In 1997 I was born again.
WOAAH!!!! Back off evangelicals!!!!, it’s not what you think!.
The other day I was watching something on TV about the tallest ocean waves and this surfer was coming down it. It was incredibly frightening. The wave was curving over him so fast and he was sliding, cutting across the water just as fast… the white water began to cover him but he would emerge out from the foam…..
Watching that reminded me of my born again experience.
I’ll leave for another storiette the why it happened, but over night I became homeless. The IRS thought that I should give them all my income to pay for a fictitious debt, minus about 10% and I disagreed. God gets the first 10%, neither them nor me get it Well, that’s what the paper work says. But I am going to tell you what really happened.
Because they levied my salary, I could not pay any of my expenses, so my house now had a date with a foreclosure; all my utilities were about to be disconnected and my car….. well, let me tell you a little about my car, it’s a hysterical story.
I had leased a minivan. Those familiar with leases may know to NEVER DO THAT EVER AGAIN!!!! UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES LEASE A CAR!!!! You cannot EVER change your mind!!! I never realized that I put more miles on a car than Mario Andretti drives in circles. So a small paragraph in the contract said that if the car is stolen or totaled, the contract is null and void. WELL! There began in earnest my intent to get rid of that car in no time at all. When I would go visit the Missionaries of Charity, who, of course are always in poor, bad neighborhoods, I would double park my car in front of their convent,….. take all my valuables, leave the car running, with the key in the ignition AND the door open……. So I then would stay any amount of time inside; confident that the car would be gone by the time I came out…..
Well, the only thing that would be gone was the gas. It would be blinking empty when I got back in…..
I would look for working cranes and put my car in the path of it falling….. all I got was tired of waiting around the corner.
For a few months I just kept trying to get that car stolen, crashed, vandalized…. but NOTHING!!! Each time it would be sitting there victoriously grinning showing me that it was still mine.
On Christmas Eve day, I had to go pick up the Missionaries of Charity, 60 miles away to go the Christmas Tritium. I left my house, which was on a street that was a large slow curve. When I got to the end of the curve.. I remembered I forgot to bring something with me and I turned back to go get it. I was very cold and it had snowed a micro-nano-millimeter and instead of my car following the curve, it went straight over the curve and crashed into a dinky tree, no more than 2 inches across. My airbag went off…. and gave me a bloody lip and just about a heart attack given that tree belonged to the neighborhood troglodyte. Blessed be God, my car started , I backed it up and moving like it had square wheels I drove it home and quickly hid it in the garage. It was exactly 12 noon.
It was declared totaled by my insurance company!!!! I love those guys!!!!
And there began my re-birth.
Among the things that happen during birth is that you are naked. Well, taking my car was the first item towards my naked-ing by God, the giver of life.
Back to losing my house, my best friends helped me sell everything in my house, and believe it or not, all the money from the sale paid all my bills, READ IT AGAIN PLEASE….ALL MY BILLS TO THE LAST PENNY!!!. And I had not a penny left at all. Nothing.
There went one more article of clothing off towards nakedness.
February 16, a Monday, was the date of the foreclosure. On Friday 13th, all that was left to sell in my house was a very snazzy pool table and a gent came to see it about 9 pm that night. He came in and close behind there was a second gent and both came in. I went to the basement with the first guy and the second just wondered about and that was freaky. He stayed about the same area but not together with the first guy.
So the first guy asked my how much for my pool table and I said: “$420,000 and you get a free house with it”. After his shock, we both laughed heartily. I corrected the figure… so he said he’d let me know and I said that he had 2 days only to decide.
The other gent was standing about 30 ft from us and when I turned towards him since he was not looking at the pool table, he approached me and said almost in a whisper: “I’ll take that deal” and I did not know what he was referring to…. So he reiterated that he’ll take the pool table for the $ 420,000 with the free house!!!!!
It was my turn to be shocked. He went on to insist that I sell him that pool table with the free house that night!!! It was now about close to 10 pm! So I said that I promised I would not sell it to anyone else during the night and to come back next morning. There began the saga… with great anguish he left to go get his realtor to come back that night to buy that house! About 10:30pm his realtor called sleepily asking if I could wait until morning to sell the house to this guy and to no one else during the night. That was so funny, so funny. I told him to come about 9 am because I go to Mass every morning. Well, when I got back from Mass, they were both there waiting for me. The house sold the next day, the day before the foreclosure. My pool table with the free house sold on Sunday February 15th for the amount I owed on it…. .
That Sunday night I was beginning to feel very uneasy. From the loss of my car of Christmas Eve day until that day I had been riding a high that I could not describe. I was floating. I was so joyful and for brief moments I would I would take in that all my friends were sobbing over my misfortune. They all were crushed at what was happening to me. Some that I thought were only acquaintances showed up at my door and amid sobs would be offering to help somehow. I ponder those moments still today.
But I was almost oblivious to their pain…. I was riding so high; I was so happy, totally unaware of the real significance of my tragedy. I was caught up in the many funny incidents. For example, all the checks cleared, 100% all the checks cleared except the one for the water bed, that one bounced ………. I had been in a civil marriage for 20 yrs.
That was my first clue that all this was a God thing.
That night, Sunday, after all were gone, the only things left in the house were about 10 holy statues from life size to 3 ft. tall, and a carryon size suitcase with some summer clothes, and a bag with my art supplies.
I knelt before the most beautiful life size statue of the Sacred Heart and I began to pray. As my anguish grew I got louder and louder then I began to cry, louder and louder as I began to size up my situation. I began to scream at Jesus, pounding on the floor, demanding He tell me what to do. I asked if I am to serve Him, I did not care where or how, if He wanted me in the streets, FINE!!! to the street I will go!! But if He had made me an artist, how could I glorify Him sitting under a bridge, roaming the streets penniless but with a bag of art supplies. I pounded the floor screaming over and over to tell me what to do!!!.
Then the phone rang.
I wiped my nose and answered. It was Sr Superior of the Missionaries of Charity, asking me if I wanted to go to Mexico.
She did not wait for my answer, she said to be ready and they would be coming to get me in the morning so I could stay at the convent for a few days until the date of the flight……..”click”…..
I hung up slowly….. and looked up at Jesus puzzled….. I asked why could He not arraign to send me to Venezuela…. I have family there……
That’s how I ended up living in Mexico for those who read the stories of my time there.