Monday, May 06, 2013

Shame and betrayal

Aaargh! I hate it when I f*ck up! 

So, over the weekend I decided to make my fiction collection (Spirit Fruit) and my religious Bible study (How NOT to read the Bible) be free on kindle.

I went all out to let everyone know about the fiction antho but didn't so much as mention the Bible study. 

Then I noticed that for ages, I have had only my fiction and not my Bible study in my email signature.

Am I ashamed of Christ?

IT really does take a lot of bravery for me to talk about God on facebook or to tweet something religious. Whenever I watch something religious on youtube sometimes I don't click "LIKE" because I don't want my twitter followers to know I've watched it. 

I'm feeling now way worse than Peter could've felt when he betrayed Jesus. (Although I'm not really weeping bitterly.) The slide toward ignoring Jesus is a subtle downward slope apparently because I could've sworn that I was being brave and faithful. Major bummer.

Ah well. Consider all that God has done for me, how did I screw up like that?

A bit of my testimony:

One: "You, God, see me."
Two: "My times are in your hands."
Three: "The Lord knoweth our thoughts."
Four: "God's sheep hear his voice."
Five: "You will hear a voice saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'"

So, yeah, the Korean godwinks. A few of my friends are aware of this: ever since I started the novel My Life as an Onion, which has a Korean-French main character, the word Korea would pop up almost everyday while I wrote it. So much so that I got to expect it daily. It was as if they were encouraging me to finish the story. Or maybe they were just encouraging me by telling me that God was with me. Either way there they were...on an almost daily basis.

What do you mean? I hear you asking.

Well, let's see.
I'd get up and turn on the television to the news. Then I'd sit at my computer to write then I'd decide at no exact time and for no real reason to stretch my legs or to see what is on television and I'd start flipping through the remote. Then I might stop at some stupid little sitcom I never ever ever watched because I felt like stopping and after about a minute -- sometimes after only about ten seconds-- someone on the show would mention Korea.

When it first started, I'd smile and say, "Thank you, Lord! You're so funny! Okay, you're aware of me. I'll go write."

But the godwinks continued... DAILY. It was totally as if I had a coach/comforter always beside me. I'd be waiting on a supermarket check-out line and someone would come up behind me and she'd be talking to someone else and suddenly one of them would say, "Oh, I'm trying to make this Korean dish." OR "I'm going to Korea for vacation." For the eight or so months of writing, it happened everyday..and Korea wasn't even in the news back then.  

There was one day I decided to get up and go into the kids' room. I listened to a religious music video on gospelmusicchannel by then I started flipping through the channels. I saw an old movie on AMC or TCM called "Period of Adjustment." I'd never heard of it and was on my way up to SyFy channel, USA, and Spike TV to see what was on. But I figured I'd pause and check it out. When I read the details of the story, I see: "Two sets of honeymooners struggle with being newly-married" ugh! Not in the mood to see some fifties movie about honeymooners." But even so, there I was watching it.

About a minute into the movie, one female character says, "I don't know what's the matter with X. All he does is shake, shake, shake." The male character replies, "Oh? He's doing that again? That started in Korea."

I heard it but I didn't really hear it. I said to myself, "Oh, this movie was made after the Korean war? It doesn't look that modern. It doesn't look interesting. But I suppose I'm watching it for some reason. Maybe I'll get a godwink about Korea or something. I'll just wait until I get a sign or something because there's gotta be some reason I'm watching it. Maybe a nice Bible verse of something."

Then I heard the holy spirit say to me: "But I HAVE given you a sign." I heard this sooo clearly. 

I start to think... and SUDDENLY it dawns on my peanut brain: KOREA!!!!! Yes, the wife just said the illness started in Korea. 

So I burst out laughing. I couldn't stop laughing.

The funny thing about that one is that I had totally missed it. I even had noticed the Korean comment but had only thought of it as a key to when the movie was made. So yeah, even when one gets a sign, one needs the holy spirit to tell one that a sign has been given. Then one needs the holy spirit to jog one's memory to tell one what the sign was. B

Of course this could mean I should be praying for Korea. I mean, this might have nothing to do with me at all. That is: it is a sure sign but the interpretation is unsure or wrong. But to me, it just makes me know that God is very playful and very aware of me.

I heard a Christian nurse say something like: The most under-repeated unknown news are the stories of God's miracles merciful kindness and dealing with humans. Because for some reason that stuff is never heard on television. How near and humble our Lord stay so near us, to play with us, to reassure us... on a daily basis.But it's so hard to see sometimes. 

When I told my friend Marvin Katzoff about this (Marvin used to be a child actor back in the day on a really cult TV show) he responded with this:
"I think the best way to deal with any doubts that these are godwinks from God is through a prayer that “covers all the bases”. If I were experiencing something like this, and had any doubts about the source, I would pray to God, something along the lines of “Dear God, may these be signs coming from you, for some good purpose. If they’re not from you but from some evil source, please turn them into something good.” And of course, a prayer for Korea can’t hurt.

