Springtime in Fairbanks is beautiful. As the snow melts and life fights through the freeze of winter for time in the sun, the birds dart around and squirrels begin hopping from tree to tree in the forest. While the animals came out to play on March 19th, 1986, I drove around in moms purple station wagon peddling LSD. What a loser.
I didn’t even think about the fact that I didn’t have a driver’s license but I did think a lot about demons. All day long they would run across the road or pop around in the sky like blazing lights. Their message to me: “You are ours and we will do with you what we please.”
Not one measly sale after a hard day of aimless cruising and dealing. Nobody wanted my Gold Key LSD. Weary from the images of spirits and tired of fighting to earn enough money to move to boulder, I drive back up the hill to Mom’s trailer on Gilmore trail.
When I got out of the car I looked up to the moon. Marijuana and the moon were my faithful friends. They never let me down, always lifted my spirit and calmed me. It was approaching midnight and after all these years of friendship, the moon turned a grimace and looked at me as if to say “You are nothing but a clump of decomposing sewage in the world I watch over.”
As I closed the car door I muttered hopelessly “Sh-t, now the moon is after me too.”
Mom was waiting up for me. I sat down and pulled out a baggie of weed, filled the bowl of my favorite plastic bong, and took a big long bubbly hit off it. I passed it to mom, who repeated the ritual. I looked at the floor, feeling better for the bong hit, sighed, and said, “Mom, something has to change. I just can’t take it anymore.”
That month everything I thought I was in control of turned on me and took violent possession of my every waking moment. Not only that, but my dreams were full of the same terror. And now, to add to the cosmic insult, the moon turned her back on me.
I closed my eyes, squinting into the darkness of my soul, wishing for help. I fought for the thought, the insight, some scrap of honest illumination. What shall I do? And then, as mom pulled another bong hit through the bowl, I had a heightened sense of awareness. I saw a yellow soothing light in my minds eye, I felt touched by spiritual life; not the sort I had been entertaining since I was 13, but an entirely new type. It was love. Love was in our living room reaching out to me.
I opened my eyes and without thinking said “Mom, I got it! It’s Jesus. He’s the one I have been looking for all these years. He is the only one who can help me. I need Him to help me, to forgive me, to love me.”
Mom looked at me through her wisest eyes and agreed, “Yes son, Jesus is the way. He is the answer.”
Then I prayed out loud, mom agreeing with me, “Jesus, you are the one I have been looking for my whole life. Please forgive me for looking in all the wrong places, for doing so many stupid and terrible things, and for my sin. Please turn the outhouse my life has become into something beautiful and give me freedom from the spirits that are tormenting me. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.”
Then mom chimed in with a wonderful prayer, celebrating her own love for Christ and rededicating herself to following Him.
We opened our eyes in a state of shock. There was no preacher in the room; nobody had explained to me what it meant to dedicate my life to Christ, not even in all my teenage years. But I knew it and verbalized it.
Maybe it was the memory of Vacation Bible School on the Steese highway. When I was five years old, Ted and Elizabeth Baker would pick my brother Pete and I up for a weeklong program designed to help children understand Christ. I remember some character dressed up like the TV figure Captain Kangaroo entertaining us with bible stories and graham cracker snacks.
Regardless of what natural explanation there is for my revelation, at just the right moment, when my soul was raw, broken, and honest, the light of love filled me and I will never be the same.