What Am I Doing?
That is the question I am asking myself. What in the world do I think I am doing? I’m not a writer! Sure, I’ve written a few little poems, maybe some church announcements, a prayer or two, and a short sermon for a lay- person led Sunday Service at the Congregational Church. But a book is different story, (no pun intended).
In most self-help/ inspirational/ motivational books I have read, it always seems the authors found themselves divinely inspired. In some cases I’ve read about actual dialog occurring from beyond. This is not my story. I do however; feel strongly compelled to explain my philosophy to as many a willing ear as I can find. This “urge” or whatever you want to call it may very well be what others have referred to as “Divine Inspiration”, or just intestinal gas keeping me up at night. Whatever it is, it is not going away. So here I sit, at the keyboard trying to write!
I’ve been putting this off, and putting this off, trying to avoid doing it. I keep telling myself I am not qualified. I do not have proper linguistic skills. My command of the English language leaves a lot to be desired. Even if I could manage to write something worth reading, without a host of official letters following my name, who would publish it? If by some long shot I wrote something decent, and managed to find a publishing house to take shot, why would anyone read it? I am not a famous psychologist. I haven’t been on Oprah. I do not have a degree in philosophy, or theology. I am just an average Joe. Who reads books written by average Joes? No one, that’s who.
Well, those excuses obviously haven’t worked. There are forces at work that I cannot control, (there I go with that Divine stuff again). Let me fill you in; first I find myself at a new church with my family. Than they ask me to speak about stewardship. A handful of people had a few good things to say about my message, as well as my delivery. This renewed my fondness for speaking publicly, (we’ll get into my previous experience a little later). In the ensuing few years I find my self on an international mission trip, and reporting to the congregation, as well as writing an entire Sunday service. Now I got the “bug”. The only problem is, I feel people aren’t getting my message. The only answer is for me to write this stuff down in plain everyday language, and have the entire world read it. Then I will be satisfied. But of course I find that idea ludicrous.
I keep finding myself reading books and articles about “finding your bliss”, and “answering your call”, yet I keep ignoring this nudge to write. My most recent experience was my attendance at a youth event related to “Call”. I was there as an adult example, a mentor if you will. A few weeks later, I was asked to author and deliver a portion of the Sunday Service at the Congregational Church, and the theme of the service was, (you guessed it), “call”.
Just what is it I have to say? Well that is a little complicated. My message, so to speak, is what some call “The Truth”. At least it is “ The Truth” for me. I have been told I have a unique “slant” on things. But in my mind, I don’t have anything to say, that hasn’t been said a thousand times before, by much more knowledgeable people than myself. So, why do I feel the need to deliver this message if it has been eloquently delivered before? Because I don’t think enough people heard it, or understood it.
My “philosophy”, or, “theology” is more or less based on the theme of “Oneness”. Christian Scripture backs everything I believe and attempt to communicate. I am a Christian, (contemporary/ liberal one) but Christian nonetheless. Conceptually, in my mind, this philosophy is simple. Yet, millions of faithful Christians would not even entertain this line of thinking, and that is what puzzles me so. There are many popular authors, and lecturers today that are putting this message out there. It just seems so difficult grasp when it is explained. I do not understand why. It is almost as though when they explain it, they speak plain English, but the audience hears it in a foreign language. When I try to discuss this in a limited space of time, I am never truly able to get my point across. More often than not, I feel people walk away thinking, that I must have gotten a hold of some bad drugs or something. I just recently saw “ Good Will Hunting” with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Robin Williams. There was a point in the movie when Will, (a genius janitor, that had a penchant for solving mathematical problems that baffled the award winning professors), exclaimed; “I can’t help it if this stuff comes easy to me”! This stuff is so simple for me, I can’t understand why you have such a rough time with it”. That is when it dawned on me that it was possible for me to have such clarity on a point that others found difficult to understand.