I'm a religious nut but I'm generally unintrusive, except on my blog where I ponder and meditate and discuss my spiritual walk. I think it's been easy for me to be religious because God just has always been present with me. When I was a baby, my mother had a dream that she shouldn't bring me to the hospital for vaccination. Her friend went anyway. The friend's baby died. Turns out the vaccine batch was tainted. And when I came to the US, my mother took us on a trip to Bear Mountain (which is apparently the mecca for Brooklynites going to the boonies for vacation) and my sister and I were running all over. Suddenly in the middle of running from my sister as we dashed about playing and chasing each other, I was suddenly stopped by a strange invisible brick wall. It was very odd and weird. When I came to myself, I walked a little ahead, and there was a sheer drop. I would've fallen over. Oh my gosh, there was also the time a lightning bolt almost hit me. I've had so many weird incidents that I am convinced I have some weird wonderful thing to do in the world.  I even saw the world open up, and a demon walk through it toward me. But the greatest was when I was a kid and saw an angel. 

When I was only 16, I was studying the Bible.  During those times, I had horrendous nightmares of being pursued by a “Godfather” type figure who seemed intent on harming me. C.S. Lewis wrote that many people don’t believe in God simply because they do not want to have another Father.  But then it hadn’t occurred to me that my inability to trust in God was rooted in the fact that I had no real father.  Nor did the fact that the nightmare “Godfather” might be the same Person I referred to in my prayers as “God, Father in Heaven.”

But there I was, reading the Bible and lying in bed when for no reason at all, I turned towards the wall.  That was when I saw a being standing there.  To say I was surprised is an understatement. The being whom I saw was a far cry from the typical angel one might see in greeting cards.  There were no feathers, for instance, no wings. The being was plain and simply made up of light. It was as if someone had taken a fine-point pencil or chiseling tool and drawn a pencil sketch on the wall. Except that instead of dark still lines, what I saw was living moving light, a fine-featured being finely-etched like a drawing but quite real.  The being wore a crown and except for a smile did not seem to move.  And it is this smile that I will always remember. 

It was a smile that seemed to say he understood everything about me– good and bad– yet loved me anyway.  I don’t think I can adequately describe the feeling of intimacy and personal attachment that this person seemed to feel for me.  It was as if we were old friends, as if he had always been there with me and would always be there with me.   Here was a being to whom I was completely known and completely loved.  A being with complete good humor and a sweet conspiratorial kindness in his eyes.  All I could do was smile at him, as if to say, “Oh, it’s you!”.
The funny thing was that this angel did not say anything.  He didn’t tell me any great spiritual truths about my life or the world.  But his very presence showed me that there was a world where good and love and God existed.  During the following years, I have endured several trials.  During these times I have asked myself, “How could God allow this to happen to me if He still exists?” I have asked God to send his loving angel to me several times to comfort me.  That request has not been granted and the angel has never reappeared.  But, with the help of the Bible, this visitation has healed my past fatherlessness and has been a healing balm to the lovelessness of my earlier life. Whenever I am about to fail under the strain of the trials in my life, I remember the sweet sweet smile of that being from another country. The memory of a person I have yet to truly meet has stayed with me.  And every thing in me longs for that wonderful loving country that is and has always been my Home.   

For me, it is this incredibly wonderful feeling that I am so so so loved by the One who made me. He's not only very close to me but very personal. I've always wondered why the air is so thin in some folks' some folks see and feel God so easily and others not at all. My son once had an angel warn him about a fire in the house. He got up in time to put out the fire. But he says he'll wait til he gets older to serve God. I prayed and prayed for hubby to see an angel but all he ever saw was a ghost as he walked in Depew Park. I asked God, "And what the heck was that for?" I didn't get an answer but I suspect it was to show my husband that the supernatural exists..because now he believes that. I suspect God is a force, definitely but He is also deeply intensely quirkily personal. 

You don't have to worry. No more religious flakiness from me. I know this kind of weirdness can bother some folks. <3 div="" nbsp="">

Oh one last thing, when my older son was about three, I dreamed of two neighbor kids beating him horrible with a yellow rope. Such a strange dream out of the blue. When I got up, who should drop by but these two neighbor kids? Little Tony and his cousin Andrew. They had a little yellow ribbon. They said, "We were playing cowboys and indians and we want to tie Logan up. Just for fun" They were about 13 and 17. One of them gently allowed the ribbon to flow over my arm: "See, Carole, we won't hurt him."

Sufficeth to say I didn't allow them to. Little Tony did well in the world. Andy....well, let's just say he turned out quite badly. I don't know what entered into them to get their weird idea ...or if they would've started playing and gotten murderous. Only my dear sweet Personal saving God knows what would've gotten down. But am glad I listened to the guiding dream this personal God gave me. 

So could a woman who has had such a faithful God slide into a position of letting herself be ashamed of him, and of hiding her faith? It's easy, apparently. ashamed of myself.  Gotta go fight against this shame by posting the link to this post and the link to my Bible study and tweeting. I'll be cringing while I do that, of course...which is shameful. I shouldn't be cringing. Nor should i fear the mean-spiritedness of atheists who like picking on Christians. Will see how brave I actually am.. 

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