Meeting God

God's First Presence Given to Me


I met death and God the same day. I was eleven or twelve and it was a humid summer day in Houston, Texas. The only distinct memory I have is one of me stalking out the front door of the house. I was livid, raging, and cursing. I didn’t just stalk out, I slammed through the front door hard enough to loosen it from its hinges.


The day was bright, the sky blue with white puffs of clouds slowly moving across the landscape below. I was so mad I was fighting back tears and knowing I had damaged the door took that angering and heaped the fear of retribution on top of it. Singled out again, excluded for no reason other than I was a boy. My two sisters one older and one younger once again curried favor. They were gloating and giggling while I was to remain home so my father would not come home to an empty house.


I was angry about the injustice created by my father’s patriarchal system and afraid of the beating to come when the damage to the front door was discovered. I was humiliated by the gloating and prideful giggling by my sisters and despondent over the tired old feeling of being inadequate and inconsequential in a family that viewed me as a useless appendage with no known value yet not worthy of even the effort of removal.


I was all ready under the threat of punishment by my father for talking back to my mother, so she was uninterested in entertaining a discussion at that point of taking me along just for the ride with them; I was given no expression for my rage. The door was broken and the thought of breaking something else wasn’t conceivable. She was angry, my sisters were laughing and my father tolerated no dissension. The black void of hopelessness and frustration welled up in me as I crossed the street to the front porch of the vacant house, the extreme limit of my boundary just defined by one of the four nemeses in my life.


My thoughts were incoherent and I was choking on the hysteria rising in my throat. As I was wiping the frenzied tears rolling down my cheeks I looked up at the sky and cursed God. I cursed even more violently than my Marine Corp. fighter pilot father in the heat of battle. I raged at God swearing and ranting, swinging my fists in the air and back against myself. I dared him do more. This was shit. Give it your all. Black faced, lips swollen, eyes red, hair a muss, I lashed and berated, I censured and condemned.


My tears were drying, my frustrations venting and as I began to gain a little control over my discontinuous thoughts, I slowed beating myself and kicking the low fence running around the front porch of the house. Sitting with my back against the front door, my fists still clenched, hating everything my eyes fell on, my sisters and mother walked out the front door of our house across the street. I remember thinking how good it felt to hate and mentally vaporized each of the three whores as they walked over to the car in the driveway.


My sisters fought and yelled over the front seat, the little one getting in the back, my mother got in behind the wheel, started the car, put it in reverse and drove over my cat. The only sentient being I had in my life, the only living breathing thing to which I had some kind of connection. Bump and it was gone. Bump and eleven years of companionship was history, just a little bump.


I wasn’t particularly religious at the time. But my father’s family was a big name in the Southern Baptist Church. His parents were missionaries in China in the early 1900’s. He was born there. Two sisters and a brother were missionaries in China and Japan and South America. The brother went on to become a heavyweight at Baylor College. Many extended family members went to Baylor, some taught there. Others helped build churches and congregations around Texas.


When we moved to Houston, Texas a few years before, my father started dragging us to church. Up to that point, we had our lightweight, middleclass; Marine fighter pilot’s version of “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” drilled into us by the family First Sergeant, my mother, ever since my sisters and I could talk. And of course, the standard issue short grace before dinner. Breakfast and lunch were far too busy and discoordinated for our busy parents to worry about grace there.


However, our lives with father were not particularly Christ like or religious except in the sense that a hierarchy was imposed with, essentially, my father at the top. Occasionally, this Christian God would be brought in as the boss, in the same way that the chaos and fear of battle would force hard ass marines to start bartering for help and mercy. However, Dad like his dad before was a puritanical, guilt and shame filled and frustrated authoritarian who used that structure to justify his every action taken in heat or self-doubt.


Our folks liked to drill the Christian sense of guilt and shame into us taught to them by well-intentioned folks as well. By the time I got over the shock of watching my mother run over my cat in the driveway, a great dark cloud of both guilt and shame settled over me. It stayed there for years and years, long after I finished burying my companion in my back yard.


My father came home and I suffered the lashes for the broken door in silence, not to mention the blame (by angering my mother) for causing the death of my cat from first her, then him and then my sisters who readily supported that truth. I began feeling that it was the least I deserved for disrespecting God Almighty the way I did. Though, I began wondering about this time, about all this love flowing around from God, my parents, my sisters, et. al.. I wasn’t sure how much more of this love I could survive from anybody.


So, the crack which had been forming slowly through my childhood and now adolescence widened and grew into a fissure. The nagging questions which I used to discuss with my companion, now had no one with whom to entertain resolution. And adding to that vacant hole which was the memory of a childhood was a burning ember of the afternoon’s memory.


