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The Gift Of Discernment

discernment                                           The Most Discerning Man I Know  :)

I created some confusion in my last blog. I said that I was “afraid” of people and that was misleading.  It was a bad word choice.  I’m actually quite good with people. Many friends and acquaintances would attest to that. As revealing an exercise as writing is, it is important to note and respect its unique power and unique danger especially with words inadvertently penned.

A better phrase would have been, “I am overwhelmed and exhausted in the presence of many spirits.”

Let me explain.

I was raised in a poor family with six brothers and sisters.  One of whom was mentally handicapped. Please don’t query me on my politically incorrect word usage for mental retardation.  We’ve lived through several of the world’s changing phrases my brother Len and I. Mentally retarded, mentally handicapped, mentally disabled, mentally challenged, intellectually disabled, to name a few. Whatever phrase you want to use, it will mean something different to you than it will to me.  For you, it’s the latest, greatest, most accepted, and most sensitive LABEL. For me- he’s my brother and I love him no matter what label you put on him.

My brother Len was a year younger than me.  That made him my shadow. That made him my charge. It also meant that every insult hurled his way hit me first- full on. It wasn’t enough that we tumbled out of the Rocky Mountains, dirty little waifs, shoddy in second hand clothing, and the brunt of every joke that cruel and unenlightened children contemptuously slathered upon us.  Here, too, was an oddly moving and speaking character whose abundant “difference” incurred wrath from other children and one heartless family member as well.

Some say that I have the gift of discernment. And I do. It is of the heightened variety. It is not on its practice run, nor in its rudimentary stages. It is developed. Keenly.

But I have often wondered- at what stage does God give out the gifts? Is it at birth? Is it when He decides we need them the most? Or are they developed over time?

For many years I did not realize- was not aware- that I had the gift of discernment. I thought everybody could do what I do: read people’s hearts based on spirit lurches that were plainly visible to me.  It wasn’t until around the age of forty that it became apparent to me that other people did not all share in this experience of knowing- or that I did indeed carry in my spirit the gift of discernment.

Looking back now I see this gifting probably as a kindness and a stabilizer from the Lord. A protection and a guide that would lift me above the chaos that would ensue. I was always on high alert. I never knew what  special form of misery was going to present itself with each new school day.

Back then, mentally handicapped individuals were integrated into the regular classrooms without special assistance or attendants. Len was a sitting duck for ridicule. I learned to see them coming. At first I bought their phony kindness hook, line, and sinker. You know, that sweet manipulation of our emotions just before they went in for the kill.  Where a friend at last turned out to be the meanest bully of them all.  So this is where my gift of discernment was developed. Or this is where it was given to me, there, when I needed it the most. I learned to discern every little body flinch. I deciphered the layers beneath their words. I dissected intent. And I did it all in a flash. In a split second. I absorbed it all. And that is how I lived my entire life.  I did it unconsciously.  I did it with grace. With giggles. In shyness. In movements, mannerisms, and conversations. “To survive it you play deaf and dumb.” (a brilliant quote from the man pictured at the head of this blog).  I have the gift of discernment and it is strong.

And this is why I say that” I am overwhelmed and exhausted in the presence of many spirits.”

My gift of discernment has morphed into a sophisticated and grown-up understanding of people.

Like you, I try to surround myself with people I trust. People who I know have my best interest at heart. People who are genuinely kind and easy going. I like hanging out in those crowds. A safe environment where my zanny, creative and audacious self can shine forth. And I do have these people in my life, pockets of them here and there. Oases in a desert. Sparkling water chugging down a parched throat.

But put me five minutes in a room with a mixed bag of people who may or may not fit into this category and I start to absorb. I may be carrying on a conversation, but consciously and unconsciously I pick up every little thing. I pick up motives. I pick up intentions. I pick up arrogance and agenda. I pick up pain and inadequacies.  I am especially sensitive to the odd man out- the least popular. I pick up hurts and loves.  I pick up goodness. And I am drawn toward it. I do not even have a name for everything that I pick up. But it sticks to me and I carry it around like a lead weight.

That’s why I retreat. That is why I go and try and work out all of this mess quietly, privately in song. “Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend.” – Ludwig van Beethoven

I’ll come back again after a day or two. And I may even be the life of the party for a while. Why?  Because I genuinely love people and desire relationship. It’s just an awful lot for me to absorb- that great big world out there, because I pay attention. Not by choice, but by design.

