"My Daddy Loves Me" Newsletter

VOL 11


Enough already, I give up!

11 May 2003
Email: David Benrexi

I shared with you last time how I had "outsmarted the Christians" by washing the dishes to avoid sitting through an evangelism message. I shared how a fourteen year old girl with only one arm had given me a hug that penetrated through my wall of smug self-absorption.

The next morning I set out for Portland, a 250 mile journey, with my three year old daughter Valentina. It was May of 1980, and we were hitchhiking. With a cute little daughter, getting a ride was always easy. Once within the Portland city limits, we walked over to the nearest bus stop to await a city bus that would go to our neck of the woods. A $16 bus pass meant unlimited travel for an entire month. A good deal, wouldn't you agree?

I was in some kind of daze, partly drug-induced and partly an after affect of the love I'd been shown by the pastor's wife, my old friends Pat and Fred, and the two pretty teenage girls that looked after Val. I hopped on the bus with my daughter and went to the rear where I sat down and soon noticed another little girl making eyes at me. Her mother who also had a little boy, about two, started talking to me, and told me her name was Windflower. She was a tall, beautiful young woman who told me she was 21 and had split up with the father of these two children. She invited me to have lunch, and since I wasn't eager to go home where my family was in turmoil, I accepted her invitation. 

Windflower was a believer in homeopathic medicine and nutropathy. She believed all the additives and processing of food made it unhealthy. I'd believed the same thing for years. So we ordered home fries and green beans and sat at a table with three toddlers looking like the all-American family. Since my wife and I had threatened each other with divorce fairly often of late, I began to think how comfortable I felt with this young woman. We spent a couple hours just sitting around and talking on a late Sunday afternoon. I was very attracted to her, but also felt guilty to be thinking like I was, especially with our daughter right there. Windflower said she had to go, and gave me her phone number. I said I'd call her and caught a bus to our neighborhood.

Jo was on the porch outside our house and came walking out to greet Valentina when we returned home. She looked very angry at me, which she was most of the time. After she picked up Val and hugged her like she hadn't seen her for years, we hardly said anything and life returned to the way it had been. For the next few days, all I could think about was Windflower. I imagined myself leaving Jo and marrying her and living in a commune with other natural healing practitioners. I used to have lots of dreams like that. One was about buying an old school bus, taking out all the seats, and turning it into a mobile home. Another one was about building a teepee in the woods and living off the land.

After a couple days I gave Windflower a call and she was very excited to hear from me, but when I talked about meeting her somewhere, she said she was meeting a guy that she had been close to for a long time. I never called her after that. I felt like my marriage was hopeless, and I was waiting for it to end.

Jo's mother came to visit from Oklahoma and we continued to go through the motions of having a marriage while becoming more and more alenated from each other. I spent most of my time in my basement apartment playing songs I'd written. Our room-mate Alice talked about moving out to give us more privacy, but we would always ask her to stay.

As summer came, the situation seemed more and more hopeless. After one of our more nasty arguments, Jo and I avoided each other for a week. Then she said we needed to talk. She had decided to leave me. She and the two girls and Alice and her two boys were moving down to Cave Junction to live in a tent. Pat and Fred, who I'd visited in May, had invited them. A couple days later they all got a ride with someone and I was alone in a five bedroom house.

I was afraid to do much of anything, and I no longer had a job, as three of my five day care clients were gone, and I didn't feel like doing day care any more. I wanted to play music, but everything I tried to do flopped. I decided I would start a support group for men whose wives had deserted them. Since Jo was living in a tent in the woods 250 miles away, there was no number to call, and the whole thing seemed like a bad dream.

I had no family at this time, because we had stopped communicating with my parents after a couple of unpleasant visits. I was really big on the hippie new-age lies about self-realization and being my own best friend. I continued to tell myself I would rise above all this and be a major music star.