I realize now that if it wasn’t before this it was definitely after this experience that I began to live a life of separation. I no longer felt if indeed I had before this, any kind of a bond between either of my parents, either of my sisters, God, or any other living breathing person. The upside of this was my unconscious decision to be a traveler and a mystic with no desire to own things or allow others to be an intimate part of my life. When Simon and Garfunkel’s song, I Am A Rock, hit the radio I purchased the album for that one song and it became a personal anthem well into middle age.


I quickly seemed to develop, or begin paying attention to, what people talked about as psychic abilities. It was far more than becoming overly aware of body language or tone of voice. I intentionally began focusing on bits and pieces of these kinds of experiences and by high school had become quite adept at bringing to mind any kind of information I felt pressed upon needing. From what other people were motivated by in their thoughts when interacting with me to becoming highly skilled in working with animals. I discovered I needn’t study outside of school hours if I paid attention to the general focus of the teacher in class. On test day, be it essay or multiple choice, I “knew” the answer. I made Honor Roll consistently. My “friends” marveled.


I never took it for granted. Because I knew I was unprepared either academically or in a social situation, I lived with a constant level of anxiety of being wrong, rejected. But which then allowed me to tap into whatever this thing was that always provided an answer, this deep well of ;“knowledge” into which I could throw a bucket, raise it, but not knowing if it was foul and poisonous until bringing it to my lips, drinking some and survive again the pressures of my island.


Everything then became an abstract. There was nothing real, nothing solid in my world. Not God, friends, school, dates. Not time, nor space. Flying and traveling almost 20,000 miles a year, at 30,000 feet it was just as easy to imagine it took so many hours to get some place, or so many places to pass some time. The beauty of it is that as Rumi points out, because I had no set beliefs to hang onto, it was easy to look wherever I was drawn to for that question, for that answer:






Mystery of the King


You haven’t dared yet lose faith, so how can faith grow in you?
You haven’t dared yet risk your heart, to what can you see of reality?
You’re obsessed, still! with the carnal screams of your life.
How do you hope to step into the Mystery of the King?
You are a sea of gnosis hidden in a drop of dew,
You are a whole universe hidden in a sack of blood.
What are all this world’s pleasures and joys
That you keep grasping at them to make you alive?
Does the sun borrow light from a mote of dust?
Does Venus look for wine from a cracked jug?

- Jalal-ud-Din Rumi
(Translated by Andrew Harvey from A Year of Rumi)








Comments 35 comments

manthy profile image

manthy 5 years ago from Alabama,USA

Good stuff, I read your bio wow, you have been all around I can wait to read more of your writing


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 5 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

Manthy,

Thanks alot for your encouragement. Yes, I have traveled a bit, looking back I might have wondered at one time if that was my destiny or just a stepping stone towards it... ??

Michael


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

This is indeed a sad start to any child's life and I suppose without it you wouldn't be the man you are today.

I will be following your story closely. Thank you.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

From pain comes knowledge and I think knowledge can help in attaining freedom. I am not sure what pain is though.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

Mr Happy, what did you feel when you read that the young boy's cat got run over right in front of him?


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

I laughed and had an "Ohh, shit" thought going through my head. Then, I thought it was sort of mean to laugh but for me ... that's how I react usually ... the randomness of it all was funny.

Tough to be in that situation though and if it had happened to me, I am not sure if I would have been laughing.

My dad cut and cooked my sister and I's rabbits when we were kids. I wasn't too happy with that but they tasted good ...


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Mr. Mike, when you wrote that: "looking back I might have wondered at one time if that was my destiny or just a stepping stone towards it... ??"

So you consider that traveling was/is a stepping stone towards your destiny?

Just curious.


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 5 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

Mr Happy,

Yes, although I use the word destiny lightly as I use all such words or labels. If we are not careful with words we get back on the merry go round that the words reality and illusion, as well as all other labels can provide.

Can you not see the weight we tend to give labels such as those and those such as stepping stone? The difference can be great so it becomes wise to walk forward with care. No, ?


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 5 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

Mr H,

And,

assuming that traveling isn't my destiny... maybe that is my destiny in and of itself? Don't we first have to determine that before we answer that question?


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

I guess you are right. All this is fairly confusing now. At this point, I was going to say that I suppose we don't know our destiny until we die but then, I thought that might be legacy ...

I had asked the question because of prior comment I read of yours but now I can no longer find it ... I am swimming in emails, notes, thoughts and books.