Chaos!

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I have been afraid of life.  Afraid of people. You have to understand. I have a crazy background. Some of you know the story first hand.  others have heard abbreviated accounts. But only my husband has felt the true weight of my tears, my joy, my triumph, the lessons learned, the wisdom gained from such a chaotic past.  He sees the good fruit, but he has also quietly listened to, and then prayed over, my confessions of fear.  Fears that become more evident with each passing day. For healing and maturity will not come without truly embracing what lives inside of us.

I can truly understand and relate to the words of Bob Dylan when he knowingly proclaimed, “I accept chaos, I’m not sure whether it accepts me.”  My sister June probably summed it up best when she asked, “WHY are you not in a mental hospital? How is it you are still standing?”  The answer to that question is, of course- Jesus.

And he has protected me. But in the past ten years I have padded that protection myself.  I have built walls.  I have also built my house.  Comfortable and beautiful.  A place for everything and everything in its place.  My days are carefully orchestrated and predictable.  I like it like that.  No surprises. No inconveniences. No chaos- no mayhem. No……….Ministry.

Ministry, as it turns out, is messy. Ministry involves people. People have, and bring, mess. I, for one, do not need any more mess in my life.

I recently made a trip to Panama City, Florida.  It was a forced trip out of necessity. I was scouting out the land. We used to live there eight years ago on that beautiful Florida coast. We have friends and family there.  We have roots. Recently we moved to Texas and have been living here a few years now.  But sadly, some of our basic needs are not being met here, namely:

Gardening: I am a grower. I have to feel my hands in the soil. The need to grow my own food is as innate as my need to walk. As it turns out, we live in the deer capital of the United States.  We have about a dozen deer in our yard every day. They eat everything.  Everything I plant is gone within a week. I can barely accept that I will not be able to grow my own food- but my narcissus? Come on now! I bought the bulbs expressly labeled, “Deer Resistant.” As it turns out the deer in our neighborhood are profoundly ignorant, for not only do they eat everything in their path, they also, clearly, cannot read!.  Now perhaps, with thousands of dollars, we could put up a seven foot fence around the back yard to protect the produce, but I am not also going to try and enclose my entire front yard to protect all of my pretty flowers.  And life without narcissi is no life at all.

Water: We live around several lakes. Perfect, right? It would be, I suppose, if one lived on the water. For everyone else there is no lake access.  None within walking distance.  No decent place to swim. You can, indeed, drive twenty or thirty miles and find a rocky shoreline, or pay to get into a state park….sigh.  I am Canadian. Public access into any body of water is a given. Our tax dollars pay for luxurious outdoor locations free for all. Not so, here, in the land of the free.

Music: If gardening is as innate as my need to walk, then music is as innate as my need to breathe. And it just aint happening here. For the sake of brevity, I will not go into detail about why that is. But trust me, it just aint happening.

Culture: My husband is a beautiful African American and let’s just say he has certain…ummm….African American needs. I can’t explain that to you if you aren’t black. I would have never known myself, except that I am so closely knit to him. He has needs- and they aren’t presenting where we live.  He’s good about it, though.  Tim can get along with anyone. He’s lived all over the world and speaks three languages. He assimilates well- even with white folks. So much so that you will have to do a double take and re-examine his skin color to ascertain if it hasn’t possibly faded to white after all. But he isn’t white. And though extremely patient and giving in his marriage to a white girl, that is not his color.  He is African American with African American needs.  Namely a taste, at least every now and then, of his African American culture.

And so I took a trip. A fourteen hour both ways journey by myself to Panama City, FL. I admit, every single reason why I went to Florida was selfish. I went to re-asses the land where we began, to see if it could provide the things that are so desperately void in our present existence.

And, indeed, in Panama City, the gardens are not overrun with deer and there are no need for fences. There is public beach access everywhere.  I already have several venues set up to play music in and there is an abundance of African American people and culture.

But in the last three places we have lived in the last ten years, I have worked tirelessly and quite successfully at keeping mess and chaos far from me. I have indeed been safe. I have been comfortable.  WE have become extremely comfortable.  Every need we have has been met. But I have also become very sad on the inside. Lonely. And lost.  How can it be that I have perfected my life to such a degree, but it does not bring fulfillment or contentment?

