Hi. My name is Mike. I’m a human and the colt of a wild ass. (“For vain man would be wise, though man be born the colt of a wild ass.” Job 11:12) Everyone shouted out,“Hi Mike”. The Dumbo sheep and the Glow worms, the Fireman and the Sailors, the Lilies and the Roses, the soaring Eagles and the Sheep dogs. All safe and secure in the Ark, the Eternal Love of God.
A few months ago I was looking over a paint project at a group of buildings with a very refined, retired gal who was the president of the condo association and as we stopped for a moment she reached over and pulled a sticker off the hip area of my new jeans. She said, “I don’t mean to be fresh with you but I’m sure you’d rather not walk around with that on your pants.” I felt a little embarrassed and it brought a nervous grin to my face. This incident was followed up with another a few weeks later, when I heard a stranger’s voice saying, “Your zipper’s open.” I could have died. It added to my growing list of moments that reflect that I’m gradually “losing it” and still feeling exposed and somewhat inadequate every time it happens.
Just the other day, my dear friend Steven told me about a recent incident of his own that caused him some momentary, deep distress. He is substitute teaching for the first time in his life and was sitting with a young boy working on some learning exercises. Out of nowhere the boy said to him, “Why is your hair so funny.” Steven had told me that his biggest challenge regarding his looks, is his thinning, receding hair line which is most prevalent on the crown in back and is very self-conscious about it. Because this was only the second or third day of student teaching, he wasn’t accustomed to the honest and frank observations that most small children make, without any prudence. In spite of the emotional impact it had on him, Steven was able to respond, “It’s because I’m a funny guy.” Yeah, and so am I. . .and so is everyone else. Everyone.
Many years ago I was sitting in the office of a very sweet and lovely friend of mine who was unaware that there was a profound hygiene issue. It was chronic and no one, including the family was able to address it. Me either. Those of you who are relating to your own “funny guy” moments when you were mortified to be told something about yourself that was embarrassing or shame-filled, know about the dilemma of saying something to someone else. I didn’t want to be the instrumentality of causing anguish in her soul and wound her heart, yet because of the Love in my soul for her, a Moment arrived in her office when Love reached out and freed her.
I sat there that day with tears in my eyes and God’s own, tender Love in my heart. . .and I told her. And we cried. And the Scent of Lilies and Roses filled the room.
“Thanks be to God, Who always leads us in triumph through His Son and His Love in us. . . and spreads everywhere the Fragrance of the Presence of His Loving-Kindness.” 2Corinthians 2:14
Thirty-five years ago as I was mopping up the floor of the bar that I owned, one of my best customers walked in. His name was Tanz. He is dead now. His drinking killed him. He was already intoxicated and strolled over to where I was working. He looked at me and said what I was always dreading, that someone, someday would say to me. . . (“Why is your hair so funny?) “I used to respect you and looked up to to you. And now, you are one of the most messed up people I know.” Every day I waited to see who would be the one to say it. Who Knew it would be Tanz?
He said the very words that daily haunted my own heart and filled me with despair and self-condemnation. And denial. Words I kept secret within me that were killing me. . .and now his words were a sword that pierced my heart and blood gushed forth. A blood-letting to heal me and cure my disease. Who Knew? One of the most powerful philosophies that those in recovery share is, “You are only as sick as the secrets you keep.” The ones that you keep from others. . .and the ones that you keep from yourself.
As I look around the room there are very few eyes making contact with mine. There’s an uneasy feeling in their gut where the source of all secrets lie and they know the pain when the sword pierces through to it. And here it comes. . . You have something hanging from your nose. And since the fall of Adam, when God said that death entered his soul, that death continues to evolve into this anomaly. Regardless of the word you choose to define it as it hangs there, it has grown so big that it affects everything about the way we think and act individually and collectively as a society. We have become a circus menagerie. . .and what hangs from our nose has made us a caricature of what we were. We have become the consummate meme.
Meme. Me Me. A self-centeredness that is evolving into perfection, making us an aberration of the perfect original.
It has made us blind and deaf. Lame and senseless. We have an insatiable appetite like my beagles, who are gone now. If they were given a chance, they would have eaten until it made them sick, as if the portion that was given them, that was good for them, was never enough. The word that God uses in the bible is “concupiscence“. In the original Greek language that the New Testament was written in, the word means “a longing, especially for what is forbidden; to desire and lust after with an insatiable appetite.” Never satisfied. A giant black hole in the soul and an utter absence of sensibility about it.
“The heart and mind of man is desperately wicked and mortally sick. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
Some of you thought I was going to point out something else about you. But I’m not. If you have stayed with me this far, you have already identified your issues. You know what they are, even if you are still in denial, because others have been pointing it out to you.
When a client comes into the office, typically in great distress, the kind thing to do for them is to help them take you by the hand into the land of their secrets. The mere fact that they have come is an indication that the sword of Love has pierced the heart and the blood is beginning to flow. . .and the Divine Surgeon’s Hand is beginning to cut away the anomaly, hanging from their nose. It is a Hand-full of Mercy and Kindness, Loving away every secret, Healing every disease and Forgiving every sin through the blood that flowed in the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus.
“Hi. My name is Mike. Jesus came to save sinners, of whom I am the chief.”