I need to organize myself a little better - I think I wasn't fully ready for the influx. Thank you for taking the time to answer though. Cheers!


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

So, I broke a wine glass the other night (had a wine and cheese party) and I cleaned the glass inside the house but did not realize pieces flew on the back patio (outside - the balcony door to the back was opened).

Late yesterday evening I saw the cat was limping ... not cool on my part. I wasn't happy with my carelessness - the cat is the one who ended-up paying for my nonsense: she stepped on a piece of broken glass.

I guess this is "share-cat-stories" time?


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Or maybe it was karma ... I did laugh when I first read about the "bump" ... (it's still funny though, sorry ... lol)

I think I laugh so I don't cry.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

"I think I laugh so I don't cry"

You said it! In my private practice people have released repressions by laughing so it does not have to be through crying. As long as the emotion is expressed who cares the method of expression. Now I understand. We are so alike in this. When I was aboy I would smile when I was about to receive a beating of be in any danger. The smile made the person beat me harder because they thought I was making fun of them. I was petrified but instead of crying I smiled. To this day I do that and as I grew older people feared the boy who smiled in in the face of danger!


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

Hi! Michael

Nmaste to you - infinitely many times. It is moving that with that type of disturbance created (seeing the cat killed and still blame on you in that early age and having a long lasting effect on you of that incident), still you moved in the other direction and looks like calm peace and happiness are all around you now. That must have been with lot of inner strength and study. That is why I mention infinitely many times above.

I remember a story -perhaps originally due to Laozi. A Lizard was moving on the roof. Suddenly she felt whole roof is going to come down unless she holds it. She went on holding it for 2-3 days (and perhaps died out of hunger).

We all generally are lost in the lizard phenomena. Each of us has universe centered around us and we feel we are the "hero/heroine" running it.

That kind of feeling brings nothing by misery or brutal behavior (because frustration generated out of inability to accept truth), since truth reveals often and tells you your own reality.

On that day with cat getting killed all in your family were confined to being centers of their own universe, like the lizard, blind to other's universes and reality. Results reflected in brutal, unconcerned behavior towards others by some and world of misery built up for others.

It is indeed admirable that you came out of that lizard phenomena even with that strong hurt quite intact and chose so interesting path.

Wish you all the good luck in your life and I do want to go through with you all your adventures via these articles.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Hmmm ... I thought the lizard was trying to hold the roof together to do some good to the people inside the house (I actually though "Wow, what a strong lizard lol!!), or something like that... confusing story ... if the lizard was holding the roof out of selfishness, I give it minus points on intelligence. Why would it not jump off the roof, if it was only concerned with its well-being.

I honestly thought of Apollo holding the sky with his hands when I first read it but I guess it was not that kind of a story.

I enjoyed it nonetheless. Thanks : )


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Honestly, when I first read the lizard story, I thought it was holding the roof together to help the people inside or something (even thought there was no mention of any people inside - I just figured: houses usually have people inside ...). Selfishness, did not occur to me to be a possibility. Why would the lizard not jump off the house if it felt like it was about to go down? Not a very bright lizard ...

I enjoyed the story though ... it's certainly all about perspective.

Cheers!


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

Hi! Mr. Happy

Of course Lizard was not bright but often even most bright one fall to that lizard phenomena.

Main problem is that Lizard started thinking she is the one who controls the world around her and she can save it by holding the roof.

We all think often we can help and save others or ourselves. But with that feeling we are just like lizard in the roof. Roof is much more powerful but we are unable to see that. Moment one accepts that Ok what ever I am, still I can play just small game in this whole universe and I have to enjoy and understand the game and get pleasure out of it (and may be that automatically provides pleasure to people around you). Problem occurs wwhen one is unable to accept that phenomena. That one feels miserable at his/her helplessness of not being controller of even world around oneself (like the author as a young boy felt-- his whole world coming apart from minor issue of his being not able to go out and later a little worse issue of cat getting killed etc.) or one becomes brutal in order to control world around (a tendency his father showed) or one just gets lost in a false notion that I am providing help to others and they like it ( while many may be feeling uncomfortable with not asked for interference in their lives) or just one may be lost in his/her own world not bothering at all the discomfort he/she is causing to others (as his mother or sister were).