I have to say that everywhere I looked in Panama City, FL there was mess. Even the most organized, perfected, and together individuals will encounter chaos in this beach town as soon as they step outside their door. Every kind of people are drawn to the beach- to the ocean. There is a kind of variety that is akin to what I experienced on the streets of Manhattan.  It is that vast. It is that engaging.

To live on the Florida coast is to engage. To live on the Florida coast and have Jesus in your heart, is to minister. To live on the Florida coast is chaos. To live on the Florida coast, for me, is learning to love again. To throw myself out there into the arms of those in need. I have good reflexes. They are always tested there. No more predictability.  No more fine orchestration. No more comfortability.  A life interrupted. A messy life. But to quote Mr. Dylan yet again: “He not busy being born is busy dying.” And to quote the wisest man who ever lived,”I have set before you life and death…. therefore choose life.” Ecclesiastes 7:12

Am I strong enough to engage in life once again? Is Tim strong enough? I doubt him far less than I doubt me. Are we ready?  Today we have both said “Yes” and offer our lives up in prayer. Lord Jesus bring what may.  Be our strength and our stay.

Wild Flowers!

Women- started off as little girls. butterfly

Who played with the boys
sometimes in the mud.
And tramped through the forest in their back yards
and built forts by the stream.
And rode on stallions with the best of them.
Defending the kingdom and rescuing prisoners
From the evil lords.

Yes, all women started off as little girls.

I have a heart for women. I have a heart for North American women aged 20 through 90. There is a collective, continental cry that is so profound in its sorrow, it becomes inaudible, and is scarcely heard at all. And yet this cry is so cumulative, so united, and so thorough in its sweeping of this demographic that I’m surprised at the oppression of its sound.
I think the silence is due to the women themselves. I don’t think women are even aware of one of their deepest needs. One of the North American woman’s deepest needs is to be wild like a flower. And for me, it is the most delightful thing on the planet to see a woman who has allowed herself to become a Wild Flower.

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We have a history. It begins around age twenty. We learn very quickly to leave the outdoors behind. We must forget about alcoves under aspen trees, picking our way across rocks in the stream, and leisurely reading books in the grass. We simply cannot drop everything and run out to build forts with the boys anymore. We have babies to hold, and change, and feed. We have meals to cook, and houses to clean. And at the end of the day when exhaustion sets in, we have sex to be delivered on demand like a vending machine. What we once enjoyed now becomes a chore when it is not coupled with conversation, compassion, camaraderie, and help in the kitchen.
The “boys” are still out hunting, riding motorcycles, monster trucking, poker playing, hiking, and diving into swimming holes. Insult is added to injury when our children complain that we are not any fun at all, and that with Daddy is the preferred place to be, while we are left at home with mounds of laundry still to finish.

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And what do women do? We stop looking for adventure. We replace our deepest need with shopping sprees, girls nights out, jewelry, the finest furniture our money can buy, the nicest car in the neighborhood, a rich husband, status in the community, our children’s apparent success, the fancy dishes that we serve, and our pretty clothes. And yet we are empty inside and we don’t know why. When really all we needed was one good sturdy bike and the courage to use it.
The courage to ride it every day to the market and buy fresh vegetables. The courage to plop it down by the river with our baby in his pack on our back, and our book to read. The courage to sink our toes in the grass. The courage to leave the dishes in the sink and not worry what the other women might think. The courage to dig our own gardens and sow our own seed. The courage to take a road trip with our friends and babies in tow. The courage to scale any mountain at any time of year. The courage to wear hippie clothes and build fires on the beach. The courage to visit the coffee shop daily and visit with the old timers in town. The courage to lie in a meadow with butterflies floating all around. The courage to be intentional about getting out in nature every single day, so that we DO NOT LOSE OUR CENTER. You can point to a thousand things that center us- meditation, prayer, reading good material, etc, but all of these lose their greatest potential for the greatest good when we fail to find time out in nature.

