Yesterday, day 3 on my juice fast, and it started well. Bible verses were going down like fine wine. Prayer was not one-sided. It was a Saturday so I could spend my whole fasting day in solitude, not forced to tune the Spirit in and out between tasks. I had, staring at the wall time, sitting and just listening time, or reading a verse, sit back and think about what I just read time. I planned nothing. My to do list was empty.
Around noon, I decided to go on a journey. I made a bunch of juice and drove back in time, to the towns I used to live. I think I did this because I was trying to understand unanswered questions about my past. The first place was a lonely, abandoned railway track that ran through a thickly wooded area just outside a small country town I used to live in. This was a quiet place that provided me years of wilderness where I could walk, fast and pray. All my favorite trees where still there just as I remembered. No hint of city hum invaded this place, only the sound of wind in the trees. Instead praying in whispers, I could talk aloud to God with no fear of being overheard. I sang and ran a little and raised my hands above my head. A grown child with his Father.
Afterward, I drove to a conservation area outside another town I lived. I sat in my car warming up to go for a walk in the wind and cold. The blue sky was now clouded over; temps had dropped below freezing. An oppressive feeling began to grow inside, displacing the joy I felt on the railway tracks. This place held different memories. A marriage gone bad. A shipwrecked faith. Depression from too much beer and wine.
The bible says do not give the devil a foothold. Footholds has always felt like wounds to me. Most of the wounds self-inflicted, or childhood wounds allowed to become infected by neglect and repeated injuring. Why did I come here? I guess I wanted healing. I tried to walk but the cold wind of guilt and regret drove me back to the sanctuary of my car. I sat in the driver’s seat overwhelmed by oppressive heaviness, all mashed into bad memories of this place. There was no relief. Except the thought of food and beer. The decision was made right then and there. Once made, relief came quickly. It was as if the god of guilt and regret said, “you dare to come here to defeat me? Be a good boy now and drink your beer and eat your food, and I will leave you alone.”
I was a good boy and he was good to his word. At least for the remainder of the night.
This morning I do not awake defeated. I feel a greater determination. I will win this battle. I must. Why? Because the footholds of guilt and regret has not been left back in that conservation area. I carry them inside me wherever I go. And they must be healed. I think identifying them in the first place is half the battle. Fasting forced my enemy to show his hand. And I will be back, more determined to win. And I will not give up until I do. I will walk the paths of that conservation area singing, running a little and raising my hands above my head. A grown but healed child with his Father.