Only one of the crew had been on tour before. He made it seem as if we were going to have the time of our life. I didn’t know about all that. I found my thoughts going over what had happened the last couple weeks. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I was looking for something to bring peace or rest to the turmoil and chaos going on inside of me. Like a racing locomotive, my mind sped on. I was so glad when the car overheated. I needed to take a walk and get some air.
When I was away from the others I could let down my mask. Soon the tears came. Hopelessness and turmoil overtook me, and before I knew it, I was deep in the woods, far from my friends.
I found myself by a small lake. The early light of morning was just beginning to show on the horizon. I stood there and watched. The water was as still as glass… clear… reflecting the landscape all around. The mist floated upward, like graceful dancers celebrating the dawn. The birds sang their majestic songs, each calling out, others answering. Each in their own language, yet all part of the greater symphony. I marveled at the awesome beauty of creation as the sun came up, soaking it all in like a man dying of thirst.
The beauty and peace of what I was watching overwhelmed the turmoil inside my soul. What I was seeing had touched that place deep inside of me, that place of awe. Like what you experienced the first time you looked up and saw all the stars in the night sky and first considered the universe. Or standing by the ocean, looking out at all that water, and the waves crashing into the shore. Or like the bright promise of a rainbow after a thunderstorm.
Then the tears really started to come. Why couldn’t I have the peace inside of me that I saw all around me? Why was I so messed up? I remember the thought coming to me that I had compromised all the instincts and morals that were so dear to me.
Okay, so maybe I should get off this path and choose a new one. Maybe I should get a good job, settle down with someone, have children. Then what? I’m still going to die, somehow, some way. No matter what I did in life, one day I would have to face that big black hole we call death. The great unknown. What was it anyway? Was there something after it? Did we join that big energy and then return for a second round, third, tenth, hundredth? Was there a big UFO waiting for us? Do we slip into that never, never land where all the elves and fairies live, a land with magic, where we could be what we really wanted to be?
When I got to be 60, no 50, no 40, would I look back at life and say that I had lived the life I wanted to live… the life I was supposed to live? Or was I going to grow up and end up just like my parents, or those I saw around me?
The more the questions came, the more the turmoil inside built up. Who was going to answer these questions of mine? Who could I trust my whole life to that wasn’t going to use me or make a fool of me?
It was then, I guess, that I started to ask if God was real. Not just to myself, but out loud, just as if I was asking God himself. That’s when the dam broke and I started to let it all out. If he was real, why didn’t he speak to me like all the stories I heard about growing up. Why didn’t he do miracles he once did? “Where are you if you are real?” There was so much I let out.
I told him that if he was real, I needed him to show me so that I could believe. If he could just show me, I would give myself to following him. I didn’t really know what I was asking for, maybe a voice from heaven, a burning bush, a UFO mother ship, I don’t know. “Please God, just show me something that will let me know you’re real!”
I felt different then. I was no longer in turmoil but instead had a sense of anticipation. I was actually waiting for the God of creation to communicate to me. If there was a God who was the source of what I had just witnessed, then surely he would hear my plea. If not, then I was lost, in the world, without hope until the day that great, unknown happening called death got me.
We went on from there to a show in Rosemont, Illinois. My friends and I separate… searching for whatever was on our hearts. I can’t say I had the experience my friend had promised.
The next morning, after the show, I felt a need to still keep searching, as if maybe I had missed seeing something in the scene, or maybe it had just been a bad trip. Whatever the case, I felt compelled to keep searching. I hadn’t gotten the answers to my questions, and I wasn’t satisfied.
My friend and I hit the road again. We were like two kids, trying to make sense out of life and experience it rather than being in bondage to the grind. Who could fault us? We just wanted to be real, and let it all out.
Our next stop was a show in Cleveland. My friend took off to do business, and I, to look for God. I spent the next seven hours back in the woods, walking, talking, crying, shouting, the whole time waiting to hear. I still sensed the peace of creation all around me, but no voice from heaven, no burning bush, no bright light from above, no spaceship, no little gnomes or elves. The trees were great, but they didn’t talk back.
I started to have serious doubts that I was going to get what I was looking for. I headed back to the lot because the show was going to start soon and I had to find my friend. The closer I got to the Coliseum, the harder my heart started to become. The hope of an answer was fading fast as the reality of life, and my circumstances became my focus. If there was no God, then I wasn’t going to care anymore. I had to look out for number one, no one else was.
Trying to find my friend was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Reality was flooding back, and it seemed so much colder now. I couldn’t waste any more time searching after a mythical being. I had to deal with real life, and god wasn’t real. The only thing I thought about at that time was that I was lost in this crowd looking for my friend…
At first I thought the bus was one of the hippie family buses that my friend had told me about. There were a couple of bearded men with ponytails who were wearing sandals. One of them was helping someone with what looked like a cut in his foot. The other came over and said hi. I was still a little out of it, so he asked me if I was lost. I was a little shocked, because I had just been thinking about my situation and how lost I was. I told him yes. Then he shocked me again by looking me right in the eyes and saying, “Physically or spiritually?” Looking in his eyes, I told him the truth. “Both, I guess.” He invited me on the bus, asking me if I knew who they were. I didn’t.
As we got to talking, I asked about the bus and what they were all about? He then gave me what he called a freepaper, and said he and his friends had written it, and it would answer many of my questions. I took it and started to read it. I made it about three paragraphs into the first article, and suddenly I became scared. The things I was reading were the very things I had been thinking about and praying about in the woods that day. I looked up, and I think he saw what was going on inside of me. He began to explain about the people he was a part of, and how they lived a common life, following the teachings of Yahshua. So, of course, I said, “Who?”
He invited me back to visit him and his family on their farm in Vermont. I didn’t really believe he meant it, but then he said again I was welcome.
It was then I started to consider that maybe all that I had been through was to bring me to this point. I had almost given up searching, but meeting those special people and seeing the way they took care of me and other complete strangers, I wanted to find out more. If this was where God was, then I wanted to know. I wasn’t leaving for anything until I got answers to my questions.
I accepted his offer and traveled with them for a couple of days before we went north to Vermont. It was there I saw the life that these people shared and had told me about. It was there that I saw men and women, children and parents, people of different races living at peace and in unity with one another. I saw real people just like me, actually loving one another on a day-to-day basis. I knew deep down what I was seeing was the way people were supposed to be and treat one another. It became clear to me that the only thing hindering me from having the peace that they had was my own selfishness.
It was here that I found the peace I was looking for.
It is here that I found love.
It is here in His people that the voice of God spoke to my heart.
God still works miracles!