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You see, we were placed in the garden of Eden initially. We were not placed in a concrete sea. In fact cities were not anywhere to be found. That is not what God created for us. He created for us trees, and grass, and wind, and flowers, and animals, and rivers, and clouds, and sky instead. Why? Because He knows what is best for us. He knows where and how we will thrive.
And yet, we have come so far away. So far away from what we were created to be. We are children of the earth… and we are wandering around in shopping malls. We are lost. We are sad.
Before the industrial revolution Mommies and Daddies stayed on the farms and worked the land as a family unit. Babies were on backs, children were dropping corn into the rows, Mama was hauling water from the creek, and Papa was holding the reins on the plow horse. Everyone was in stellar shape and soaking up the sun. Then the factories took Daddies away, and eventually even the Mommies too. And Mommy traded her life in nature for a life indoors in a grand house, with a grand scheme to make her grand house even grander, and without even noticing it she became a slave to this endeavor, and very sad on the inside.
And so the cry. The silent cry. A cry strong enough to change white fluffy clouds into grey. And all across the nation I hear this cry every day.

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So I have started the ministry Wild Flowers. I want to reach out to women and offer them fun outdoor things to do together. I want to offer outdoor church on the beach for those who are interested (Once we relocate. Ask me privately where we are going and why we have chosen this spot if you like). I want to rescue young Moms especially who look like they need a little good, clean adventure in their lives. I’m interested in older lonely women who need a bigger purpose in their lives. For all who would appreciate daily hikes, bike rides, lifestyle changes, encouragement, and camaraderie in our quest to come alive again and to become comfortable in the outdoors often, with the wind on our face. And kudos to all of the courageous women out there who are already Wild Flowers and don’t need my encouragement at all. How you have inspired me!!
There is so much more to say, this is just the beginning!
Like how about becoming the catalyst for a Wild Flowers group in your area?

There is so much more to say AND DO, this is just the beginning!

Come and join my Wild Flowers group on Facebook. It is a group for women who already are, or would like to become, Wild Flowers and the men who support this lifestlye.  Wild Flowers group on Facebook

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I’ve always been a fairly healthy eater, but have recently stepped it up another notch.  I view my good health like a staircase that I am always climbing higher and higher until I reach the top.  Why not? Lofty goals are good!

If you continue scrolling down you will see the way I eat in the form of a list.  It might just be something you’d like to try! (hint; it’s freakin awesome!)

There are a few reasons that I eat this way.

First is I have a philosophy that God is no dummy.  Novel concept, right?

I figure since He is the One who made these bodies we walk around in, then He probably knows what is best for them.

Foods in their natural state (the way God designed them, and intended them to be eaten) optimize and energize our bodies better than anything else we can put into them. It is like fuel for a car.  We know that when we use oils with impurities, our cars will run sluggish.  It is the same with our bodies.  When we depart from pure food (or what I like to call God designed food), then it is going to have an adverse effect on our health.   We all know this, but developing a natural diet is hard for many of us.

Secondly, I have eaten like this before. For a short while. And it was heaven.  There are no real words to describe it.  You just have to do it and then you will get it.  If you do it, please write to me or comment to this blog and try to describe how you feel for the rest of the folks out there.  After only a few weeks, I felt like i was seven again.  That is truly the best words that come to mind.  for I kept saying that over and over again to my husband. “I feel like I am seven years old again!!” Do you remember how you used to twirl around and around and never get dizzy? Do you remember when you had boundless energy and rosy cheeks? Do you remember how your brain functioned clear and pure in thought?  Sound like an exaggeration?  Of course it does, but it is not.  The pollution is out- even in your thoughts.  Your thoughts are kinder, happier, and  infinitely more patient.  You’ll find yourself wanting to tackle puzzles and brain teasers and cuddle with your dog.  I’m just saying…and you need to do yourself a huge favor and at least TRY IT for two weeks! For me, it feels like euphoria.  But the sad thing is that it is just natural.  Everyone has the right to feel like that every day.  But we have polluted and damaged our bodies so badly with foreign “food like” substances (i.e., processed foods) which aren’t really food at all and offer very little pure fuel value, that we are stunned beyond words when we begin to experience the exhilaration of a genuinely healthy body. TRY it!

I found this to be the case when I went on what is known as the Daniel Fast derived from the Bible in the book of Daniel:

Daniel 1: 8-16

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. 10 And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.”

11 So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us “pulse” to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” 14 So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.

15 And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and [more robust] in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. 16 Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them “pulse”.

