Lost on Long Island, Back to Nineveh

In high school, I learned the Peter Principle,

“People rise to their level of incompetence.”

In seminary, I was taught,

“Be careful what you pray for;

You might just get it.”

Still, I prayed to rise,

More people, a bigger community, better pay.

A church on Long Island called

And offered me all this and more

more than I expected.

more than I could handle.

From the moment I landed, I was consumed with busyness

That had no end.

The church needed a Savior.

And I wasn’t Him.

The ministry became my golden calf

Where I sacrificed my family and my sanity.

One night I went to bed early,

Emotionally exhausted and physically drained.

Lying in bed, I heard a voice say, “It’s okay.”

But it wasn’t the voice of assurance.

It was a word of relinquishment.

I got up and filled my palm with psychotropic drugs.

Put them in my mouth and swallowed.

I did it again. And again.

It wasn’t enough to kill me.

Only to put me in a drug-induced stupor.

I collapsed on the floor.

Alice found me and called my psychiatrist

He said I could sleep it off.

But I kept falling onto the floor.

My body was contorted; I kept running into walls.

Alice had to direct me to the bathroom,

And clean up after me when I missed.

I was angry –

angry at myself for making such a mess of things.

angry at Alice for cleaning up my mess.

angry at God for messing with me.

*****

Some people ask me now how someone who claims

To have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ

Could try to kill himself.

My only answer is

Though I’ve wanted to give up on God,

God hasn’t given up on me.

Now I’ve come back to the outskirts of Nineveh,

I’m hiding from the scorching sun,

Grateful for the shade God provides.

jonah-and-the-gourd-vine

5 Comments

      1. Recently lost my wife – which is driving all my other decisions right now —– still say that I am blessed for the time and the love we did share. It outweighs this….sometimes barely – but it does.

        Liked by 1 person

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