Caught between this moment in time and a hard place. I am sitting in my office at my home as the last winter of the millennium covers the trees and fields in a thick blanket of frost and fog from the river in the valley below the hills on which this house sits. It is pleasant, sitting here in the warmth of my gas heaters. I have all the modern conveniences. I have spared no expense. It took every spare dime and fifty thousand dollars worth of credit-card debt to create this working environment but it was worth it...wasn’t it? I mean, everyone has a duty to themselves to make the most of the talents God gave them, right? So I have tried to do, overcoming all obstacles in my path by cunning and wile, I have created myself in my own image; friends, lovers, wives, enemies, and the rest of the world be damned! I had to be me, and so I am.
These efforts have been rewarded by providing me access to the world’s resources and a measure of ‘free time’ to make use of them. Without this ‘access’ I truly believe my purpose, rather, God’s purpose for my life, could not have been achievable. Yet this gain was not without a corresponding loss, to my innocence and a hardening of my spirit. The feeling of freedom I knew in my youth was also surrendered. Some will say this is the normal result of adulthood but even if it is the norm it is not necessarily so. Christ said we must believe as a child, must see as a child, to enter heaven. I for one know this is true.
In a sense, I have lost my life, to save it. Although I humbly suggest to God that I am the least worthy of his children, the feeling there was some greater purpose to my life has been with me since my ‘conversion’, as they call it now, at age thirteen. This epiphany experience has molded the direction of my life to varying degrees ever since, albeit that direction has suffered greatly at times from the other drives which possess the human animal body. Nevertheless, I have felt the presence of unseen hands trying to guide me, and when cyclic balance is restored I again can behold the spiritual elements of all phenomena, the noumenal essence of our humble, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes uplifting lives, the joys and the sorrows joined together in the empathy that an understanding of our common weaknesses and frailty gives, along with compassion for our mother, the Earth, and all her children. With great pride I've observed how our human vices are swept away in our higher moments of moral integrity and courage, as demonstrated by the valor of a generation that gave their all for freedom, directly as a result of actions which occurred on this date some fifty-eight years ago at Pearl Harbor. A couple of generations later boys that I knew, who were just a few years older than I, were sent to Vietnam to kill or be killed in a war that was more about capitalist imperialism than freedom, but their sacrifice was no less honorable in that day and time. But I was spared that decision. I too felt the call to service and sacrifice, but my call was to a greater good than any one country or economic system.
In the immediate years after I was saved, as we called it then, my bible study revealed startling facts. The social revolution, which Christ expounded, had yet to occur! The closest thing to it was communism, but that was an atheistic doctrine. God had called us to share in all things, to love in all things, to live by his truth In all things. Yet I found myself born into a world firmly in the grip of evil that is capitalist corporate greed, which had fostered the “military-industrial complex" (which Eisenhower condemned to his credit), to force by the threat of nuclear war our conformity and servitude as they destroy the wonderful diversity of life acre by acre to create a ‘new world order’ that is heartless and vile in the eyes of God. The more I read Christ’s words the more I understood that we were called to have no part of this evil. To “get thee out of her, that ye partake not of her evils…” I made a decision way back then at 14 or 15 years old to not be a part of this evil. I would be ‘in the world but not of it’, until a way out was possible, as soon as I could.
Well, things happen, unforeseen events, such as teenage pregnancy and subsequent marriage at age 16; need I say more? My intentions were indefinitely altered but not forgotten. My plan was to leave America for the south pacific, to live as Christ did, to get ‘back to nature’, to create a life that would be filled by the spirit, living in a constant uncorrupted state of communion. This dream world was not to be obviously.
At age 16, already married and a father, I chose to stay ‘in the world’ while maintaining, at least philosophically, a state of iconoclastic misanthropic disassociation from the culture I reside within. It was never my intention to “play the game”, to “succeed”. I have only sought a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work as determined by the times. Having provided for my children, I have, as stated earlier, used the system to provide ‘access’ and a conducive environment to enhance my studies and subsequent work, of which you are now examining a part. Now with one click a billion pages are at my fingertips on the Internet. The latest news, music, documentaries, or world events 'live' as they happen are brought to me almost instantly via satellites. As the information age unfolds and the millennium draws to a close in three weeks time, I have written these words as an apology to God and to myself, for what might have been without the error of my ways forcing ‘the compromise’. It also bears witness to the hope of what might yet be in a few years when all the children are grown and I only have myself to provide for…who knows where I might end up…maybe Egypt…
©2007-2021 Thomas Theodore Welborn