PART FOUR– Bernalillo to Moon River (cont.)
Particle – “You are a Bullshitter!”
Dorothy Frame, a lady in her late seventies, had been a regular customer of mine in the handyman business. We got to know each other and talked of many things, mostly of her interests and family. I had never spoken to her of the Lord. She continued to contact us when we returned from New Mexico, wanting me to do various jobs for her. Though the handyman occupation was finished for me, I did her jobs for her sake.
One day, I decided to speak to her of the Lord and was surprised (though not entirely) at her response. She suddenly blurted out, “You know what you are? You’re a bullshitter! That’s what you are – a bullshitter!”
I wasn’t alarmed and she didn’t dismiss me from her presence. I knew she was reacting to something unknown to her. She was a member of the United Church, and complained about her church opening itself to homosexuals, but nevertheless remained a member. It was her social club. Obviously, this was another example of how the United Church displayed enmity for the Scriptures. The things of Scripture and of God were somehow a threat, or at least foreign, to her.
The day would come when the fruits of her stance and attitude towards God would come to maturity. She died in frustration and misery, unable to be pleased in her last days by any of her caregivers.
Paul records: “I had a dream sometime in 1984. In the first part, Victor and Marilyn were leading a little girl by the hand. I think she walked between them, as you would see parents with their child. She was a fair, beautiful little girl. She seemed to be about 4 years old.
In the next part, I was with Marilyn and the child. The little girl was talking about spiritual things and asking questions, but not childish ones. She had spiritual understanding, interest, desire, and appreciation. It was truly wonderful to behold – holy and pure.“
What Paul doesn’t remember, but which I quite remember his telling me, is that we seemed to be at a banquet, and a sumptuous one at that. (This forgetfulness is why I tell people to write down every detail of their dreams, visions, prophecies, or experiences as soon as possible, including the date and circumstances.)
Many years later, we would come to know the meaning of the dream, at least the first part of it.
In August of 1984, the Lord gave me the next three poems (given here in completion).
I’ve known fear, perhaps not as some have known it. Many know fear at one time or another to such an extent that it cripples, even paralyzes, the soul. We think we have security in this world, until one day we’re rudely awakened from our pipe dream. Security in this world is but an illusion. When our disillusionment comes, its comrade-in-arms is often fear. But that disillusionment needn’t be our enemy – truly, it’s a friend, if we respond by facing the reality.
Nor do we need to fear as though there is no such thing as true and sure security, for then we would be prey to a lie, to our own destruction. There is a sure security for those who will avail themselves of it.
My fear rides me like a stern rider
Rides his horse.
Unless I run his pace,
His spurs dig deep in my sides.
I think blood flows at times… I’m sure of it.
I scarcely dare to think, to pause
For fear I have a rider
Who will not show me mercy,
Who will not grant me pardon,
Who will not make a move
To relent, to ease my pain.
“Run!” he says. I run.
“Faster!” says he. I go faster.
“Faster isn’t good enough! You’ve had it!”
I think that if I drop,
I have sweet release.
He whips me as I fall.
Fear isn’t afraid to beat a dead horse.
He seems to relish it, delight in it.
The compassion of fear is tyranny,
His patience only scorn.
He takes the meat and feeds it to minks,
And then I think, “Perhaps
There’s rest in the mouths of minks,
Fear has no torment there!”
Until I find that my rider
Is possessor of minks as well.
He rides the minks
And feeds them me.
Fear holds all in Hell.
And when he skins the little ones
And sells their hides for gain,
Scarcely do the buyers know
They’re clothed in fear and pain.
Why do we worry, fret, and stew? Why do we doubt or fear, if not because we don’t believe? Until the believer is perfected, there remains some atheist in him. He may claim to believe, but in the final analysis, his fruits tell otherwise.
In the light of Truth, we discover ourselves. And that Light is of the fire that burns to purge us of the atheist within, that fire being an enemy at first, but a proven friend in the end.
How will I know I can stand the fire
Unless I am subjected?
How do I develop muscle to do heavy work
Unless I do heavy work to develop muscle?
How do I form calluses on my hands to prevent blisters
Unless I do those things
That make blisters?
