The Eight And A Half Year Storm…

Eight and a half years ago now, I was still deeply engaged in an adulterous relationship with a married man and was very spiritually sick, so much so, that my mental and emotional state had become completely unstable. On one particular afternoon, the pain had become so great that I humbled myself enough to finally ask God for help. I prayed to be freed from everything that separated me from Him. I prayed to have ALL my addictions removed and asked that I be brought through the healing as fast as I could handle it, so that I didn’t waste another day of my life living apart from Him. And I meant EVERY word of it, as torrents of tears fell from my face while I said those prayers. What I didn’t know was that two weeks later, a storm would begin in my life, one that I continue to believe is somehow the answer to all those prayers. But sadly, that storm still rages on in my life and has yet to depart.

There are many slogans, passages, and uplifting words out there in the world about the storms that fall upon us in our lives. I’ve been quoted many of them, often from the Bible, and various other religious text, as well as from my 12 Step recovery realms over the years, about how those storms always do pass. During the first few years of this, all of them were actually comforting and kept me going. But, as my health issues began to pile up, one after another, and my life fell apart more and more, my skies remained mostly grey with only a few moments of sunshine suddenly bursting through. Moments that never lasted more than a few hours to a day here and there. Moments that have only added up to about the number of days I can count on two hands.

This storm originally began somewhat small and was quite akin to a few passing rainstorms, one always following another. Eventually, those rainstorms turned into heavy downpours, yet I continued to endure, even when they didn’t let up. But, just when I thought those rains couldn’t get any stronger, they did, and my life now feels like it’s experiencing a Class 5 hurricane. And there I’ve sat in the midst of this crazy storm, as it ravages my life with so much physical pain and mental anguish, leaving me in in a place where I’ve actually forgotten what it’s like to not live in a such a storm.

I honestly don’t remember what it’s like to experience blue skies, light breezy winds, and a hopeful horizon. All attempts on my part to clear these dark skies and send all these heavy winds and rains away, have been thwarted by things seemingly beyond my control. People have asked me many times, especially recently, if I regret saying those prayers now. While my ego says yes, my heart and soul continue to say no. Because in all reality, I despised the person I once was, before this storm first began.

Somehow, I’ve continued to find enough faith to keep going though, and to keep believing that this storm will eventually end, even as the skies around me have turned totally black as of late. As I face probably the darkest moments of my life now, the Devil, evil, or whatever dark forces that plague our world, beckon me constantly to take my life, to give up on God, and to pick back up any number of addictions that used to comfort me. I have resisted all those temptations thus far, but honestly, I’m out of energy. Frankly, I’m tired, exhausted really. I have nothing left to give, but my life itself, and yet I still employ that to God. Because science, medicine, natural healers, and all the things this world has to offer for healing, have been unable to clear this storm away, and if anything, have often led to it becoming even stronger.

So, when people ask me now what they can do for me to help, as this storm feels like it’s about to ultimately break me in two, I have only one thing left to say. Pray that I’m given enough strength to get to the other side of this storm. Pray that God will see me through to its very end. And pray that I have enough faith to not give up on God, or myself for that matter. Because I can only imagine how clear the skies will become and how close I’ll feel to my Maker, when this storm finally does end.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Having That “Stuck-Like” Feeling In Life?

Lately, I really have been having this “stuck-like” feeling in life, almost as if I’ve not been moving forward, like my life has been on pause for far too long, which in all honesty has felt like an eternity.

There have been many days in which my ego has pushed for me to take a step backwards because of this and engage in unhealthy behaviors that I once did with regularity just to numb myself from the doldrums of life. There have also been plenty of days in which my ego has wanted me to take a random step in what it feels is in a forward direction, by trying something random, just to see if somehow that might remove this “stuck-like” feeling.

Yet, in the midst of all this spiritual confusion, there has been this part of me that continues to tell me to remain still and wait because my past actions have shown that any step backwards only leads to a greater feeling of being stuck and any step forward that doesn’t come from my Higher Guidance only leads to more of the same as well.

So, I’ve been waiting, waiting for God’s guidance and direction to come, but it hasn’t thus far, which has left me feeling like I’m in this very “stuck-like” place, one that has been extremely painful and primarily devoid of any real peace and joy in life.

While I have done my best to get out and help another, as that seems to help a little, and while I have done my best too to remain busy doing constructive things like upkeep around the house and hobbies, neither have removed that “stuck-like” feeling, which has left me thinking.

Maybe, this is precisely where the Universe wants me? Maybe, I’m meant to be still and stop trying to guide my own path, stop trying to push myself in some direction I think I should be going in, and stop trying to control whatever destiny I think I’m supposed to have, as it’s quite obvious from my past, how far any of those actions ever got me, which was pretty much nowhere.

