On Wednesday, I'll have been unemployed for a year. It also marks at time of great emotional, marital and spiritual upheaval. I suffered a nervous breakdown associated with PTSD, my wife and I went several rounds including one that had me writing out a Power of Attorney and packing my bags for who knows where, a growing distance between my son and I and an overwhelming fear of flying.
Lots of things got me through this past year.
One of those things was my faith which I will admit took an incredible beating. The Enemy is usually subtle in his dealings but on occasion he uses blatant, overt tactics designed to hit you when you're down, weak and barely able to defend yourself. It was those times, when he was whispering my ear that I was no good, that I'd never fly again, that I was totally unhirable, that I would be better off eating the business end of a .38 that I cried out to God for relief. For healing. For at least some acknowledgment that He was there and I was not a waste of space.
I was at the end of my rope. I'd reached a knot at the end and it was fraying. So I hung on because He said that's what I needed to do. Many people told me the same thing. People at my church. My counselor. My wife. Acquaintances. Friends and relatives all encouraged me with "God has a plan for you...trust Him." Which was hard, very hard when all I saw was the bottom of a deep, dark well. A well that, at times, I wanted to just drop into an disappear.
But my Pastor, kind of insistently, pushed for me to pick up the latest men's Bible study guide they were using this year. "Trusting God. Even When Life Hurts" by Jerry Bridges. So I joined the men's Bible study and found a group of guys who either were going through their own, exclusive, private hell or had been there.
The book helped too. It helped break some long-held beliefs about Free Will and Predestination. It helped show me that I can truly trust God. I came face to face with the reality of life that I already knew but chose to ignore so that I could do my own thing, my own way; create my own theology.
The book, the fellowship, the counseling sessions (Twice a month at $100/pop!) by a guy who was a former cop, a Christian and has dealt with PTSD cases before. And music.
Several albums got me through this last year.
O How The Mighty Have Fallen by The Choir
Howl and Baby 81 by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Good Monsters by Jars of Clay
Revelation by Third Day
No Line on the Horizon by U2
Definitive Collection: Mike Knott and LSU
The Midget, The Speck and the Molecule by The Swirling Eddies
Each one spoke something different to me at different times. Each one provided some truths that I needed to hear. And some just let me let out emotions at the top of my lungs as I rocked on with the band.
All these things, interwoven together, taken as one or taken as a group, all worked together for good, for me, who loves the Lord. That's a promise you know.
I don't know what's going to happen next. I still have doubts about my abilities. I have been in the air a few times riding right seat being a "gear bitch" and "radio jockey" in a King Air. I had no weirdness. No trepidations. Wasn't twitchy. It was actually good. Of course, I wasn't the Pilot in Command and the weather was nice so we'll see what happens next. I still wonder if I'm cut out for any kind of responsibility higher than worker drone. But I don't dwell on that. Whatever God has in mind for me, I won't fight it. I will accept it. Fighting it or trying to make something else of it hasn't worked so well in the past. I'm 43, soon to be 44. My mother used to say she didn't want me to learn the hard lessons of life in my 40's like she did. She used to try and keep me from that. But I think we are destined to more like our parents than we will ever admit and we're terrified our kids will turn out like us. Which is why I've been so hard on my son. But I've learned I've got to let him do what he needs to, to make his own mistakes even if they are the same one's I've made, to try and be a better example to him....but that's a post for another day.
Whatever gets me through the day is not just "whatever". It's more like "whomever". I have been remiss expressing who He is and what He's done both for me and for all others.