That is how I understand the story. I do not know what Laozi might have meant, I think not very far from ideas I describe above. Most of miseries in world and our own could be avoided if we keep ourselves aware of this phenomena all the time "as an actor in this game I am the hero/heroine of world around me. I can not escape that feeling easily but that is not the reality"


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 5 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

soumyasrajan,

and to you, many time I bow with respect back. You are truly a deeply intuitive person. I know the story of the lizard, I have bathed in Laozi's (for westerners, Lao Tzu) philosophy, mythology, since my late teens early twenties. I'm reminded of the story of the half glass of water for some reason. The optimist declared it half full, the pessimist insisted it half empty, the taoist drank it. :))

Thank you for your kindness. I look forward to your thoughts as I progress on my story. I hope that you continue to leave them...

Michael


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

"what ever I am, still I can play just small game in this whole universe and I have to enjoy and understand the game and get pleasure out of it" - I certainly agree with this statement.

"one just gets lost in a false notion that I am providing help to others and they like it" - would you be able to give me an example of what you mean here?

I do volunteer work for example - I think I am of help ... And yes, I generally will lend-a-hand, or whatever it takes but only when I am asked to help.

I am a little confused, were you saying that one should not want to help others?

Thank you for your comment. All the best.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

"the story of the half glass of water for some reason. The optimist declared it half full, the pessimist insisted it half empty, the taoist drank it" - this is a great story Mr. Mike - I first heard it when you posted it on one of my blogs not too long ago.

I would for sure drink it! (That's what a glass of water is for, no?)

Cheers.


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 5 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

Hey, Mr H!

Yes, the glass half full is on of my favorite favorites... it comes to mind often - whenever I am reminded of situations where there are opposing thought systems present each wanting validation of their thoughts.

Or when an explanation might muddy the waters further. Some things are best figured out on our own. Such is the use of Zen Koans.

I also chant to myself with a smile, Kurt Vonnegut's, "Folly. Folly. Folly."

The reality (illusion) of thoughts is the reality (illusion) of the breeze.

It is cool or warm as it is there, but it is ephemeral and has no substance, no form, and moves on.

Michael


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

Hi! michael

I enjoyed very much your both articles. As I emntioned it will be a great pleasure to go through others. I also like that half empty half full glass very much. It inspires one to do actions with pleasure.

I will surely write comments also. I consider comments more as pleasureful exchange with the author which help me in understanding author and my own world. Such discussions may be pleasure for others too- as I am now enjoying exchanging views on this hub with Mr. Happy also.


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

Hi! Mr. Happy

Thanks again your comments. No! Of course one has to help others when some body needs one's help and it is possible for that person to provide help. I am sure you are a good judge. I remember your interesting article on the help you provided effortlessly in a court case and your linking it to Karma etc. What I meant really was one has to assess and re-asses one's role in any deed again and again, as much as possible. Even when some body asks for help for example one has to assess what ever I do will it really help? Or when somebody thanks for the help provided, was he/she really helped or was thanks just for courtesy. One has to keep also in mind that help is not action just for that guy/girl, it also helps me in my own world (for example it generally gives pleasure).

I did not mean at all that by realizing that one is a heor/heroine in a small his/her own world one should become actionless. On the other had it should increase his/her action, once one knows that he/she is any hero/heroine in his/her world and it can not be helped a person will act like hero/heroine and try to do his/her bid as much as possible, so a lot more action.

only one will assess one self more and more. One will become more like an observer of movie in which one is hero/heroine (here it is of course real life around you).

I like the Indian old concept that self is just an alibi, it does not do any thing but it is watcher of all all your action. actually not even watcher just an alibi.

I think lizard story all points towards that type of being alibi.

Ideally it will be nice if one could do all the time being hero/heroine role as well as observer of that status. But that is very difficult. In fact generally one does it too less. One should try to increase this observation of hero/heroine in your own movie as much as possible. Am I doing some thing worthwhile? Am I causing pain to any body. Were my action justified last time can I do better next time. It will help one to be better person as well as increase pleasantness in life.

We can not really help causing pain. Whe we breathe some insects die, when we walk some insects must be killed. When we act in war to defend our country some human being die. So pain we do cause but generally we may not want to , after all it is not pleasure. So observing oneself may help in reducing it.

But still with all the care and this knowledge we often neglect so many things. I remember a few years back while discussing plants one of my friend remarked that biologists have found so far no evidence so far of any centralized nervous system, so may be plants do not feel any pain. To that my another friend remarked "Oh! That is surprising. I always feel when I walk on grass that grass must be feeling a little pain. May be just a little but it does".

I was a little stunned at his comment. I asked my self how I never thought about it. Not that I can help much about pain of grass. But I was stunned why that thought never even occurred to me.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

"Am I doing some thing worthwhile? Am I causing pain to any body." - I like this. When in doubt, I ask myself: "Does my path have heart?" If the answer is "yes", I keep going.