In light of that, maybe I’m just meant to sit with this “stuck-like” feeling because I’m not stuck at all. Maybe I’m really moving forward and it’s only my ego that keeps saying I’m not. And maybe, just maybe, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, and the sooner I accept that, the sooner I’ll see just how very much I’m not stuck at all…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

“God Is Always There And Never Abandons Any Of Us!”

It’s extremely easy to say that God is always there and never abandons any of us when one’s life is going well. It’s also extremely easy to cite out scripture to back that argument up. But, what’s not extremely easy is to continue believing that when a storm keeps on ravaging one’s life day after day for years, with no end in sight.

Personally, I’ve been living in such a storm for quite some years now, especially during the past two, with my body enduring high levels of physical pain throughout every single day. While I’ve done my very best to seek help and take care of myself, to stay away from toxic people and toxic situations, to pray and meditate, and wait upon God for further guidance and instructions on what to do, I’ve been through an entire year now feeling like God has gone on radio silence with me. In the process, I’ve felt a profound emptiness I’ve never felt before and have started to believe that God has totally abandoned me.

Honestly, it’s hard enough living with chronic pain, especially at 46 years old, because of how much it’s prevented me from engaging in fun activities with others, activities where I used to find much of my connection to God. It’s even harder though to live in pain like I have, when even in my many moments of time by myself, I don’t feel God communicating to me anymore. It’s as if the radio station I’ve always tuned to God is nothing but static now. And believe me when I say I’ve done an incredible amount to tune into plenty of other stations knowing God isn’t limited to just one. And believe me when I say as well how hard I’ve pushed myself to find God anywhere, somewhere, but so far, it’s all been to no avail. It’s almost as if God has totally hidden Himself from me and I have no idea why.

There is a notable figure in the Bible, the apostle Paul, who talks about going through great suffering and how he was able to endure it because he felt God’s grace. I get that, because there were times in my life when I was suffering, yet still felt God’s grace, which was always able to sustain me through those difficult times. Unfortunately, I haven’t felt any of that over the past year, which has led me to relate far more to Job’s suffering, another notable figure in the Bible. As he too went through incredible suffering similar to mine, and never felt God’s grace throughout it either.

Job’s friends tried to convince him that he didn’t feel God’s grace because he must have done something wrong and that God would return when Job repented and changed his ways. But when God showed up at the end of that story and said Job’s suffering wasn’t because of anything Job did, Job’s health and life got restored and when it was, Job immediately felt God’s grace and presence again.

This is why I tell people that living in chronic pain for long periods of time can become an inhibitor to feeling the sunlight of God’s spirit. Like Job, mine has acted as an overarching dark presence that has often blocked me from hearing, feeling, and connecting to God. I feel like I can safely say this with conviction because on those rare days where my pain levels have dropped even a slight notch, I’ve felt joy immediately return and God’s presence as well.

Take last year, around this time period for example. I travelled to Nashville to visit my sister and her family for a long weekend. There I experienced a rather dramatic decrease in my pain levels that I hadn’t experienced in years. And because of it, I felt more connected to God and His grace than I had in a very long time. In turn, the furthest thing on my mind during that period was thinking that God abandoned me, because it felt quite the opposite. Unfortunately, the day after I returned from that trip, I received what I believe to be the last direct communication I’ve had from God. Sitting on the door handle to my car in an empty parking garage was the largest praying mantis I had ever seen. Its presence prevented me from opening my door and thus I’ve come to learn that when something like this happens, it’s a sign from Source. I’d discover later that day through a little research, that in Native American symbolism, the praying mantis symbolizes a period of waiting, being patient, and knowing exactly when to move forward. After discovering that, I had no doubt it was a message from God, yet, ever since, the silence from God has been deafening.

I have remained opened though to however God may choose to connect with me, as there have been many, many ways I’ve experienced God throughout this life, yet I unfortunately continue to feel nothing but emptiness. And what’s difficult about this for a guy like me, who’s been an addict more than not in this life and many of my previous ones as well, is that my ego keeps trying to convince me that God has abandoned me and that I just need to return to any one of my addictions, as life will be far better when I do. Yet, I know that’s an illusion and will only bring me greater emptiness in the end. Sadly, my ego has also tried to convince me to take my life on far too many of my painful days. But, I’m a stickler though, for following through on what I said I’m going to do, and even though all signs of God’s presence have been blotted out for such a long period, I’m choosing to hang on to my faith and trust that God is still there, that he hasn’t abandoned me, and that there is an end to my suffering and this long-lasting storm.

So, while it may very well be true that God indeed never abandons any of us, it’s also true that when one is dealing with incredible suffering for long periods of time, such as living with high chronic pain, that it becomes harder and harder to believe in that. And if and when that starts to happen, the hardest part of one’s spiritual journey is to keep that mustard seed of faith alive long enough to reach the day when the storm departs and God’s grace is revealed to have been there all along…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson