I love to rescue cats. The story of my precious little Lamsey is in a blog post from another day called, “Losing Lamsey.” The life of my Nashy is immortalized in a book I wrote in her honor “A Feline Grace.” With both of my babies now gone to the Rainbow Bridge as they say, I am looking for my next kitty cat who needs me. And my guinea pig and I have begun to get closer as I meet his very demanding eating schedule and watch with amusement as he enjoys so much the things which I have provided for him. “He is a rescue also,” I like to joke. I rescued him from PetSmart.
It has occurred to me lately that in almost every area of my life, my desire to rescue both illumines, and decimates me. I love to feel important. I guess that’s the selfish part, but I have recently come to believe that selfishness is not always wrong. I came to this conclusion based on what I was being taught by the church I was most loyal to. “My heart is wicked,” I was taught. And what was always being implied is that I should never think of myself. The ironic reality is that this was my downfall. Learning not to care about myself meant that my life didn’t matter, and therefore it didn’t matter what I did or didn’t do with my life. When I discovered by the revelation of the Holy Spirit that my life does matter to God, I began to put my book “He Believes in Me” into motion.
The further irony was that I could see this church needed my help. I wrote a couple well thought out and well prayed over letters to the pastor. And since he seemed to receive them, I stuck around. But whenever I had attempted to become further involved in “my” church, the leaders were no less than mean, and scrutinized and judged me and arrived somehow at the conclusion that I was not fit to serve in their church. Taking a step away from this church is my means of establishing that I do not have to beat myself up, in order to help, or rescue, although I was convinced this was God’s work through me I was submitting to. Perhaps it was, and perhaps my God is gracious enough to now release me from this, knowing that my heart’s desire is merely to love and be loved in return, a desire which He put there in the first place.
I also desire to rescue men. And this is the strength of any relationship I’ve found myself in. There have been married men, which I wished I could rescue from a bad marriage, as they desired no doubt to rescue me from the pains of singleness. I will never forget Bob, one of my best friends ever whom I “hung around with” at work for 2 ½ years, before I decided that it was not appropriate to be friends with a married man. Bob had been a professional singer and songwriter in Nashville. I recall his voice was like a soft dove when he sang. He sounded a lot like James Taylor. His voice and demeanor were very comforting. It meant a lot to me to know he liked me. This was the time in my life when I lied to myself, ignoring the fact that I dreamed of him, and I knew he dreamt of me also.
We never touched though, except for that one time when we were at the lunch table at work. Bob made life at work so much more bearable. It was one of those jobs everyone who worked there hated, and this brought out an incredible sense of camaraderie with all of us, which I will never forget. The managers were frankly, abusive. One day Bob handed me something, I don’t recall what, and our hands touched for a second. I could feel the electricity, and thought he probably did too. I mused on how nice it was to feel so much just from a touch, when there are so many relationships in need of something more physical.
Eventually, as I prayed for him frequently, he moved to another job where he would be closer to his family, with my blessing, and claimed that God had done a great work in his marriage. This was bittersweet for me. But I loved Bob like a brother and definitely wanted what was best for him, and his family.
Myself and my friend Jonah have not talked lately. He isn’t returning my calls. I used to think he was wonderful. I used to get lost in his blue eyes. On my birthday 2 years ago, which I spent over his house with him and his mom, as he spoke to me, I quietly said to myself “I will never love another man, as long as Jonah is alive.” In the past year or so, Jonah and I became great friends. We talked on the phone for hours on several occasions about the things of God. At times, I literally had Bible Gateway opened right in front of me as we studied the Bible and discussed things like what the rapture would really look like as all the dead people rose from the grave first. We compared Scripture with Scripture, and asked questions and found answers.
As Jonah struggles with ailments brought on by several different kinds of mental and physical disabilities, one of my strongest desires in this world had been just to be there for him, even just as a friend. But on Christmas, when I left a stocking for him to wake up to outside his front door, he was uncomfortable that I had come by without notice. When I went to the beach with him, I listened quietly as he manically went on and on with his own thoughts, flattered that I was the one who got to be at the Jersey Shore boardwalk with him. And when I just recently slipped on one of my sandles and fell down the stairs, resulting in pain so intense I completely blacked out, I called him as soon as I was able to crawl up the stairs and get to my bed. After spending so much time on the phone together, he was the first one I thought of when I really needed someone, but he didn’t answer my call. This was almost a week ago, and he never did call back, or return any of my texts.
Jonah isn’t all bad, he has issues just like anyone else. But the problem I see in myself is the tendency to feel obligated to try and connect with him just because his life is a mess and mine isn’t. The reality is, if he doesn’t value his life, he won’t really value me either. I can not make the sun shine brighter for Jonah, or for the church I am walking away from. I can certainly make life better for the animals I rescue. And I can and should dedicate more time to finding grateful and gracious friends to love, and worthy persons to minister to. And when I find the right guy, I will know him because he will have a gracious heart that continuously thanks God for the things around him, and for me as a friend, or otherwise, as God’s hand leads.
It is, of course, easier to stay with what feels comfortable, rescuing and getting nothing, or worse, getting abused, in return. It is a step of faith to follow my new theme, “God Believes in Me!” It only makes sense to infer that if God believes in me, I can certainly believe in myself. I can therefore know that I have the power in me, all the power and strength and love I need, to go forward into a life that is more rewarding, and into relationships in which I am appreciated.
As I was writing my book I came to the conclusion that if God loved me, as the Bible teaches He does, I should therefore love myself. If I love God, I love what He loves, and He loves me, so I love me. And loving me means listening to the still small voice inside me which is God speaking to me. It also means that what is His is mine, and that He has given me this life for now, in order to take it in the right direction as His Spirit leads me forward into new terrain.