So what is this miracle food, “pulse”? “Pulse”, in many of the Bible versions is loosely translated as “vegetables.” But “pulse” is really anything grown from seeds. That would include fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes.  Here is a great resource that helps flesh out a little more the origins of this fast:

http://www.planetpace.com/?daniel-diet-foods,45

But, because I have turned this into a “Lifestyle” of eating instead of a fast, I have made a few modifications to the diet that allows fish,  honey, herbal teas, and plain Greek yogurt. Here is my list:

Daniel Diet slightly modified to include, Fish, Honey, Plain Greek Yogurt, Tea & Herbal Teas

(“organic” food is always best because most foods are grown with too many pesticides these days)

This list is based on this resource: http://danielfast.wordpress.com/daniel-fast-food-list/

Permitted Foods:

All fruits.

These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Fruits include but are not limited to apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, watermelon

All vegetables.

These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Vegetables include but are not limited to artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger root, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, spinach, sprouts, squashes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, yams, zucchini, veggie burgers are an option if you are not allergic to soy.

All whole grains.

Including but not limited to whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, barley, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, rice cakes and popcorn.

All nuts and seeds.

Including but not limited to sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame. Also nut butters including peanut butter.

All legumes.

These can be canned or dried. Legumes include but are not limited to dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, white beans.

All quality oils

Including but not limited to olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.

Beverages:

spring water, distilled water or other pure waters, tea & herbal teas

Other:

tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs and spices.

Fish, Honey, Plain Greek Yogurt

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Foods to AVOID on the Daniel Fast:

All meat and animal products

Including but not limited to beef, lamb, pork, and poultry.

All dairy products

Including but not limited to milk, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs.

All sweeteners

Including but not limited to sugar, raw sugar, syrups, molasses, and cane juice.

All leavened bread

Including Ezekiel Bread (it contains yeast) and baked goods.

All refined and processed food products

Including but not limited to artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and foods that contain artificial preservatives.

All deep fried foods

Including but not limited to potato chips, French fries, corn chips.

All solid fats

Including shortening, margarine, lard and foods high in fat.

Beverages

Including but not limited to coffee, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.

Print it out, try it, and enjoy your new life in the Garden of Eden!  You CAN do it!

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Sabotage

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Sabotage
Is the name of the game
With a sickle and a blade
In the drizzling rain

Killing
Until dead is good and dead
And not one limb twitches
And there’s no more pain

If I have to stand here
A fortnight until the deed is done
And you look at me and hate me
Then my race will have been run

If I have fallen
From the maid you thought you knew
And all of my bright colors have turned to darker hues
Then remember me not, if it’s easier for you

As for me I’ve retired
To the prison where murderers they throw
But it’s better than the prison
Of watching you go

Hi! So glad to see you here.  You may sign up at the right hand panel to receive each new blog in your email.

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Here is one of my latest videos: Man Gave Names to all the Animals

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Letting Bob Dylan Go Home

dylan

I am a Dylan fan. Been enchanted by his brilliant marriage of melody and prose since the age of sixteen.  I liked the spirit of the songs. I am a vocalist and for me the heart of a song is in the vocal.

I have this uncanny ability. I know now that it is uncanny because until recently I thought it happened to everyone. It was a rude awakening to find that a) it did not, and b) people doubted this ability in me. I have the uncanny ability to hear souls when they sing. To hear souls in vocals. You can talk to me all day long, and though I may get the essence of who you are- for I also sense quite strongly your spiritual energy- I will not hear your soul. If you open up your voice to sing, however, your soul becomes crystal clear to me.

I used to think I was drawn to music for music’s sake. But I have come to realize that I listen because I am drawn to the spiritual aspect of it. While it is true that instrumentalists translate their souls through musical instruments, moving as that is, it is not as powerful as a musician who translates his soul via his vocals. I believe this is because the communication of the vocalist comes directly from within oneself, while the instrumentalists’ form of communication comes second hand. Once removed, so to speak, through his piano, guitar, or drum.

My ears pick up the spirit, the essence, the soul of the vocals. It’s a very powerful medium. Powerful enough for me to turn a technically brilliant tune off, if it is not pleasing to my heart or upsetting to my heart in any way.

That is probably the best way for me to describe it. I am sorry if t doesn’t resonate with you. Either you will believe it, or get it, or you won’t.

When I first heard Mr. Bob Dylan’s vocal, I was only a child, really. And with this gift of unique interpretation, child likeness was definitely an asset. For children see and hear things clearer and purer than adults. I may not have had the life experience to relate to everything he was singing about, but I did tend to have a keener spiritual intellectual ability.

And so I heard him. Plain as day I heard his soul. After one song I knew who he was.

