Everything, Eventually Will End
Religion. God. Jesus. These are things that people don’t talk about too freely now days. But why? Because people label you as a Jesus freak, as holier than thou, religion is very personal; the list goes on and on. I want to tell you my story and about a phrase that I live by, that phrase is “Everything, eventually will end”, this is a phrase that means so much to me, the tattoos on my arms and chest symbolize the phrase. I was and still am very obsessed with the phrase. My life was without meaning, I was just waiting for an end, living day by day, and then I prayed. It was the most meaningful prayer in my life and really gave meaning to all I did again.
It all started about two years ago, the stealing, the lies, and the isolation. It was a very selfish lifestyle that I started to live. And a selfish lifestyle does not blend in with a wife and two baby girls. But like I said, I was selfish. I kept justifying all the things I did by saying, “I mean well”, and “I’m not intentionally hurting anyone”. Focusing on all that “I” did. Wanting what “I” felt “I” deserved. I was getting drunk on myself and how good I became at doing wrong things. But everything, eventually will end. All the things that I was doing were starting to catch up to me. First came the federal indictment, then came the affair, then came the breakdown.
And even when I did break down, I still chose to run. My wife, who was very religious and attending church regularly talked to her pastor and both and offered help through God’s grace, but “I” was fine with my religious views and “I” knew what I was doing. So then that led to the separation with my family. I decided to run and run recklessly. Run as fast as possible without any regard to anything around me. I ended up moving out into my own place in mid-December of 2011 and tore my family apart. Not just my wife and children, but also my nephews, nieces, brothers and sisters in law, my mother and father in law, family friends and not to mention myself. I was riddled with all kinds of emotions; hurt, anger, fear, excitement, terror, but most of all guilt.
But I continued to believe what “I'” was doing is right. And God’s word and work kept continuing to show up, by loved ones around me suggesting prayer and church. There were certain situations that I should have got into some real bad trouble but somehow I miraculously escaped with no harm done. And yet I continued to reject him. I was fine the way I was living and kept idolizing everything “I” did. In under a month, all the material things I walked out on in my home, I was able to replace in my new apartment; new TV, new furniture, etc. I felt like a made man by perfecting my wrong doings. But deep down it was killing me. I was rotting from within. The one I was idolizing wasn’t able to give me anything back. He was hollow and meaningless. His strength had ended therefore mine did too. So I crumbled to the ground and as I lay on the ground I realized I was alone… Until I remembered what I was running from, guilt. And like a scene from the Halloween movies, guilt was like Michael Myers and it slowly stalked me and I had no strength left to fight or run and just like Michael Myers… Guilt caught up to me and gutted me good.
Everything, eventually will end. The federal indictment turned me into a federal convict. The separation and lies turned me and my wife into strangers that hated each other. The isolation turned me into the really funny guy that is cool to hang out with but has no emotional bonds or attachments. So this brings us to June 6th, 2012. A Wednesday evening, just another regular night for me with nothing out of the ordinary. The pickup basketball game followed by the late night run. The quick drive from the park to my apartment with the nonstop ringing of my car because I never buckled up for the short ride. The dreaded three flights of stairs to my 3rd floor apartment, then the quick shakedown of my keys, phone, shirt, etc. as soon as I got in the door and hopped into the shower. And I would end the night with a bowl of Fruit Loops with Marshmallow cereal while watching my favorite TV show of all time, The Office. All the while I’m having various meaningless conversations via text message with friends. And around 2 or 3 in the morning is when I normally started to finally try and go to sleep. I would just lay there in the dark on top of my mattress that was just tossed in the corner on the floor of my small efficiency, with the only light illuminating was the light from my multi colored digital alarm clock, I would listen to the rumblings of the central a/c and the trees as they would brush against the rain gutter outside on my balcony. And it was then, the guilt started to stab away at me and I would cry myself to sleep. But this time something was different.
On this early Thursday morning as I laid there a broken man, with nothing left to give, nowhere left to go, totally out of ideas what to do… I prayed. After months of rejecting and hating God… I prayed. I got on my knees and faced the wall and prayed. I didn’t go to him and tell him to get me out of this situation or ask him, why? Why me? I went to him like a son would go to his father. I talked to him; I cried to him, I offered my life to him. I asked for strength to get up and dig myself out of this grave I made, so that one day when I do get out of this grave, I can give the glory to him. I can give the glory to a humbling prayer. And then I felt a feeling I hadn’t felt since I was a kid, that tingling on my back. It was like a shoulder hug a father would give his son, saying without words, “I’m here for you son”. And just like that, a weight was lifted. My eyes were open. That hour long prayer is probably one of the most defining moments in my life. It gave new meaning to everything in my life. Including the phrase, “Everything, eventually will end”.
So the morning after the prayer I woke up with a new found energy, with a thirst for something more in life. There was something different, the sunlight pouring into my small apartment from the kitchen window didn’t annoy me, the birds chirping outside the balcony sounded so delightful, I woke up cringing for my children. So I prayed again, nowhere near as long or as much passion but still with tremendous meaning. I asked for his strength to help me change the wrongs in me so I can be strong enough to change all the wrongs around me. Especially the ones I created. So I continued to pray and pray and pray. I started doing a hard 180 in my life. I started to seek God and stop running from my guilt. I had no idea what else to do because I didn’t have a church I attended as a child and the one my ex-wife was attending I had ruled out, simply because everybody knew all my wrongs and I was ashamed to show my face there. So yeah, I did have my doubts and questions on if it was just a phase or fluke but then I swallowed my pride and went to The Exchange church with my ex-wife and found what I was looking for.
My pastor, Herbert Halbeisen didn’t hesitate to take me in, he embraced me with love as I came in with my broken pride and shameful label. He really took my hand and helped me up, and showed me a great scripture, Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”. It was then I started to learn there is a huge difference from intending to do good and actually doing good. I learned there is no time like now. I learned a life lived for others is a life worth living. But most importantly, I learned, “let go, let God but go now. Meaning let go of your problems, let God handle your burdens but go now and live his word. And since that prayer I have gained a new outlook on life. I have given up a lot of wrong, hate and selfishness in my life. I’m currently working on being a good man for my family. I stopped wanting and just DID get into school and God has just got started on the next chapter in my life.
So everything, eventually will end. But God isn’t everything, he is the only thing. So next time you suggest a great beer or drink or say, hey, you really need to go check out that movie. Try also suggesting God or a prayer. A prayer changed my life, so I suggest you try one if you’re ever feeling lost or lonely… Or just to give thanks for all you have. Talk to God like a parent, like a true loved one. He is listening. God is good, Christ is graceful and prayer is practical.