I say I have faith to do anything,
To suffer all things and smile, even laugh,
But how do I get that faith
Unless I suffer the very things
To produce the faith
To laugh at the things concerning which
I say I have faith?
How can I cry and say, “I believe”?
But when I believe, I shall not cry
When the fires come
Because the fires have done their work.
Jesus said, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” Therefore there is valid judgment. The problem is that many don’t differentiate between right and wrong judgment. Wishing to conceal their sin, men refuse to acknowledge there’s the valid kind, to which they might be subjected by judges sent of God.
What is the sure and fair standard? It’s none other than the revelation of God, a discernment to know the secrets of the heart. The price of that spiritual power is the removal of the beam by way of the cross.
Measure me! How long am I?
How tall? How big? How strong?
Is there anything to measure
When all is said and done?
Do I compare to what I was
Or what I will yet be?
And what will I be?
Do I compare to others?
What standard will you use?
What I have, will I always have it?
Is it worth having to lose it in the end?
Is the glory worth the shame?
Vanity! Utter vanity!
Our possessions aren’t two cents!
One day they’re here and then they’re gone.
Failure never relents.
Judge me if you think you can;
What measure will you use?
Inner, outer, upper, lower,
Do you have any clues?
Appearance is not all there is
In fact, appearance isn’t. It is not.
But how will you know what is?
Does reality not exist?
Is it not available?
Or is it here and unperceived
Only because you are blind?
There is an answer.
The summer of 1984, after MH Consulting, proved to be an exceptionally fruitful time for poetry; it came pouring forth. There was never such a time for me, before or since, for poetic writings. Where did this drive to express myself poetically come from? It seemed the stressful times spawned creativity.
One of the things I found highly enjoyable was putting poems to pictures, any pictures. Though some wouldn’t be as easy as others, I found the Lord giving me words for any and all.
The Gregsons held an art show on October 7, and I persuaded Bob to let me write poems for his paintings. I also borrowed pictorial books from the library, writing poetry for those.
We had no sooner closed down MH Consulting than we received a phone call at our trailer on August 21, 1984. It was Delores Molnar. This was surprising, since we had heard she didn’t agree with our spiritual stance and direction.
What was even more surprising was that she had been trying to get in touch with us for a few months. She said that when I finally answered, she nearly fell off her chair with surprise. We’d had a listed phone number for months; we concluded that until the Lord was done teaching us in the consulting business, He held Delores back.
What was most surprising was that she had been trying to help her sister, Lois, who was going through a crisis in her marriage. When Howard, Lois’ husband, seemed threatening to Delores, resenting her participation in their marital relationship, Delores decided to seek my help. She said they had tried churches, pastors, relatives, and friends, but found no viable direction, comfort, or solution to Lois’ dilemma.
Soon after, we began receiving regular phone calls from Lois. She was greatly distressed. She told us that the storm I had prophesied nearly two years earlier had come, though she didn’t believe me when I had first told her. Just before it came, they were all seated in their home, healthy, debt-free, and quite content and comfortable. Only months ago, as they gathered in their family room by a cozy fireplace, Howard had declared how good they had it.
Then suddenly the storm was there. Lois realized she had good reason to suspect Howard was seeing other women. She didn’t know what to do or where to turn for help. We began to counsel her… without charge. Now it was Most High Consulting reborn, this time counseling those the Lord brought.
Since being married, 45 Meadowlark Boulevard was our fifteenth stationary home in ten years (my thirty-second), along with two extended stays without travel in our Casa Rolla trailer. The longest we had been in a home was 18 months, at 52 Rue La Verendrye in Winnipeg. We found that we grew attached to it and to the furniture we had there, unlike other places. Evidently the Lord prevented us from becoming too attached to this world.
Leaving Meadowlark, we lived in a trailer for another year. Now it was time to sell the trailer and put the money towards renting a house. We found a new home for rent at 104 Bluefox Boulevard in the Uplands. Nick and Armin Gerstenbuhler built it for sale, but it wasn’t selling, so he decided to rent it out. We took it and advertised our twenty-four-foot Holiday trailer for sale.
