing too flashy or heavy. I think a small cart or backpack for my stuff will keep it simple- although I am still keeping my eye out for a support van. I am still up in the air about the hair shirt thing- and am very open to suggestions concerning this.
I think the trip will have to wait until the first warm period next spring- mostly in keeping with the desert theme, and also because I get cold easily. Plenty of time to plan.
I will keep posting updates as they come
I got out of bed the other morning and went outside to get the paper and was so cold that I got a few extra blankets and went back to bed. I think this whole cross thing may have to wait for warmer weather.
Not that I am harboring any bad thoughts about the project, but… I do seem to be questioning the will of god lately.
I have read a bit about Mother Teresa lately. As a young girl she talked to god daily for about a month. God told her what to do and where to go. Whet interesting is that god never talked to her again after that month was up. Not for the 70 additional years of her life. Not once. And it was enough.
Carl Jung writes that when you are having neurotic or obsessional problems after the age of thirty- that they are probably spiritual problems. That each of us needs to be connected to something bigger than ourselves. That being ourselves can never be enough.
I was not raised with a religion and so tend to have an outsiders view of the whole thing. Catholics have their Jesus on a stick thing, Mormons their salamanders bringing gold tablets and such. The Protestants seem fairly straight foreword until you realize that their whole religion is a reaction to HOW the Catholics tended things, not why. I have always found organized religion to be sort of tough to get a handle on.
What seems to be the deal involves discipline, practice, and faith. Knowing that something bigger than self exists, and that that something will take care of us. The faith is in the acting as if. We get the present, not the future. We can’t see the plan for us because if we did, we would screw it up. So the faith is in the doing the now as best we can, understanding that we may never see the true consequences of our behaviors. Mysterious wonders to perform, and all that…
I think the old Jews had the right idea when they told us we couldn’t say the name of god out loud- that any attempts to make human the face of god necessarily limited him/her. It’s like you don’t really need to know corporate policy to do your job- just a simple mission statement ought to be enough to get you going. Knowing that it’s really big, and that there is a plan helps a lot, though.