September 23 was a pivot point, pt. 1

Here follows what I originally started writing about September 23, before I decided to provide some backstory.

*

September 23, 2017 was not a non-event – in my life, anyway. I gained some perspective after a few weeks. I’d initially hoped and expected that some great, long-awaited promotion was going to happen on September 23. After all, my interest in the date had been spurred by a pretty extraordinary display. When the day came and went with no radical and obvious changes in my life circumstances, I was a bitter human. And confused. I’d effectively had a neon sign vision identifying the date, along with some significant accompanying words. When nothing of note happened on the day, I didn’t know what to do. I declared the day had been an uneventful disappointment.

But in the days after September 23 I recognized that there were a couple of things different, though not in the style of any kind of dramatic pivot point in my life. For one thing, a hotspot that had been present off and on in the left side of my face for weeks had become abruptly large and constantly intense. I also noticed something that was notable for its absence. On the morning of September 24 I took my first preoccupied steps out of bed. The apparent fizzle of September 23 was weighing heavily on my mind. Some minutes after I’d been up and about, I realized my foot didn’t hurt. Not much, anyway. The focal point of the pain I’d been experiencing for months was mostly gone; there was no lump. The pain was much diminished and was localized in a spot slightly closer to my heel than anything I’d felt previously. It was like the absence of the lump allowed me to step on some tissue that hurt to the touch but only in a secondary way. I don’t know how to explain it. The overall pain and trauma had decreased from a 9 to a 1 overnight, with no corrective effort on my part.

Sept 26 – I was waking/dozing early in the morning. I had a somewhat chaotic dream sequence going, although I’m not sure I was asleep. There was a lot of ambient noise. Amidst the noise I heard a vague voice that made me realize that the noise was happening in the first place. So I guess I wasn’t asleep. The voice in the noise said: “Something’s different.” Abruptly the noise stopped, and the voice continued, contrasted against the silence: “Do you know what it is?”

I figured it might have been Jesus doing the asking. I projected that Jesus was asking me if I knew what grand strategic thing was different, now that September 23 had come and gone. My initial answer was, “No. No, I don’t know what is different.” I spent the next week telling Him the things that I noticed being different since September 23; and I asked Him to let me know if I was missing something. Here’s what I told Him I’d noticed:

1) My foot improved daily. Talk about turning on a dime. The change in my foot injury was sudden, dramatic, and directly coincident with September 23.

2) Child’s diabetes was stabilized. By September 23 we were over a month removed from hospitals, although there had been one instance of urine ketones in August. More importantly: I think (I’m writing from old and incomplete notes here) there had been an abrupt stabilization in diabetes management starting September 23 that went above and beyond the general calming that had occurred from late July through August and September.

3) There had been no “invitations” in a couple of weeks. The two-week deluge of dreams/words/visions in April into May had preceded an invitation from God to quit my job. I refer to it as an invitation because the last dream I had in that day’s-long sequence was of words that read “This is an invitation.” Subsequently, I’d begun thinking of the morning visits from God – like “Wash someone’s feet tonight” – as invitations for that particular day. I’d grown accustomed to experiencing such an invitation every week or so, during July through September. I assumed that this pattern would last for the rest of my life. It didn’t even last through September. The last discerned morning invitation was on September 10. By September 23 I was getting antsy in their absence. Had I done something to short-circuit the process? I was confident that I’d been walking the straight and narrow path. Whatever the case, I knew something was different.

Incidentally, it was also around this time that I prayed a prayer of specific thanks to God that I’d never lost my children in the process of surviving divorce. We certainly haven’t seen each other more than a fraction as much as we are wired to unconsciously expect out of a father-child relationship; but my kids know that their father adores them. That’s worth something. I’m grateful for that confidence, even in the dust of lost and irreplaceable years’ worth of togetherness. So I told God thank you.

Sept 28 – We had a guest worship leader at our Thursday morning prayer set. I’ll call her Rachel, because that’s not her name. Rachel and I had never played together in a set that she was leading. During that morning’s set she began playing a song I didn’t know. For whatever reason, I had a hard time picking a beat out of what she was playing on her guitar. It didn’t seem like a complex song; but it took me a while to get anything going, rhythm-wise. Complicating matters was the fact that the song was having a profound spiritual impact on me, as I listened to the words. I’ve been playing in Christian worship environments for over twenty years. I’ve never been personally moved by a song quite like I was that morning.

I’m generally a “music over lyrics” guy; I don’t hear lyrics all that well. I’m primarily moved or not by the music of any given song. But the lyrics in this song Rachel was playing were (at least as performed that morning) custom written to fit my spirit. As she sang the words, it was as if Jesus Himself was sitting in the drum booth singing to me. I could almost feel a physical impact from the words against me. Wild stuff. I wept as I hacked around, looking for an appropriate beat to that wonderful song. The song is written as a conversation between Jesus and the listener. Jesus invites the listener to join Him on an adventure. “It’s gonna be wild. It’s gonna be great. It’s gonna be full of Me…”

Oct 2 – woke at 0237

Oct 3 – While waking in the morning, I heard, “As time goes on, you will be invited into more things.” Thank you, God! This was comforting. It let me know I was still worthy of such consideration. I knew that “As time goes on” could mean anything from “one second from now” to anything further in the future. It felt like it would be more of a “further in the future” thing. I resolved to busy myself while waiting patiently for the next invitation. I had been spending quite a bit of time working on learning more music theory and practice on bass guitar and keyboard. I was also trying to finish up a couple of songs that I’d had in the works for a while. Music would keep me busy while I waited for more invitations, was my immediate plan. Life was good. I didn’t have to go to an office job that day; and more invitations were pending, whenever.

I rolled over and checked my phone. There was a text message from a friend of mine, suggesting we should plan to have lunch together. It was the first time either of us had communicated with the other in many months. He had uncharacteristically sent a photo with his text message. The photo showed some text in a magazine, highlighting a quote attributed to philosopher Goethe. The quote said something like, “He who chooses is haunted by choice.” I assumed that the quote was a reference to my months-old decision to leave my job. I replied to the text with some lunch suggestions. I got out of bed and, sometime later that morning, noticed that my face had stopped burning. I hadn’t knowingly done anything that I’d previously learned could cause the hotspots to cool. But I’d just been reassured about more invitations in the future; so I wasn’t worried much about the change in my face.

The morning was a pretty routine one – breakfast, exercise, drums. Routine days had been in short supply recently. The kids and I had just finished something like five straight weeks of them being with me much more than usual. It was great to see their faces and live life with them that much. It’s a different lifestyle than the one that happens when they aren’t with me. When they are here and I am in full-time father mode, all forward progress with regard to music and writing, for example, generally grinds to a halt. Which is neither good nor bad; it’s just how things go with our family’s dynamics. Now that the long string of August and September visits was done, I’d have time to slide back into a productive groove.

Late in the morning, I got a text from The Ex. She wanted to talk to me on the phone about something. That meant that she wanted something from me. Something big. I didn’t look forward to the conversation, though I was curious what had prompted an actual and atypical conversation beyond email or text. No big deal, whatever the case. Life was good. I didn’t have to go to an office job that day; and more invitations were pending, whenever.

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