THE SPIRIT MOVES AGAIN
My life was an amazing swirl of new people and activity. Just three months earlier I was almost down and out again with my mental, emotional, and spiritual back to the wall when Kenny rolled up at my door on his motorcycle and invited me to join him and his friends who he said were having a ball every day; providence, the spirit, was moving in my life again.
After three months of decompressing from four years of intense self-condemnation and self-inflicted emotional beatings, a powerful desire and determination to re-establish myself respect was beginning to surge and push me to do something. At the same time, I had also received a crash course on reassessing my personal value system. I had moved from blaming myself for everything to a place where I understood that I needed to take care of myself. I moved from a place of believing that I was totally at fault, to seeing how I had allowed myself to be used by a system that just wanted me to do what was good for it and not even consider what I might want. (Looking back today I know that football gave me a lot of opportunities, but it also stifled me in so many ways.) This new understanding had been growing in me for years but until I spent three months with all these very unusual people with this radical view of putting myself ahead of the system, I was living in a hell of failure. I was pulling a whole new world view together. I had a great start now on finding out who and what I actually was; I had no desire to be the acclaimed ex-football player anymore, I wanted to look inside myself and see who I actually was.
A transformation of someone’s psyche takes a lot of time and I had only been at it a few years. There was no school of self-transformation for me to get a degree from I was strictly in the school of hard and blind knocks and these past four years had been a real bitch.
Well, as wonderful as my life around the Pastime had been I had arrived at a place of decision; what was I going to do now, I couldn’t stay here forever. As much as I had enjoyed this laid back life I still had that hard driving nature that was pushing inside for a decision, some action. I wanted to be what I was supposed to be. Everything I’d learned on my new path had been exhilarating but had actually left me confused as to exactly what to do.
At that time I knew nothing of how to pray although I was a total believer in God, so I would just get somewhere alone and mull over my thoughts. Finally, one morning just two days before my fateful meeting with Connie in the Pastime the answer came to me very clearly: God would lead me to what I was supposed to do now but I needed to get away by myself with God for him to show me the answer. I would sell or give away everything I owned, get out on the road and hitch hike west where ever it took me and I would find my answer. I had to get away from everyone and everything I knew; I had to get to the place where it was just me, the world and God and I was ready to totally disappear if it came down to that.
The night of mine and Connie’s first meeting, just three days after I had made this far out decision, I explained it to her. I was amazed when she said she agreed and admired my courage; I expected a much different response. I gave myself a week to get ready. I sold the car Keith had given me and took him the money along with great thanks for all his help and the whole explanation for what I was doing. It sounded ridicules even to me in the cold light of day; however, he didn’t come down on me but he didn’t agree with me either.
Early on April the second Connie drove me out to state road 20, pulled off on the side of the road and cut the engine off. We held each other and I guess she like me held back on all the painful emotional things she might want to say. We had talked earlier and reaffirmed that we agreed that this was not a crazy thing to do if in a person’s heart they believed in it. So, we let our eyes do the rest of the talking. I had a white laundry bag of one change of clothes, some toiletries, and a small blanket. I had sixteen dollars in my pocket but mostly I clung to all the faith my mother had instilled in me over the years even though we never went to church. Connie drove away and I walked out to the road and stuck out my thumb when the first car came by.