A death, a divorce, a lawsuit, a staff mutiny, and yet another death. It was nearly too much, until he found the answer.
When I list out the occurrences in my life that led to this title and article I know they could be read as almost unbelievable. And the challenges, as they unfolded, certainly seemed insurmountable to me; only a handful are included here. Each person has a story, our life song; they make us who we are and for all of us, they include hardships, silver linings and defining moments. It was a particular moment in time that served to redefine me and which probably saved my life, allowing me to see the beauty and the meaning in the choosing of the title of this article. Although I do not practice any religion, I have a strong belief in God. In the past I have recited the phrase “God come and take me!” to myself many times, but now it echoes within me for a different reason.
Several years ago, my now ex-wife and I visited Australia to investigate the idea of relocating our family to the land Down Under. The continent was beautiful and the sights quite stunning, but the trip was marred by our ‘civil unrest’ as we fought and bickered for the duration of the trip. Returning to the peace of our home was welcome relief. Back to our jobs, the gym, friends, and the children, all of which we could use as convenient distractions and avoidance techniques to dodge having to deal with our issues.
That distorted sense of peace was short-lived as four weeks later my dad had a stroke, right before Christmas, and my mom needed help tending to his care. Three short weeks after dad’s stroke, a civil action (unrelated to marriage) was brought against me. Legal meetings and court proceedings started to take up any spare time not already assigned for helping out with dad, mom, my occupation, my wife and my children. There was very little time left for me.
Here was the first occasion where I jokingly said to myself “God come and take me.” It surely couldn’t get worse.
Two weeks after the civil action began, the staff at the office staged a revolt, and were all threatening to quit for various reasons. Matters continued to escalate, the court action was in full swing, my staff remained disgruntled, and then my mom became ill and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She died shortly thereafter.
I said it to myself with more meaning now and no longer joking: “God come and take me.” That’s more than three things, I thought; this has to be over, it can’t get any worse. But it did, again.
More litigation, more legal proceedings. Then my staff, who I thought were back on board with me, all suddenly quit within one month of mom dying. There were no back-up staff members to help manage my business. Chaos ensued. I stopped saying that it can’t get any worse, clearly the Universe felt tempted to prove me wrong.
I laid down in apathy and resignation. “Please God, come and take me.”
My wife and I then started formalizing our separation.
“Please…now. I’m done.”
I wallowed in self-pity and talked extensively with God over this twelve month time period as things just kept piling up, one after the other. Why? How? When? Why do I need to suffer through this? What the hell did I do to deserve this? Why me? Why now? I despised myself in the classic victim mentality. Still, I kept asking. Buried my head and kept soldiering on, engaged in some self work but all in all I didn’t do much to help myself manage the situation to the best of my ability. I kept thinking it would all just go away, that it couldn’t get worse… but it did. I thought about helping God take me. But I didn’t. Something else happened instead.
One morning I woke up. It is hard to describe how this all came about but it was as if a light was shining on me, or perhaps from me. Suddenly everything was crystal clear, although in my frame of mind at the time I assumed that this was the sign and the clarity I needed for God to take me. Then, as I felt and scanned my body, a deep peace wove its way inside me, and I discovered that this was not a leaving but something else. I thought about my mom who had died, and had a flashback to the moment where my brother had told me on the phone that she had passed. The memory of me sinking to my knees as I hung up the phone, and the stillness of that moment came to my awareness. I remembered that when I dropped to my knees, in gratitude for her life and living, my mom came to me. Incredible as it may seem, she came to me in spirit…swooshed up into my face as an energy, a deep, calm and powerful energy to say in my head:
“Stand up, tall, spine straight, head up and face the future no matter what it brings. It is up to you now.”
It is up to YOU now.
When I think about the clarity I experienced on that morning when I woke up, when the light shone, I realize that I woke up both literally and figuratively. I woke up to find that God had indeed come to get me, and He took me. I had received what I asked for from God. I felt so profoundly aware, aware that he had taken me in his hands and placed me inside his heart.
At that moment I think I could have been fearful, but in the end all I felt was love. I cried. Not tears of sorrow, or fear, or of loss but tears of love, gratitude and inspiration. I came to realize then that instead of all those things that had happened TO me, being a detriment to my life, that they had actually happened FOR me, in my highest good. I knew what I could do and what I wanted to do for my future. These events needed to happen, to shape me, to place me in the best possible position to stand up and be the most authentic, most loving, most inspired man I can be, for myself, others, and for my children. It really, truly was up to me. I work on it every day.
I am one of the lucky ones. I was fortunate to have clarity at the right moment, to acknowledge the signs and pointers, and to work with it all to take action; to move past and out of the depths of despair, dissolution and depression into which I had unwittingly plunged. Some men are less fortunate, and they help God by taking themselves out by their own hand. That is not the solution.
Yes, God has let me stumble and fail. He has given me a triumph or two, and ever more fails and stumbles – all of which I have earned – and He’s given many more opportunities to stand up again. The struggle is necessary. God knows that. Necessary to make us more in line with our truth, more in tune with our heart and soul, and more in love with who we are and what we offer the world.
In all of this, I have celebrated the triumphs, discovered the beauty and blessings in my stumbles, in all of my perceived hardships and failings. That too I work on every day. They have enabled me to discover my inspiration, to grow, create and inspire more going forward.
“All things are possible. You were not born into this world to suffer.” ~ Oz
That morning when I awoke, it was to the light, my light, and I was moved in many ways. For me, at that exact moment, I was moved from a state of despair to one of love and gratitude. I would venture to say that my heart was opened and my inside light was lit once again. I am thankful for the light and I am grateful that God came and took me into his hands and placed me in his heart… inside the heart of God.