"I remember a few years back while discussing plants one of my friend remarked that biologists have found so far no evidence so far of any centralized nervous system, so may be plants do not feel any pain." - Yes, they feel pain. One can certainly ask them. That is why when collecting medicine herbs, one should only take a little from each individual plant. And it is always good/nice to leave an offering after doing so. (Just my opinion.)

Thank you very much for the conversation and thank you Mr. Mike for the opportunity you have provided by writing this piece. All the best!

P.S. "Folly. Folly. Folly." made me think of "The Teachings of Don Juan", Mr. Mike.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Hi Mike, I read part one and bumped it up and on to this part that was well written and seemed to flow smoother and was easy to follow, perhaps I need to read a couple of books to bring myself up to speed with the science referred in part one, no?

I have left the video to finish down loading after watching the beginning with Woody Harrelson, an actor I found entertaining in his work back when a television ran constantly, mostly for gray noise that is now music and the closest thing to the television are videos off the computer.

I appreciate your comment to me at diogenes hub and felt we should not clutter his hub with our conversation.

You might make a hub introducing the video you recommended. As it isn't part of this hub I'll stop here and respect staying on topic, in which we have some common ground in our up bringing that perhaps influenced what we are today. You set it forth well.

Peace,

Dusty


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia

I hope you feel at home here in West Virginia my friend. Great story. You have done your fair share of traveling for sure. You have my vote. This story is very powerful. What a perspective.


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 5 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

Mr. H,

Yes! The magic of Don Juan... I really enjoyed him... seems so far back in time now??? Makes me suddenly and acutely miss my days in Austin going to school in the 70's :(

Dusty, thanks for stopping by and for the bump. You are a story of mythological proportions to me living as you have been and do... You are the only person I have met that is actually doing the the things that we have been warned to do for awhile. I lost my farm and all else 10-12 years ago, so if I'm not dead when it hits the fan I guess I'll starve with the rest... I tell the little I have read of your story to friends of mine here in the hills...

"lyric"

thanks for the welcome and the time for stopping by. And the compliment,

Mike


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

I enjoyed reading your story. Thank you for sharing intimately your inner feelings from back then and your reflections on those days. You are a very good writer.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Haha Mr. Mike, Don Juan's magic is still around. It is beyond time, in my opinion. You brought his spirit to life when you said: "Folly. Folly. Folly." - for me anyway ...

I will leave you with a song, only because I think it is magical in many ways and I think you might enjoy it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6Y4kpZ7xQk

By the way, there was a cat living here for a couple of years but it went-out about a few weeks ago and never came back ... I wonder if it had anything to do with me being amused of your cat story (which wasn't really amusing ...)?

All the best and may Wakan Tanka guide your path! Cheers.


jandee profile image

jandee 5 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

Hello Michael,

Enjoyed the early days of your story .

Maybe there's something lacking in me but I got completely lost later on,

jandee


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 4 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

I love the way you write. I felt everything you went through that day. Poor kitty. My grandmother ran over and killed my puppy, patches, on my very first day of school. I completely relate to your life. Both the former and the latter.

Peace and love to you

Lisa


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

My best friend ran over my little dachshund in our driveway. I haven't been the same since. She was my beloved companion. Do write some more.


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 4 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

Thank you for stopping by Gypsy Willow ( I love your name :-) and so appreciate you pausing to comment and let me know....

Just posted a new one (for you!) I would like to know your thoughts on that one too....

thanks again,

Michael


Elenin profile image

Elenin 4 years ago from So Cal

Three Hubs, three distinct subjects, three moods and three different motifs equals quality not quantity imho. You could stop now and still be ahead of the game, but I for one hope you don’t.

PTSD can be caused by any event that causes one to disassociate, or so I have heard. It need not be in some battle or occur in some far off land. Your childhood story of your cat running out of lives reminded me of some of Jon Irving’s comic/tragedy tales. The kind you read with a smile on your lips as you shake your head. Except this is no tale, this happened to you and that takes away all the fun. It takes exceptional strength to publish such a personal event and you exceeded this Hub in that regard with the one you just wrote about Jess. Don’t try to top it, just go to the next natural phase.

So you were raised in the South, raised Catholic, and your father was a Marine aviator. Hmmm


rmichaelf profile image

rmichaelf 4 years ago from North Central West Virginia, where the green grass grows... Author

Hello Elenin,

Thank you (again!) for commenting. They all have struck a chord within me but I will email you with how much... not wanting to bore others who might wander through! (and I was actually raised a Southern Baptist... some would argue even "worse" {{{{ROFLing all the way he said}}}

Michael

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