Living in a Material (Mask) World

Yes, the CDC would not be happy with this mask. It would not serve the purpose of preventing COVID-19 viral transmission; however, it did fit the title of my blog quite well. I simply could not resist!

Pardon my distraction. . . Seriously, now, what is going on? This pandemic is like the “Twilight Zone,” this cannot be real, how does our government “shut down the country” like this? To some degree we have all felt this. To some degree we are managing this well. For others of us, this is tremendously difficult. This post is intended for those of us who are struggling with this pandemic.

I understand. I have been through dark times. For me, the darkest of times were from 1999-2007. I was married, had a handful of kids, a house, and my wife and I had jobs. With all this, because of my past and because of life events, my life got quite dark. I was losing hope. I had been searching most all my life for something that I knew would bring me happiness. During these dark times I still had not found the goal of my search, a goal which I could not even begin to define. I somehow just knew that I would find it. But how?

I was searching through times with friends, parties, self-help books, finding a wife and starting a family, living the American dream. . . What was wrong with me? What else could I need? Why do I have this desire to search? Why is all this bad stuff happening to me?

OK, I have not let you know what happened. I know you are thinking about it. What made those years so dark? Let’s make me live through this again, shall we? OK. The Texas Aggie bonfire fell down and killed twelve students, a friend of mine died on a camp out, my home flooded us out for a couple of months, one of my sons was unconsciously floating in our pool face down (he is fine!), my cherished grandmother died, my wife’s father died, another friend’s daughter died of cancer at the age of about seven, another friend of mine’s wife died of cancer leaving my friend with young children, my brother’s wife died of cancer leaving young children, the economy in Dallas got bad in 2000 and we all had friends without jobs, and a major tenant in the office building I lease from moved out, displacing hundreds of my dental patients to north Plano and Atlanta, Georgia. Those are the major ones.

Ooops, I may have gotten distracted again. . . “Squirrel!” What does all this have to do with this pandemic we are all in? OK, I have described my darkest times. And this pandemic is a big deal. However, for me, these times are not dark at all. You see, at the end of that dark time, I found the goal of my search! I found the end to my search! This lifelong search!

What I found was a God who was not far off in space somewhere as I had imagined at the age of forty-five. Instead, I found a God who is all around us and even within us. I simply was not looking in the right way. Once I found out about all this, I found God was with me my whole life. I simply did not see nor feel God.

I realized this on a church retreat. I have found that this realization comes in so many different ways for others. There are no secret words, no series of events that have to happen just right. . . Our God is always waiting for us. . . always. . . So, how do we find this if we have yet to find it?

It is fair to say that we must be open to this. We must truly want to find this. Yes, for some, God simply graced them without an effort from the other. Yes, God works in mysterious ways for sure. I have heard so many different experiences of this spiritual conversion, the greatest gift ever!

Yes, we can pray for this, certainly. We also can simply start each day thinking of ten things for which we are grateful, and thanking God for them. Yes, some of these things can be duplicates from the day before, but do think in the moment of what you are grateful for at the moment, then thank God for those things.

I actually did this exercise of gratefulness. What happened to me is that I found myself during the day thanking God for good things, good “coincidences,” for the sunrise, for a smile from a stranger, for anything I was genuinely grateful for at the moment. Before I knew it, I found myself during my day asking God for help, asking God to help a friend or to help a random driver who was at the side of the road from an accident, and asking God to help me with my task at work. . . This began my life of prayer! It just happened, it just happens. I know this is unique, but this happened and happens, to me. This is why I have joy pretty much all the time. How can I not have joy when I have my God right beside my every hour, and almost every minute.

I trust my God. My God is the Almighty Father, my God is Jesus Christ, and my God is the Holy Spirit, who resides within me and offers me ideas and guidance, in my head, deep in my head past those harmful voices. This is how I live in this material mask world. I trust my God. I trust God will lead me and guide me through this. And God does! God truly does! This is all true, authentic, and real. I approve of this blog post!

If you want to read more from me, I invite you to see my other posts on faith. Feel free to talk to a trusting faithful friend about this; this is too great not to share. Feel free to speak with a pastor, a minister, or a church lay minister. There are many spiritual books, find a bible you like the format of, perhaps get involved with a faith or church community. All these are wonderful ways of enduring this pandemic, of enduring through anything. Finding the reason for my search has been life-changing, and I continue to change as I continue to cooperate with my relationship with my God!

May you find or experience more deeply the fulfillment of your search or deep yearning. I know my God treasures you, loves you, and is waiting for you. My God is always there, waiting. . . This finding makes living in this material mask world not so dark!

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