All of a sudden, something from my past, speaks into the lives of those close to me. (ABOVE) my 1987 journal. Remember this, Karl.
In 1974 my dorm room is on the basement floor of Heppner Hall, my first year at the University on Nebraska, in Lincoln. I am 19 years old. On this day I remember being all uptight. Students were making jokes in our room that bothered me, but instead of saying something about it, I stuffed my anger down inside. As I sat on the bed I swung my fist against the wall. Later, after the students had left, my roommate Jeff Taebel said to me, "You need to do something about that." or something to that effect.
Fourteen years later, in 1988 I am taking classes at the Bible Institute of California in Anaheim. (ABOVE, photo standing by school sign with Hispanic class, photo of class in session) I have been taking part in a night class called New Hope, where I am learning about co-dependency, how unhealthy it has been to not feel my anger. I am learning to choose other ways of acting on my feelings. Letting go, letting God handle things that work me all up, let him be my peace. I am 33 years old. My wife and I went to visit my parents during Christmas break in Seward, Nebraska. (The following entry in my journal recounts the inner turmoil I felt)
"I feel angry at Dad for trying to control my life. I thought he had released me from expectations with my art skills. But today Dad opened the issue again. 'Why can't I market my abilities in the states and not end up going abroad?' he asks me. He still believes in what I can do with art, He sees himself as aggressive and me as laidback like Mom. He thinks if I wait too long, my ideas WILL NEVER BE FULFILLED. He sees himself trying - failing - succeeding in motion. And see me in a standstill - neglectful use of my abilities."
"The idea of my wife and myself going ahead for missions bothers him. I explained that he and I are two different people. His efforts work for him. But I am different. And it seems he can only see it from his method of working. And that, if I don't get busy producing and sending and marketing my stuff, that (I will be cursed, in a sense). I will have to suffer the consequences!!!" Immediately after that He controlled, by refusing to show a video promo he had earlier offered to show me. My Dad has to work out his own co-dependency. And I have to work out mine.
"But I'm angry because I thought this issue had been resolved. Now it's like my peace is being shaken up all over again. It's almost like Dad wants us to be enemies again...I really appreciated my talks with Mom this visit. She's smart and is working out her co-dependency. Dad thinks she has the problem, but he misses his contribution and his own co-dependency. I feel Mom is right on track. I DON'T LIKE BEING CONTROLLED." (December 29, 1988)
During chapel time today, a black five-member drama team from England called "The Acts" does some of their acting for the meditation.
That night, after school and after our jobs, we joined our friends from England back at Betty's house, where they are staying tonight. In photo ABOVE, Brenda and Lurissa from Canada. Jackie, Carol, Marva, Verletta (Mum) Malcolm from North Hampton. Maureen from South Hampton. Victor Gibbons, Karl Marxhausen, Jan Marxhausen.
It was during the prayer and singing time, that happens on Friday nights, that the spirit of God ministered to me as I lay on the floor. During chapel earlier today I felt a knot in my stomach. I asked for prayer concerning that knot. What happened as I lay on the floor, was that a tremor began in my stomach. It then moved up my body to my chest. Then I burst into tears and sobs. After a bit, a deep peace came over my being. I felt like I was sleeping on the bottom of the ocean, so still. Then after some time passed, the cycle repeated, with a tremor that began in my stomach, and which moved up to my chest. Again I burst out in tears and sobs. Soon, a deep peace and rest came over my whole body. And then, the cycle occurred again. The group prayer time had ended long ago. Everyone was off in the kitchen, while I was laying on the living room carpet all by myself. God was having his way with me.
These brothers and sister in Christ were witness to the work God brought in me. The recurring cycle of sobs and peace went on for THREE HOURS and ended around 11 o'clock at night. This was the SAME NIGHT my father Reinhold Marxhausen was making his second appearance on the David Letterman TV talk show (January 17, 1990) There was a sense that pent up grief was being poured out of my heart and was being replaced with joy and God's healing activity. (In the photo BELOW, my brother Victor Gibbons and me in Betty's kitchen.)
It is now 2013. The youth group is reading verses about people in chains and darkness in the book of Psalms. The verses seem like they are written for today. It could be us crying out from our own situations, where feelings are repressed, where anger is stuffed down and held on to, where bitterness towards others smolders. I am 58 years old. I share some of the anger I felt at Dad those years ago. Our group takes turns hefting up a potato sack with a heavy heavy stone inside, the symbolic weight of our own resentment. We talk about forgiveness, letting go, crying out for release, and being open to receive help from One outside our realm of control. We look at the artwork I brought tonight. Students describe what they see in their own words. (My 36 by 24 inch painting on tempered Masonite from 2000, BELOW)
We read verses of an anxious suicidal man in disarray who becomes clothed, calm, and in his right mind. I share how God made a way in my life. Releasing new feelings, songs of hope and joy. How destructive ways of thinking were broken off and his glitter sparkle matrix did something I was unable to make happen. (Collage, Airstrike, 1998, BELOW)
You are that strong. You show me the way to walk in forgiveness. A way closed off that You opened for me. Precious butterfly Holy Ghost. Releasing tears and pouring in peace and joy and altering my reality. Jesus, you, so kind, so able, so generous, yeses through You, You are making. Remember this, Karl.