I’m the Moon
I missed church this morning. Didn’t wake up till 8 a.m. and I was out late last night with my younger twin daughter, Haley Bug.
On the way home, I got a series of email reminders cast through the voice of Satan attempting to once again convince me I’m not a person worthy of the love of God or my daughters. The fact is, no matter what, I’ll never be able to lower myself enough to try and measure up to their standards. I used to listen to that hate talk, but have found ways through the past years to just let the dog howl at the moon and me not reply. In those cases where the dog howls and the moon passes silently throughout the night, I’m the moon.
It was 54 degrees here in Mesquite, Texas this morning. Nice. If it could stay in this range more throughout the year, I might come to say I like living here, but alas, it’ll be 90 again in a few days, and if not then, give it a few months.
Walking With God
Maycee and I went for a 2.5-mile walk this morning. We haven’t walked regularly in months. It’s been 90 or more on most days and since I grew up in the North, that kind of hot just has always worn me out.
So we went on a walk into the woods this morning. My dog hears the “Start Workout,” voice on the MapMyWalk App and she doesn’t even turn toward our place from the dog potty pen. She knows we’re headed into the woods.
I’ve done a lot more walking with God the past few months.
In late June, I began a new book project that has consumed me the past three and a half months. When I say consumed, I’m not kidding. This was the most intense writing project I’ve ever done, complete at 87,000 words. Before I whittled it down, it’d had gotten to 93,000 words.
The story, The Voodoo Hill Explorer Club, is about a man who returns present day to the woods of K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, which closed in the mid-1990s. He goes back expecting and hoping to find the peace he once knew as a boy, and as he walks the woods of his youth, he remembers the frightening and tragic events of Day Two of a massive blizzard that hit the UP on Dec. 7-9, 1977, when he was 13 years old. That storm dumped 49 inches of snow on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Part of the story also includes May to December of 1977, and the events that led to what happened on Dec. 8.
In the story, the man realizes how much the world has changed over the course of his life and he finally comes to grips with the inner peace he’s been looking for as a consequence to many hardships he’s endured in his life. It’s not just the story of Kirk Carson, but the story of all of us.
He starts off saying he “wants to go home.” He’s an Air Force Brat, having moved dozens of times in his life, and having established many protective practices to keep from continual emotional scaring and pain from growing close to people who either move away, deceive and hurt him, or die.
The past six and a half years of my own life have been the hardest and the worst. Much of all that I worked for was robbed of me–family, friends, jobs, houses, cars, finances, dog, you name it, because of the greed, evil and hate of some very emotionally damaged people who I made the mistake of bringing into my world, thinking somehow I could help them, and of course, bringing them in before I realized how deceived I had been.
The past few years there has been some healing, but I’ve learned lots about how hurt people hurt people, even titling that as a chapter in the book.
In The Voodoo Hill Explorer Club, my character realizes several important emotional, psychological and physical lessons about himself. Lessons I hope can be passed to readers some day if and when I can get the work published.
Meanwhile, it’s also time to do editing on this year’s earlier novel, The Privacy Patriots, which per the instruction of my SMU writing program director, I put in the closet from June until now. She’d said not to touch it until August, but Voodoo Hill was in the way of my mind.
Last night, when my youngest daughter was here, she saw the two binders encompassing both books–a total of almost 700 pages of double spaced, Times New Roman print. “Dang, Dad!” she said when she saw them together. That felt good to have one of my children acknowledge such an accomplishment. I start a project, and I finish it. They don’t see that modeled like they should.
So what is next? I’m doubling my efforts to bring in new work, and I’m about to start doing revisions on The Privacy Patriots, while also beginning the much harder process of finding an agent for my works.
Facing Out of the Woods
More importantly, on family business in September, I drove my mom to Indiana for her 50th high school reunion and then the next morning she told me to go to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and go do the research I’d been needing to do to finish The Voodoo Hill Explorer Club. While in the UP, I also checked on our family land for my dad. What I found there is another story.
While in the UP, I also did the research I needed for the book by going to what’s left of the base, walking out into the woods where the story takes place and looking, listening, smelling, sensing and remembering things that did and did not happen there to make the telling of the tale more real.
As importantly, I found a new level of inner peace with God. There are many storms in my life attempting to rock my boat, to cast me about and to knock me off course, but there’s one sight I’ve found I must be true to, the love of my God. If I wasn’t supposed to have made that trip, if I wasn’t supposed to have written an 87-thousand word book in three and a half months, God would have had me doing something else. He would have put things in place that kept it all from happening. So when I say The Voodoo Hill Explorer Club was something that God wanted me to do, I have proof. The first draft, at least, is done and no matter how hard the dog above howls at the moon, baying about how much I don’t measure up to whatever standards I shall never be able to overcome, God is in control in my world. And no matter what I write, no matter what anyone else on this planet attempts to do to me to cause my ruin or shame or pain, they can’t take away him, nor the words that have flowed from him through me.
I met with my good friend and counsel this past week, nearing completion of the first draft of Voodoo Hill. There was a time in mid-September where two people in my life reached out to him or threatened to, saying they were worried about my mental state of mind; my emotions where as raw and low as they might could ever have been. Writing the emotionally wounded parts of book, I assure you, was that intense. My dad at one point suggested, as did my mom, that maybe I should not ever finish the work, that the nerves I was touching upon, the emotional triggers, were too hot to handle that maybe I should never try and finish.
God kept telling me that I needed to push forward, to go on and work through the pains and emotions and agony that I was in. He told me he had my back.
So when I met with Harold this past week, he asked how I was doing now in reference to where I was in mid-September, before the trip into those beautiful woods I loved as a child. My answer was simple, “For the first time in a long time I feel like I’m looking at what’s outside of the woods, rather than walking deeper into them.”
I know words like that will only make Satan want to turn up the heat and send me back into the depths of the woods where I cannot see the forest but for the proverbial trees. But like my preacher Gordon Dabbs likes to remind me time and again, the last pages of human life have been written. No matter what, in the end, God wins.
God Wins! God Wins! God Wins!