Open Your Heart To The World And Love Will Come To Your Door
When a chiropractor screwed me up on Friday the 13th, May 2016, I didn’t realize it then, but God decided to break my back so He could get my attention. Then at 50 years old, there were many needed changes in my life but I was too afraid, headstrong, wrong-minded, and sinful to do them on my own. My weight and diet was out of control. My finances ailing from a divorce several years before. My relationship with whom I thought was the most important person of my life teetering. And church, while important, was something I did when I could get there.
Several surgeries, a half-dozen medical procedures, and eleven months of opioids later, my life was at a standstill.
A pain stimulator was installed in my back permanently in March. It lies to my brain. It says, “You’re not in pain,” while I am still troubled enough that a “normal” lifestyle still isn’t within grasp in late May 2017. But things are changing.
I stopped my pain meds in mid-April at the urgent request of several friends who said, even though I’d weened myself down to ½ a pill a day, that if I didn’t stop then, I’d lose myself eventually.
LISA KILGORE—MADE TO CRAVE
Once off the meds, I started going to church. An amazingly beautiful friend from church, Lisa Kilgore, was featured in an amazingly beautiful video about how she’s lost more than 120 pounds over the past year and a half. That was my first inspirational fire. She’s gorgeous and there are pictures to prove it. Lisa used a book called Made To Crave. It’s premise is, “God made me for more than this.” More than to be overweight. More than to be tired all the time from eating sugary foods and fried things that were making me as sick as the opioids I’d been on.
LAURA DAULTON, KRISTIN SCHELL
More than a year ago now, our preacher at church, Gordon Dabbs, did a video feature of Laura and Eric Daulton and the turquoise picnic table they have in their FRONT YARD. The Daulton’s have become a second family to me this past year. Several times they brought me food and company when I needed it the most. They use their table to do ministry and to reach out to their neighbors. I didn’t know it, but Laura got the idea from Kristin Schell’s book Turquoise Table: Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard. Kristin has been featured nationally for the life she has built herself around the original turquoise picnic table. It’s an amazing story. A second fire of inspiration.
JULIA CAMERON—THE ARTIST’S WAY
Five weeks ago, I began reading (again) Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I’ve done one chapter a week like one must. For 30-plus days the first thing I’ve done when I’ve gotten out of bed is typed three solid pages of pure stream of consciousness thoughts. You’re not supposed to re-read your morning pages. You just vent and get that stuff out of your mind so you can live in the day. I’ve written how I feel from my recovery. What I’m angry about. What hurts. What I’d love to do again in my life. What might seem like impossible, but I’d like to do before I die. And I’ve done the exercises at the end of each chapter. The answers to those questions are personal. They’re inner-reflective, and they are designed to cause transformation of one’s soul whether you’re a creative like myself or it’s been blocked and you just don’t know it. Inspiration number three.
RICK WARREN—THE DANIEL PLAN
Back to Lisa Kilgore. We have met twice now to talk about her success story. And I’ve told her that Made To Crave is targeted toward women. It feels a little funny as a guy to read it. She said I might try another book—Rick Warren et al’s The Daniel Plan. That’s been the eye opener. Inspiration number four.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I’ve started walking every day. In the last two weeks and a day, I’ve walked more than 101,000 steps and walked more than 46 miles. During part of my walk, I listen to the soundtrack from La La Land. It’s peppy. Upbeat. Another Day of Sun makes me race out of my apartment complex like I’m on a mission. And I am. I walk across from my apartment complex into Mesquite, Texas’ park and along their Butterfly Trail. Once I get to New Market Street or to the end of the trail in the frisbie golf course, I turn around, and switch over to the audio version of YouVersion and walk back with Paul (I’ve been doing the New Testament) and Paul is feeding me Christian baby milk.
MORNING SIGN MINISTRY
Three Sunday/Monday nights ago, (the opioids have left me with an inability to fall asleep before 2 a.m.) I had an inspirational thought, typed it up and folded a manila file folder over and stuck it on my black metal table just outside the door. I don’t do Saturday or Sunday, but maybe I should. Everyone who leaves on my end of the apartment must walk past my door to get to their car. So the messages have been inspirational. Two Friday mornings ago, I left three boxes of glazed and chocolate Krispy Kreme Donuts on the table with encouraging words—HELP YOURSELF. I know. Not healthy, but I was amazed at the impact it had.
On Easter, I left each apartment on our end of the building a basket of candy and a card. For Mother’s Day, each mom was left a yellow carnation and a card. Our doorways have a clip on them so the apartment complex can leave notes to us from time to time. I’m changing the purpose of those tacks.
I’ve received thank you cards and notes on the door and kind words since starting my Morning Sign Ministry.
Last week, I bought two cans of turquoise paint and painted my table. It’s now turquoise and beautiful. Thank you Kristin and Laura.
OPEN YOUR HEART TO THE WORLD AND LOVE WILL COME TO YOUR DOOR
I didn’t know what to put out for this morning when I got into bed last night. I fell asleep at 10:30 p.m. last night for the first time in months. At 0415 I awoke with something of a thunderclap surprise and the first thing that popped into my head was today’s message: “Open your heart to the world and love will come to your door.”
And so I give thanks this morning. Thank you to Gordon Dabbs for your two sermons to highlight two mavericks for God’s love—Laura and Lisa. Thank you to the Daulton children who have come to visit and to watch Disney movies on Apple TV. The Daultons and a couple others from church were regular visitors when I was out of it from my surgical nightmare. Thank you to Julia Cameron for her book and to J. Suzanne Frank for telling me to get it two years ago. And thank you to Kristin Schell for your inspirational turquoise tables because that’s what they do. They open one’s heart to the world, and they bring love to one’s door.
And most of all, thank you to God for grabbing me by the nape of my neck and getting my attention. I have prayed to forgive the man who has hurt me. But there are a lot of damages left from what was done. Those still need addressing. The billings alone total more than $800,000.
I’M CHANGING MY LIFE
The other day, as I was typing out my Morning Pages, I tried to write the line, “I am changing my life.” But what happened is I missed the F letter completely and it came out, “I am changing my LIE.” They say in counseling therapy that the goal is to get a person to change the narrative of their life and to see it in a new, healthier way. I think that’s finally happened in my world and life is changing. I needed to make changes in who I was. I needed to stop telling myself it was okay to eat bad food, it was okay to do this and to not do this. That’s changed. I was lying to myself.
Indeed, I have changed my lie and I am changing my life.