It was in the garden center at my place of employment, the Menards store in Cedar Falls, Iowa, sometime in the afternoon on Sunday, February 5th, 2017, when I realized I wasn’t God.
I don’t mean in terms of creating anything or knowing everyone’s thoughts or mapping out the destiny of the world from a recliner in the house my girlfriend and I share. I mean as far as my desire to be adored, revered, and followed. There, in the garden center, I came to realizations.
Less than 24 hours prior that I decided to attend Prairie Lakes Church on a rare Saturday evening off from my work. I had been a church jumper for years and had alternated between denominations. At one point I even became an atheist. I was an absurd atheist because there wasn’t really a moment where I didn’t believe that there wasn’t some sort of creator. With my father’s death in January 2013, I had started attending a Lutheran church with the person who would turn out to be my ex-wife. Our renewed spirituality was not enough to save the marriage and that collapsed in September 2013 with me leaving the home.
Funny- it’s been almost four years now and I still feel shame in typing that sentence. I ought to. I did my fair share in behavior and actions to cause our separation and divorce. But I digress.
Still wanting what I thought was some kind of relationship to sustain me against my life, which appeared to be collapsing around me, I decided to join the Catholic Church because I knew for a fact that no one who knew me or what had happened to me would know and then I could be in peace. But then I began what I will call an inappropriate relationship with someone in the church and when I broke that off because of a guilty conscience, that was pretty much the end of my involvement in the Catholic Church outside of one or two masses I attended.
Aside from going to Christmas service with my girlfriend at her church, I stopped attending altogether. Over the course of 2015-16, my life began to get pieced back together. I met my wonderful girlfriend, We moved in together in April 2016. I started a new career in Menards. I got on Dave Ramsey and began to get my financial house in order.
Anyone familiar with Dave Ramsey will know that he is not shy at all about sharing his faith. Through working on his program, I felt the call to fix my spiritual house and bring it into order.
So I went to Prairie Lakes. And I saw the person I knew from those days. Although I don’t like to be vague in these posts, I will have to be here. I alienated him and members of his family with my clinginess and selfish need to be admired and adored. Truly immature behavior on my part. It horrifies me now writing this just as it did when I saw him.
But I do believe that the Lord brought me to this point on purpose. If it were not for the feeling of guilt over past behavior, I would not have embarked upon this journey. I would not have examined myself and come to realize that Jesus needed to be in the place of my selfish desires. It would not have led me to those moments in the garden center at work.
In just a few days, the hopelessness and despair of that moment when I left Prairie Lakes turned into the opening stages of my with Jesus. Unlike previous times, it is based on authenticity on my part.
I realize this post jumps around a lot, and I apologize. But I am sure that I will be coming back to fill in blanks on these details in the future.
Thanks for reading.