“Let us now lament the days gone by…” words echoing in my brain as if it were the refrain to a great song or beginning to a well-known poem, as I woke up from my nap. There were no such words strung together from a search in Google, but maybe someone other than me will write them down one day, and they will become a well-known thing to say.
This morning, I awoke from a dream where I was helping create a Powerpoint presentation of everyone’s favorite memories of my brother R, and I was working with R, my older brother who was his biological brother, and their surviving biological family. I woke up feeling very much the fact that R, too, was a person worthy of someone’s love, though I often don’t think of him as much when I ponder the passing of H and Mom. R left home when I was eight, and he may have come back a total of five times before never coming back again.
The dream from the nap that prompted the words to an unwritten poem was a dream about going back in time to the days when my dad had a den in the back part of our basement. Later, the old loveseat that was in that den (that my parents told me was the only thing they slept on when they were first married) would sit in the “computer room,” a back nook of a room adjoining the master bedroom of the house in Missouri.
There was something about the richness of the dream, where it puts up feelings and images and sounds that you know to be true and others you know are only from dreams as you are waking up, and then by the time you are writing about it, most of it is gone.
There is really nothing worth knowing about the past that I haven’t already written about, sometimes many times over. The person I was in childhood was not my ideal self, slowly becoming enmeshed in sin and corruption from worldly influences. But, he was at times a self worth recovering, a person once rejected who should be found again. His naivete about God and Christianity will never be replicated in quite the same way–but would I want it to be so? During the years I was at my most fervent about loving Jesus and being a Christian, I was also busy bullying my little brother and then my friend Mike. I was terrified of the images and entities I encountered between sleep and wakefulness, and could never bring myself to completely trust God to take care of me.
Should I see my current spiritual journey as a linear path out of the hell of my past corrupt behavior and impure self? No, although that’s exactly how I’ve seen it too many times to count. I can’t help myself from taking moments out of the month to congratulate myself for not being like I was two, five, ten years ago. And yet, I can’t ever seem to understand why I still do some of the sinful things I do.
Turning away from and then back to God, and the subsequent efforts to stay focused on God and divested of too much focus on self–this isn’t ever going to be a linear path culminating in saintlike righteousness. The reason is because I am either facing God or away from God at any given single moment–the choice is always there to come back, no matter how wicked I’ve been. Once I am facing God, any attempt to dictate how I should be running my life in the effort to make it appear like a linear betterment of self is an attempt to build an ideal, or a spiritual journey apart from where God wants to lead me. God doesn’t care about me having a pristine linear digression model to describe my spiritual advancement–God just wants me to step up and stop sinning, and begin following Christ.
For all I know, there have been moments in the past month where I have been every bit as sinful and detached from God, as I was when I was trying so hard to get as far away from God as possible. Conversely, there were no doubt many times during the years I pulled away from God, where I was inevitably closer to Him than I was willing myself to be–either due to His own grace and abundance or to my mother’s prayers for me, or both.