“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” by Hunter S. Thompson was a ‘must read’ for me. The title caught my attention and was followed by a story of alcohol and drug induced debauchery coupled with violence. It was the story I could relate to. “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.” This is how the book began. I was halfway through the desert that was my life when the drugs wore off. That is how life as I knew it ended.
Life as I knew it was bad. Not just uncomfortable or discomforting, but really bad. I had reached a place where I could see no way out, and was totally defeated. The level of chaos and misery had finally surpassed my ability to withstand it even with the use of drugs and alcohol. In prison through quiet desperation I called God out, and God was there. In essence He smacked me into a life I didn’t believe existed for anyone, much less for me. And in the ensuing years He gently wooed me and led me to a place of peace. Peace with myself and others.
I had a name, and I was named by the countless people I had hurt, betrayed, robbed, or dishonored. The litany of names they gave me, I owned. They were no worse than the names I called myself. I knew in my innermost being who and what I was. Many times I wanted to be different, normal, or at least better able to maintain the appearance. But no amount of wanting, wishing, or making stuff happen could change it. I could not make my life work.
When I called God out, maybe I was finally calling out to God, I don’t know. But I do know that He met me right where I was, pulled no punches, and returned to me cognizance of the real me that I had lost so many years ago. And somewhere along the line, He gave me a name. None of this happened this week. It took place over the last twenty years.
Today, I spend my quiet time looking inward and listening to the voice of my spirit. It is a quiet, gentle voice that holds no judgments about who I used to be. It doesn’t offer recriminations about what I have done, or even about things I am doing now. It mostly just reminds me that I am a perfect child of God. And it sometimes asks if the way I am living demonstrates that. I am not afraid of the voice, but I am sometimes afraid I am wrong, that this life is a sham, and doesn’t really amount to anything.
I know that the thing I have longed for my entire life is this communion with the Spirit that created me, that knew me before my birth, and knows more about me than I do myself. I have always felt the hole in my being that only God could fill. I just didn’t know that a relationship with God was possible.
Today I yearn for more time to spend in the quiet where God resides inside of me, an eternal well-spring of hope.