After about a week, Jo called to tell me they were doing great, and asked me if I could bring down their belongings. I wanted to say, "You want it--Come and get it!" But I couldn't. Trying to maintain my self-righteous nobility, I said I'd bring their stuff. A friend named Steve with a pick-up truck came over a couple of days later and we loaded it to the gills and headed south.

When we got there, all four children, ours and Alice's came running over to hug me and kiss me and I felt somewhat vindicated. Maintaining my "cool" I greeted our adult friends plus a few more that were also Christians, and Steve and I unloaded all sorts of gear and put most of it in a big tent that was like the storage facility. I figured we would unload everything, wish everyone well, and head on back. I had watched a few Clint Eastwood movies, so I was pretending I was him.

Just as we were preparing to leave and telling everyone good-by, Jo said to me, "David... If our marriage is ever going to work, I need you to stay here..." I showed no visible emotion, but inside I was jumping up and down, thinking, "Well, she's finally come to her senses. It's about time!" I thanked Steve for his help and told him I'd be in touch. He left without me.

Our tent was crowded that night, with Jo, Kelley, Valentina, and me all sleeping together. We began to talk, and both of us were being careful not to insult the other or accuse the other. We lived very primitively, fetching water from a river, using a port-a-pot, and spending our days in the woods in early August of 1980. We went to church on Sunday to be polite, and I sensed how freaked out some of the people were to see a longhaired, bearded flower child in their midst. I hated hearing them say all the things they'd say about Jesus, and the Lord this and the Lord that. But I couldn't bear the thought of leaving my wife and kids again.

After that first Sunday, August 3, 2000, I decided I'd fight back against this onslaught of Christian propaganda. I decided to read the Bible from cover to cover, taking copious notes. That way, I would be able to show them the error of their ways. With several bibles at the campsite I began the next morning. I decided twenty chapters a day would get me through it in just a couple of months.

I had always believed that the Bible was no more valid as a guide to life or the word of God than the Baghvad Gita, Tao Ti Ching, Koran, or any other book. They were all written by men, and they all had their strong points as well as flaws. I knew I would find them. So the first day, I read about the creation, the garden of Eden, the fall of man, Cain and Abel, the flood, Abraham's journey, and Sodom and Gomorrah. I was fairly stoned most of the time, and thought the Bible was pretty far-out.

The next day, I read about the birth of Isaac, Jacob and Esau, Joseph in Egypt, and by the next day I was with Moses in Egypt as the plagues came upon the land. On my fourth day of exploration, the children of Israel left Egypt, as Moses parted the Red Sea. They began wandering in the desert where they complained a lot. I had given up on the proposition of finding mistakes and winning debates. I was discovering that the contradictions and mistakes were not in the Bible after all. They were in the way I had believed and chosen to live my life.

People were friendly, but I didn't trust anybody. I kept reading the Bible because I couldn't stop. I have always been a compulsive person. Billy Joel had a song that said, "I don't know why I go to extremes," and Jo always said that the song was about me. I plowed through the less than fascinating books of Leviticus and Numbers, got re-energized by Deuteronomy, Joshua and Judges. The days rolled on and I tried to get along with everyone, including going to the First Baptist Church in Cave Junction, where I would tune out the altar call after listening somewhat critically to the pastor's message.

Somewhere around the third week, I started reading about David in the book of I Samuel. I became completely absorbed and found myself wanting what he had, a passionate relationship with God. I started sensing God's presence as never before. Had someone asked me, "Would you like to have God in your life?" at this point, I would probably have said, "Yes!"

On Saturday August 23, I hitchhiked into Grants Pass, a town thirty miles to the north with Barb, a hippie friend from State College who was visiting for the weekend. She had been one of Jo's drinking buddies in the early days of Dave and Jo. On the ride back, our driver offered us each a beer, and we along with the driver each opened our own bottle. It was the last drink I ever took. I didn't even want it, but I was trying to be polite since he was nice enough to give us a ride.