I came to believe as I do in my mid twenties. After an extremely tenuous youth, spent exploring various self indulgences, and disappointing a family that always told me I had a lot on the ball, I decided to turn my life around. After much soul searching, and 12 step group hopping, (this is the experience speaking in front of groups that I had spoken of earlier, and I loved it.) I came to my senses and regained my sanity. With much enthusiasm and zeal, the first priority I had was to determine what life was all about. This way, I would know what I was supposed to do, and what direction to head in.
Coming from a middleclass, blue collar Irish Catholic background. I was brought up going to church every Sunday, receiving the Sacraments, becoming an altar boy, and then leaving once I hit puberty. I still believed in God mind you, but I also believed a good act of contrition would wipe out any transgressions; so I could live for today, and repent when the time came. Well, senses intact, purpose defined, and a little more mature, this creed no longer worked for me. I needed to find the “Real Deal”. I was not going to stop until I did.
My first stop in the bookstore was the “ Inspirational / Self Help section. Books like “ Creative Visualization”, and “ The Power of Positive Thinking”, got me off to a great start. After working these “programs” I moved to amusing little parable type stories. Og Mandino’s series of “ Greatest” books contributed immensely toward refining my new theories. His “ Greatest Secret, Greatest Salesman, Greatest Miracle”, stories all had steps toward success that I could incorporate into my daily routine. By now though, I was inundated with steps, scrolls, secrets, and principals. I needed to get things a tad bit simpler. So I picked up a little book called “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”. This little gem blew my world wide open. After reading this about three times in one day (you can do that it is a small book, with a tremendous message), I was now convinced that humanity, people, us, we were more than we ever imagined. Richard Bach’s follow up to that is called: “ Illusions Of A Reluctant Messiah”. That book stayed by my side for months. Richard Bach’s books confirmed for me, some of the theories I had encountered in my foray into (Self-Help) reading.
With my appetite for knowledge of this “Truth” sufficiently aroused, I felt it was time to venture into some deeper explanation of reality. I was somehow directed to Emmet Fox, and The Ten Commandments, as well as his best seller “ Sermon On The Mount”. These books now took the Gospel Of Jesus Christ, and tied it to more scientific terms. These writings took the mystery, and magic out of God, and made the whole concept easy to understand. My next step was an author named Joel Goldsmith, and his “Art of Meditation, and Contemplative Life”, then “Deepak Chopra” followed. In as much as I was able to understand these guys, they were very difficult to read for an uneducated Joe such as myself. I kept finding myself in the land of “Metaphysical Overload”. In an attempt to calm down, and get simple again, I found myself drawn toward Wayne Dyer. I love that man, he makes it all so easy to read, and or listen to. Much to my surprise, years later, Wayne Dyer, and Deepak Chopra would form an alliance and collaborate on several books, and lecture series. Now I knew I was on the right path.
Having absorbed all this beautiful literature, I now was beginning to create my own theory. Although it was very similar to each of these great writers, I seemed to deviate just a bit from each one. Then one day a good friend gave me some tapes to listen to. I still don’t know how she chose this particular series, as she does not completely agree with the concept and finds it a bit” out there”. ( I would hear that term applied toward me many times over the years). But the tapes I was given were Neale Donald Walsh’s “ Communion With God”. As I listen to these tapes, I thought to myself, “ if I ever wanted to write a book, I no longer needed to because he said everything I could ever say and then some” It was a very strange feeling to be reading something I really felt I could have written. The only difference was that I didn’t have dialog with God for several years, writing down the answers to all my questions as God gave them to me. So now you have an idea where I am coming from. Many people have said (clergy, and theologians alike): be wary of anyone who thinks they have “IT” all figured out. But as “ Will” from the movie, I have so much clarity with regard to matters of the spirit, that no one will ever be able to convince me I am wrong! Everything I will attempt to impart to you is as clear to me as anything could possibly be. This is why I feel I need to write this. If no one ever gets to read it, so be it