Ric and Sharon Swihart came to the KOA to view our trailer, deciding they would buy it. When we went to their home to close the deal, they learned we were believers and invited us to their church, Bill Calderwood’s First Congregational Church, a splinter from the United Church. (I understand these former United Church folk split from the mainline because they disagreed with the ordination of homosexuals.) Sharon enthusiastically told us how wonderful the fellowship was there and how wonderful the pastor was.
We discerned the Swiharts weren’t believers, and it didn’t take them very long to prove it. I wasn’t willing to ask much more than I was prepared to take for the trailer, but as is often the case, they weren’t satisfied with anything but a dickered-down price. I tried to tell them the price was as low as we wanted to go.
Sharon continued the bargaining and, in the middle of it, asked her husband, “How am I doing, dear?” He replied, “You’re doing just fine, dear, just fine.” Finally, I relented and gave them the trailer for their price. We needed the money. Perhaps they needed it as well.
After settling up, I had gravel in my mouth. It wasn’t because they were dickering (there’s a place for keeping sellers honest, knowing that sellers jack up their prices to leave room for bargaining. I have dickered many times and am ashamed of it in several cases). I was upset because they professed to be believers, were told we were believers, disregarded us on the price or our need of the money, and went about the dickering in a flippant, calloused fashion. Adding insult to injury, they also tried to persuade us to join their church, as though we would want to, they treating us as they did, especially if they were representative of their church.
I wrote a harsh letter to them, and I was sorry after I mailed it. I called them to ask them not to open it or read it when receiving it, but rather to burn it. They agreed, though they might have red it anyway. (In retrospect, I think it would have been good to let them read it. However, I wasn’t ready then to do spiritual battle.)
I received a vision of Sharon at that time. I saw her dancing on a church floor, twirling around gleefully, with one hand on the hip and the other in the air. I wrote “Ode to a Harlot” to describe what I saw of her in spirit. As an introduction, I wrote, “She was like her kind and her kind like her – light, treacherous, full of lust and hypocrisy. So are all those who ‘go to church’ and think they do God a service.”
I now realize You, Lord, were giving me a representation and unpleasant taste of common churchgoers, showing me their hypocrisy and evil while worshipping You in vain with their lips.
Sharon Swihart, a vain professor of righteousness, hurt me. I then perceived a symbolical parallel to the harlot church, one that professes to worship the Lord, but lives in “friendly” contrariness.
Twirl on the dance floor, harlot,
One hand on the hip, the other in the air.
You enjoy yourself and life is full;
You are well fed and rich and confident.
You have no thirst because you drink
From a cup filled with blood,
The blood of friend and foe alike;
The blood of saints is in your mouth.
You’ll have what you will;
Your kiss extends to all,
But behind the lips of feigned love
Are hid the teeth that tear the flesh
Of unwary, innocent souls.
Spare the good you have for them,
Let them live instead.
Harlot, how is it you throw away riches for gain?
How is it you charge such a dear price for yourself?
Why does it cost you so?
“For a price I will care for you;
For a price, a small price at that,
I will console you in your circumstance
But if you’ll not pay, then I will not love;
My love is not without price
Though small the price may be.
“And once I have what I want from you,
I will invite you to come to church,
I’ll take you to my pimp
Who teaches me well and salves my mind
To do with you as I please.
I do not determine my blessing by what I give
But by what I get.
I may be funny this way
But I simply won’t live
At my cost if I can live at yours.
So take my love, the price is small;
You’ll find your troubles disperse,
Though torment and grief will tear at you,
For I’ve eaten and drunk to my full
And gained the upper hand.”
Your lips profess the Christ,
Your soul claims righteousness,
But let me warn you solemnly
That your teeth speak otherwise.
Consider the cost, the circumstance,
The devious ways you walk,
And know there is a price to pay,
A fearful one you’ve not discerned.
Can you escape the Almighty Judge
Who perfectly reads the heart
And rewards according to its fruits?
You’ll fall, make no mistake
And there’ll be none to catch you.
For when you observed the vulnerability of others
You took full advantage.
Twirl on the dance floor, harlot,
Eat, drink, and be merry,
For if you continue, tomorrow you die
And then whose will your goods be?
Mystery Babylon will fall,
Her sins made manifest
And those who leave her for the truth
In prosperity and peace shall rest.