I’m sitting here this evening on the porch with a nice cigar and a glass of Kentucky bourbon – Bulleit to be precise – and just thinking about the crazy times we live in. Right now we are one week away from electing the next president of the United States, and to say this election cycle has been nuts is an extreme understatement. Our country is as polarized as I have ever seen and this election, as well as recent events in this country over the last couple years, have made that blatantly clear.
And the lines of crazy are blurred more than ever as well. Republican, Democrat, Christian, right, left, progressive – what one once thought were clear identifications are no longer so. We are a mess!!
And that’s just here in the US. Take the Middle East, the refugee crisis, Brexit, ISIS and the ever increasing threat of war and the world is in dire straights right now.
And I am concerned about and have an opinion about (imagine that) all of these things. I mean give me the gavel and I can fix this all in just a few minutes. I think we all think that to a certain degree. We all have thoughts and opinions on these things and think ours are not only right but, in fact, the only one. And this separates us even more.
And then there is the other side – my spiritual side. My faith in God. And not just an American right wing, Bible thumping kind of thing. Those that know me know that couldn’t be farther from the truth. But my faith – my spirituality – is the biggest thing about me. It is who I am. My beliefs literally form me. My view of God shades everything else. I’m not saying I am unique in this, but it is who I am. When push comes to shove so to speak, it is my faith, my beliefs that will govern my actions and words.
And even that is divisive because as much as I can say that, there are countless others that say and believe that as well. The problem is, our world views – our faith – is believed and expressed differently. Thus we are back to the previous which in many cases provides more divisiveness than unity.
So, what’s a guy or gal to do?
For me, it’s always centering myself with my spirituality. Regardless of what is happening around me, I have to find that place with God and rest there. I must commune with Him. I have to find that place where it is just me and Him and immerse myself there.
Now, from a theological point of view, I believe that I am mystically intertwined within the Trinitarian life of Father, Son and Spirit – not of my own doing, but simply because of what Jesus Christ provided. I don’t have to work to get there, I am there – always! There is nothing I can do to separate myself from the Love of Father, Son and Spirit. We are symbiotically one. I can’t escape it if I tried.
But…I can allow my mind to wander from that reality and lose my focus. And when I lose my focus, my actions soon follow suit.
Therefore, I have to find that time for communion – not to earn or keep my place – but to constantly remind myself of who I really am. It has been said, Martin Luther I think, that we must hear the Gospel every day. Why? So we continue to believe it; so our minds continue to know the Truth. So that we continue to think, act and believe according to the reality of who and whose we are.
And this brings us back to the opening statement because for me – my centering place, my point of communion and meditation with the Godhead is outside with a cigar and a drink.
For some, I know, that is a bit strange if not even questionable, but it is my place. For over 18 years now this have been my communion.
A little over 18 years ago I went through one of the most difficult “seasons” in my life. Something I never dreamed would happen to me or be part of my story. It was difficult. It was gut-wrenching. It was painful. I lost friends, was cast aside and thrown out. My world turned.
But it was during that time that I “discovered” cigars. I was, all the sudden, a single dad with 2 young kids and my previous world slipping through my fingers like trying to hold on to water.
and in many ways, lost…
Now none of this was directed at God, in fact, He was all I had to hold on to. And cling and cry I did.
And so, every evening, once I had put my two young children to bed, I would grab a cigar and an adult beverage and step outside onto the porch and commune with the Godhead.
It was my solice.
It was my peace.
It was my sanity.
It was my lifeline.
It was my time with God.
And now, many years later, and even though life is good and God has restored all things and added new things, a cigar, a drink and the outdoors are still my favorite place. It is still where I go to “meet” God. It is my communion. It is my spiritual place. And even though I readily enjoy sharing a drink and a fine cigar with friends, it is when I am alone with those that I most enjoy because it is my Bethel – where I meet God.
Now, of course, it is not the only place or time or circumstance that I meet with God – that is a continual feast as I am in union with Father, Son and Spirit, but it is our special time.
And so when I look around and see the chaos that is our world right now, and even when I offer my opinions – even if unsolicited – I know that my true place is right here, sitting outside, smoking a nice cigar, enjoying a strong bourbon and communing with my Father.
This is my life and my spirituality.