Yes, the required refreshment 2020-style surprise came out of left field. I could regale you with the major traumas of the year, beginning with the unexpected death of the love of my life in late December. I have never experienced that level of grief. In fact it can be honestly said, I’ve never experienced grief before.
True, that demonstrates my social/emotional damage more than anything else. I read a letter this morning from one of my trusted spiritual leaders who finds himself in a required sabbatical. His physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion led him [at the urging of his wife, friends, and ministry associates] to take a required lengthy time to find healing and recovery. I found myself in tears as I read what he is going through. More than that, I strongly empathized.
He has realized, as have I, that many of our work habits [compulsive study, the need for large amounts of personal private time, the compulsion to be constantly producing, the requirement of near-constant new revelation] are not evil—but they can become damaging. More than that, they are the defensive mechanisms of a person with much social pain, unusual motivations, and a unique personality.
A strong call brings intense focus plus isolation
He and I felt a strong call in our early teens. His call came to a young man living in a powerful spiritual environment and resulted in a truly amazing life of ministry. I truly respect and admire who he is, and what he has become. I am almost overjoyed by his achievements, wisdom, and character.
My call came to a rebellious, arrogant young man living in a cultural environment of lies, self deception, and social disintegration. As I’ve said for many years, the fifties produced the sixties. However, my arrogance required my humiliation before I could even look for help. I reacted badly to my discipline—seeing it as oppression from the ignorant, at best. As I’ve written before, my father’s prayers were key to my survival though I had no idea they even existed or that they were working.
I had no idea about any of this
I turned to drugs and art and found an expression for the inner drive which propelled me. I wrote about this more thoroughly here. The fact that it was completely self-centered and had many unhealthy aspects escaped me entirely. I only knew it was necessary—but I had no idea why. Thank God, He called me into rebirth and His Kingdom before I killed myself—accidentally or on purpose.
More than that, He gave me a wife who loved me. I loved her enough to begin looking outside myself. The Lord used her to bring me through a brutal forty years of self-examination, repentance, and cathartic growth. In Jesus and Patricia, I found two people who would stand toe to toe with me and not back down. I’m increasingly amazed by the love of both of them.
The required refreshment 2020-style surprise has been wonderful
I don’t know about the rest of you, but the total lockdown has been a wonderful joy—to me. It was a necessary time of refreshment. I can see how it has affected others in the Kingdom. I have watched with growing sorrow as the world has reacted with increasing lunacy, idiocy, and fervency. I’m seeing a massive explosion of self-destruction in the world—personally, socially, and culturally.
For me, it has been a time where I have been given the grace to process grief, seek the Lord, and discover the focus of my call. You cannot imagine the joy of being given over three months of time to finally complete my fantasy series, which I have been working on since sometime in the 1990s. From March 6 to June 2, I began book three, wrote over 140,000 words of my best fiction ever, and published it. It was an amazing time with the Lord, under the anointing of His Holy Spirit.
But that doesn’t even begin to touch what Jesus has done in my life since Pat died. All I can do is thank Him and praise Him for His love and power. Much of it has only personal relevance. If I wrote a large book about the experience, most would find it strange, pathetic, or comical. But it’s been an incredible time of growth toward being like Jesus. It’s been a great year so far. I can’t wait to see what’s coming and how it will work out.