This is a quick part one of a two part story. I thought about combining them, but I didn’t want people to miss the most important part. So you can read this to get a back story on me, or if you want to just get the most important part you can read part two, just be warned I really couldn’t figure out how to shrink that one much more.
Here is my story of Heavenly experiences prior to Michelle’s diagnosis. I wanted to document some of the spiritual interactions that I have gone through in my life, in part to have them available to my children, and in part to show that our journeys happen over the course of years, and so the little things can bring us to truly unexpected places years later.
going back in time
So we're going to have to go a little bit back in time to recount some of the many things that have brought me on this whirlwind of a journey that I never expected to be on but which I would not trade for anything. As a youth I was blessed to be curious about what else there was to life and not be satisfied with what I could simply see with my own two eyes. As a result, I was always very curious about the world and what exactly set all this in motion. I had many questions throughout my youth, many that were not readily answered. I unsurprisingly took the path of many teenage boys and became filled with angst, anger and depression in my search for some way to make sense of both the good and especially the bad in the world.
We’ll start on an evening in May at the age of 15 when alone late at night in a park I had an angry conversation with a God that I did not know, that I could not wrap my brain around.
I cursed him and I yelled at him I challenged him, and in what is still a very sacred experience for me I got to witness something that cannot be explained and which I still hold quite privately to myself because of how easily it may be subject to ridicule, but suffice it to say I felt something like I had never felt before in that moment, and simultaneously witnessed a natural event happening in a most unnatural way. But being the obstinate teenager that I was I couldn't admit that what I was seeing could possibly come from God and therefore in my arrogance I attributed it more to myself and was convinced that I had somehow tapped into something. Of course, you would think I would have figured out after I was unable to ever recreate it that perhaps I wasn't as wise as I thought I was. After this, and along with my newfound arrogance, I kept searching for answers and for truth, and so I investigated every spiritual and religious avenue that I could. If you haven't figured out from other posts I am this day a Christian, but that did not come easy because unfortunately I had many during my teenage years who invited me to Christian churches but whom when I asked questions and challenged them the simple answer was just too accept Christ even though no one seemed to have the time to explain to me who exactly He was, and because of my questioning I was quickly rejected the next time we would meet at school or other events. This left me convinced that Christianity was full of hypocrites, and that I would have nothing to do with them.
An unexpected meeting
If you haven't read Michelle's post concerning how we met now might be a good time for a refresher. But the short version as it pertains to this blog is that I met a girl unexpectedly to whom I asked many questions. What I thought was a pure chance encounter changed the direction of more than just the lives of two kids headed into their senior year of high school it altered countless lives over the course of a couple decades. She was open to have discussions, but she referred me to two missionaries to answer some of my more in-depth questions, so that our relationship did not become one of religious contention, again back to me being an angsty teenager. She left me on my own to explore the spiritual side and we would go to church, where I would say up was down, and left is right just to be a jerk.
But back to remembering holy places. One of those places actually takes place in my childhood home.
I woke up one December morning and went off to school with two simple sentences that continually pounded through my mind that day one of which was the Revelation that Jesus Christ was indeed the son of God. Try as I might I could not get this thought out of my head and it pounded away on me for approximately 12 hours, I can still vaguely recall walking those halls and sitting in those classes that day, but the repetition of these sentences was such that I could not make sense of anything else going on around me. Upon returning home I went down into my room, which was in the basement of our home, and falling to my knees I apologized for how stubborn I had been, how mean I had been to those who had shown me kindness, for lying about the things that I knew were true. And it was in that moment that I felt an overwhelming peace, the sentences had stopped pounding and I felt a power that I had only felt once before in my life, the powerful feeling that I had had in The Park after giving God an earful. My mind traced back over the previous 2 years and I realized how arrogant I had been in that time, I saw how little breadcrumbs had been placed in my path, people, chance meetings. After that I had to call my girlfriend with the unexpected news that I had been denying my testimony for some time and that I intended to be baptized. Luckily, we both decided that we were committed to each other and to living as Disciples of Christ and it was not long after that we became engaged and were married at the ripe old age of 19 for me and 18 for her. Our marriage survived 20 years and again if you haven't been keeping up with this Blog then I suggest you go read Michelle's marriage post and see that it wasn’t a happily ever after fairytale but it was one heck of a ride that made us both stronger.
so many places to remember
I’ve had many experiences over the years, but this is a post about the places that have changed me, and how truly mundane they have been. Let’s go to the intersection at 620 and I-35. It’s a stop light as you are attempting to head into downtown Round Rock, TX.
It’s a route I had taken who knows how many times in the first few years that we’d lived here, and I don’t know how many times I’ve driven under this light in the probably 10 years since this experience occurred. I was the first person stopped at this light on a perfectly clear day. The I-35 frontage road in front of me was being lightly traveled by cars that had just come off the 75 MPH highway. The light for the oncoming traffic turned red, then I got the green light to go. But in the back of my head I heard the word “wait”. Why wait? The coast was clear, there were not even cars in the left-hand turning lane that could be obstructing my view of any danger. So, I started taking my foot off the brake, “wait”, and I put my foot back down. Why was I waiting? The light was green and the people behind me were bound to start honking. Nope I was going. “Wait”. It was never a shout, it was soft and patient, and I hesitated just a moment more. Just then a big old work truck came barreling through the intersection going easily 65, I assume he’d come off the highway and wasn’t paying attention to the light that had long been red at this point, did I mention that I was in a little white Saturn, not exactly a match for 2 tons of metal going 65 MPH. Had I gone when the light turned green I may have been lucky and he would have taken out my back end, but any time after that initial pause it was most definitely going to be major side impact and if I survived it I would have been pretty messed up.
This simple intersection is now a holy place for me, it’s the place where I listened and, in all likelihood, my life was saved. There are other places around town where I have had other similar experiences on the road, another intersection with a similar situation, albeit a more survivable minivan. The accident just down the road that occurred just moments before I got there, where had the kids not delayed us we would have not been the first people on the scene to kick out the back window of a rolled over minivan and gotten a family safely out. How many times have I cursed the delays, the lack of revelations, not realizing that perhaps the sign was the delay and the delay put me right where I needed to be or kept me safely out of harm’s way?
We have experiences all the time, but have we stopped to remember them and to realize the amazing effect that they have had in our lives?
So that's part one, part two will hopefully be much more interesting, but unfortunately a whole lot longer, so go get a snack.
My name is Michelle Kaley but I have many other names.....Daughter, Sister, Wife of 20 years to my High School Sweetheart, Mom to my 4 Beautiful Children, Ms. Michelle to my hundreds of Students, and as of 2016 Cancer Patient was added to the list.