Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Day I Walked On Water

A few years ago, around 2009, I had been taking walks early in the morning. I had this beautiful route I would take, very park like, though no parks were there. It took me around block, but not a square or rectangular block but a twisty, hilly road that had this beauty about it.

Anyway, the whole route if I took it once, including the walk to and from this section from my house, would be about a mile. If I took this loop three times and then back home, it would be about two miles.

I would do this every morning around 4:30 AM. I noticed that if I took the walk ten minutes later, I would see more cars, but if I took it exactly at 4:35, I may see no cars. How can I see many cars in a walk that took me at least 45 minutes where five minutes later I would see cars? Because of where I would be walking in the next five minutes. The cars are coming from where I was or will be if I didn't time it right.

That put me in a unique position in that it was mostly dark, before most people got up, and since I walked it enough, I knew about when the community began to move about. Something like a thief who studies an area before robbing it. They get a sense of how the people come and go and work around it.

That gave me an opportunity to walk the route naked for most of it. If I hear a car coming, I slip my shorts back on.

During this walk, I had wonderful talks (and frustrating "discussions") with God. We call them prayers, but for some reason, we feel prayers are too formal and had to be done a certain way. But I did talk to God. Sometimes I just listened. Sometimes my mind wandered off or got too focused on worrying about getting caught walking naked. If I got too worried, I simply put my shorts back on so I can focus on talking to God.

Until this one fateful morning.

I was in my kitchen, had my shirt, shorts and sandals on, ready to take my walk. Suddenly I had this powerful feeling, not premeditated or thought through. It happened to me. I pulled off my shirt rather quickly and then my sandals, then suddenly, as if in disgust, I quickly and without hesitation, pulled off my shorts and threw them on the floor. Not folded them or placed them gently or even dropped them. Threw them as a sort of good riddance, I don't need or want you!!

Why? I have no idea, but I was naked, and started to walk out the side door to the front yard. It felt good. It felt right! I was walking, not feeling my self doing the walking but as if someone or something was holding me by my back and encouraging me to go forward. I was compelled, led, encouraged, as if someone was walking with me with their arm around my waist and pulling me forward. It was the most strangest feeling, especially knowing I was totally naked, no shoes, nothing. (Of course, I didn't feel any physical touching, but it was as strong a feeling as if someone was). Again, it felt good and it felt right!

I took that walk and went around that loop at least twice (I do not remember if I took it three times or not) and returned home as if I felt the words, "OK, that is enough for now, go home".

Wow, what an experience. What a revelation, a feeling I will never forget. And what is amazing is that there were times when I felt "no, this is not the time to be naked" and sure enough, there will be cars coming through. Not that day though. And many times after that, I had taken fully naked walks, sometimes the full three times around the circle, and back home naked, carrying nothing with me "just in case". The road was rough when I went barefoot as well. I have nearly gotten caught, but so far, as many times as I have walked it, I have never been caught.

I am not at that neighborhood now, I am in another state, and so far, never had the feeling of going naked here. I have not felt that impulse, drive, encouragement, to be naked outdoors, though I do want to be very much. It's just that for now, "It is not the time or place". Why was that the time and place? Was it a training ground for me and the time is to go somewhere else? Was God telling me something? Was God testing me? Was it a blessing? (I thought so, I thanked God over and over, praising and thanking God while walking naked through our neighborhood).

I hope one day that I can do that again. But even Jesus walked on water only once.

But that reminds me of another similar story.

I was at a church I attended for at eighteen years or so, and our church was going through some major changes theologically and our pastor, who was newly ordained, needed our support. I was at a Promise Keepers convention in Charlotte, NC and heard many sermons, and speeches. But one caught my attention. A Prayer ministry for our church.

When I got home, I immediately started that ministry. I started by myself by getting up throughout our services, starting with a prayer while the worship leading was starting, in a back room. I would listen through the door what is being said, who was speaking, and I would pray as the services was moving forward. I would hear key words by the pastor and pray about it. I would be on my knees or walking back and forth, laying my hands on the door or wall towards the people, and pray. I did this many weeks until someone found out and wanted to join me. This went on for about five years with about five people with me over the years until our pastor decided it was enough.

Now one unique thing about this was that I was in the room by myself (this was a tag team in that when one finished, the other will take over, so no body would miss the whole service) and was in a position where at times, I would pray naked. Yes, I prayed naked at church! Privately of course and with the door locked.

But one day, I was in the back praying, well, tried to anyway. It was as if something or someone was blocking me. And my hands kept going for my clothing as if it was saying, "Get them off, NOW!"

I prayed even harder feeling a tinge of guilt for letting my desire for nudity get in the way of my prayers. Nothing worked. I paced back and forth, kept praying, but was going no where. I have no idea why that happened. It was annoying, I was trying to pray, nothing was coming out, I was distracted, and I had to do something. Finally, I kicked off my shoes, then suddenly, my clothes were flying off. I was naked and suddenly started to pray like I have not prayed in a long time. I kept praying and praying. I kept talking to God, words for our church, pastor, everything was coming out clearly and easily. As if someone else was praying instead of me. Where I couldn't get a word out without struggle, this was coming out as plain and easily and naturally as one breathing.

Why that happened, I don't know. What was the outcome? I may never know. I just know those two times, walking early in the morning and praying at church, I was compelled, not just felt the desire, but the absolute need and the urgency to take off the clothing, quickly, now, and move forward.

It was only a few months later that our prayer ministry ended by request of our pastor. (Ministries do have their life span and are no longer needed)

I hope one day that this free feeling that opened me up to God in this particular way would come again like this. Maybe it is not necessary or maybe God is about to lead me to another place and time for this experience. I just pray that when God is ready, I am ready and willing.

And just as Jesus, in his humanity, trusted God to walk on water, I, in my humanity, trust in Jesus to walk naked and barefoot (ground permitting) and preach the gospel.