Bob Dylan
• Is pure
• Longs for innocence, though does not always find it in himself
• Is a very old soul
• Is honest
• Is just

There is, of course, so much more to Bob Dylan. You and I could fill up pages of identifiers for Bob Dylan spanning from the intellectual to the artistic, the humorous to the sarcastic. But for some reason I am mostly drawn to people who appreciate his above-mentioned list of attributes. For I believe it is these things that most accurately describe who Robert Zimmerman really is.

So suffice it to say that I am in love with Bob Dylan. But you will probably forget that and everything else I just said when you hear what I am about to say next.

I think, today, that Bob is a little lost. Maybe Bob has always been a little lost (for haven’t we all)? But I think that he has always tried to work through that honestly. I think, even today, he is trying to work through it honestly. But we just aren’t hearing him. Let me state it as plainly as I can. I believe Bob has a broken heart. Bob is a regular soul, limping. You see, as much as Bob sees right through people and into their shortcomings, he also desperately loves people, longs for their approval, and yea, still hopes to find angels among the masses. Bob is a sensitive soul and has been profoundly hurt (the degree of your sensitivity dictates the profoundness of your pain). I get that. Bob has high standards. He expects and hopes for people’s motives to be pure, even if their actions fall short. He understands failure for he can see in himself that his actions don’t always line up with his ideals. But his desire is to always go at things with the right motive. How disappointing it is when he discovers that the motives of the ones he chose to love and trust weren’t near as lofty. I get this. In a sense Bob has had too much. He has been overwhelmed. He has given up.

If ever Bob needed a true friend, it is now. But instead, we are trying to make his wrongs into rights. We make excuses for bad behavior and words ill spoken. We have determined that our golden calf will not topple. But the pain of this world can turn even the most golden hearts bitter, and the most pliable hearts can become hardened. I am not saying there is no more goodness in Bobby. There is tons of goodness still there. But sometimes, even the best of us go a little wrong.

Maybe my assessment is behind the curve. Maybe he is coming out of it now. Maybe he is finding his way back to joy. Maybe satan’s grip is loosening, while God’s grip is tugging.

I don’t fault a man for doing what he loves. Even right up until his death. But don’t expect me to have a huge desire to go. It’s not an enjoyable experience for me to hear him sing. Because in the singing, I hear the soul.

Someday, somebody, somewhere has to get that there is more to Robert Zimmerman than music. There is more to Robert Zimmerman than poetry. There is more to Robert Zimmerman than Bob Dylan.

There is a corruption in fame that eats the souls of even the greatest men. “There’s a certain part of you that becomes addicted to a live audience.” (Bob Dylan 1997) is in direct contrast to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life…” in 1 Thes 4:11.

The girl from the Red River Shore was on the mark when “she gave me her best advice and she said go home and lead a quiet life.” Whether her character was made up or real, her love was true and deep, and in his heart Bob knew she was right. Songs pen themselves when led by the Holy Spirit and the genius of Bob is that he let the Spirit fully in.

There was a time when a small handful of us saw the goodness in Bob and the leading of the Holy Spirit in his life….and we prayed! We prayed God would reveal Himself to Bob and draw him unto Himself, for “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draws him…” John 6:4 And God heard our prayers and did that very thing, as was abundantly evidenced in his astonishing gospel songs!

Would it be too much, too un-cool, too anti-Bob Dylan-forum, too seemingly judgmental to ask you to pray again?

I silently pray for Bob that he may finally be able to let go of the bright lights and the accolades, and live a quiet life by the seashore. I pray that he is able to pour himself into someone who needs him to be there for them day in and day out. I pray for quiet days on a bench by that seashore where he can pour over scripture and meditate the profundities of nature. I pray Robert has opportunity to love silly, beautiful, flawed, and awkward Robert- just because that’s enough. Robert Zimmerman is enough.

Maybe those of us who love him need to give him permission to stop leading us? Maybe it is time for us to stop being selfish and let the man get old? Maybe we ought to let him go quietly to meet his God? Maybe it’s time for us to let him breathe without breathing down his neck? Maybe it is time for Bob to have a really good, long, cry and to pour out his heart to the skies without anyone else around? And maybe it really is time for the skies and his God to be enough. A big enough audience. A big enough healing.

I love you Bob. I’ll love you until I die. But as much as I love you, I’m willing to let you go….

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