Barb left that afternoon, and I sat by the campfire by myself that evening, as everyone else went into town to shop. I sensed God was calling to me, and reaching out to me. I had realized that I couldn't lay the blame on my wife, parents, society, boss, or anyone else, for the fact that I had believed so many lies about God, and chosen to live independently of Him for so long.

It was the next day that we got to church late and it was crowded, because a group of teens and young adults was giving a musical presentation on the life of Jesus. The only seats left were in the front row. As they shared from the New Testament I saw Jesus for the first time. I was the first person to raise his hand and come forward when an invitation was given. The pastor, Art, asked me to kneel, and led me in a sinner's prayer. When I stood up, I felt a love filling me and the room that I had never before experienced. 

There was a party at some one's house that afternoon, and all our new friends were so happy that I had given my life to Jesus. I called my parents for the first time in over a year and told them where we were. I didn't tell them what had happened, knowing they would be totally flipped out. I did tell Alice, who didn't go to church that day, but did show up at the party. She gave her life to Jesus that day also. I didn't try to do very much with Jo, other than be nice to her, because I knew this was a little hard for her to swallow. 

At the party, I approached Art, the pastor, and said, "Can I see you tomorrow. We need to talk." He told me to come to his house, which was right beside the church, the nest morning. I'll tell you about it in a couple of weeks. That meeting was a defining moment in my life.

'1949' In 1949/ A child was born/ In 1949/ A child was born/ He was the second son of three/ He was born in New York in '49/ His father was a scientist/ His mother played piano/ She had long black hair/ And a beautiful face/ And he hated to see her cry When he was four years old/ He could read and write/ When he was eight years old/ He got kicked out of school/ Because he wasn't like the other boys/ And the teachers didn't know what to do with him

He used to dream/ About singin' for a big crowd/ He'd see the same scene/ Every time he would dream

When he was twelve years old/ He got his first guitar/ It was at a yard sale/ And it cost eight dollars/ And he practiced every day/ And he promised his mother that he would behave/ When he turned eighteen/ He made the college scene/ Took a stab at pre-med/ Switched to psych instead/ There was a war going on/ But he just wanted to sing songs

He used to dream/ About singin' for a big crowd/ He'd see the same scene/ Every time he would dream/ Every time he would dream

By the time that he was twenty-five/ His heart had been broken a dozen times/ And he spent his days getting high/ He was known to be a party guy/ And his parents used to shake their heads/ 'Cause he never did one thing they said

He used to dream/ About singin' for a big crowd/ He'd see the same scene/ Every time he would dream/ He'd see the same scene/ Every time he would dream

He was married/ To a green-eyed girl/ With two little daughters who became his world/ But his restlessness just wore her down/ 'Til she hoped he wouldn't stick around/ In the summer of '80 they lived in a tent/ With a glimmer of hope they didn't understand/ When the Spirit of God became reality/ And they found a peace that would never leave

Now he's singin'/ For a big GOD/ He sees the same GOD/ Every time he sings/ He sees the same GOD every time he sings

In 1949/ A child was born/ Nine hundred and eighty/ He was born again/ It was better the second time around/ Way better/ The second time around

Now he's singin'/ For a big GOD/ He sees the same GOD/ Every time he sings/ He sees the same GOD every time He sings/ He sees the same GOD every time he sings/ Same GOD

You can listen to this song at www.mydaddylovesme.org on the CD by the same name.

I hope everyone of you is having a love affair with God. He loves you so very much. Share our newsletter with your friends, and tell the people in your life that God loves them. Demonstrate his love any way He wants you to. Nothing is more important than surrendering our lives to Him and letting Him live through us.

We love to hear from our readers. Don't allow yourself to be trapped into a routine that doesn't give you time to express your love to other people. If people call you, return their calls. If they write you, write back. Be the personification of Hebrews 10:24: And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. I hope I have provoked you!

--David Benrexi

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