When I think of Pat, I see the world in his eyes. Christ resides there. Not the Warner Sallman rosy cheeked perfectly complexioned Jesus, but the one in Gruenwald's Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Crucifixion, by Matthias Grunewald 1515
Patrick was the fifth of six children. By the time he was three, his parents had gotten a divorce. By the time he was five, his mother had remarried a man that beat her. As the man was coming after Pat with a hammer and knife (old hickory #7 he called it), his mother shot the man, and his bloody body landed on top of Pat. Looking into the face of a dead man, eyeball ejected from the socket by a bullet, this darling little blond haired boy, pushed the carcass off his own body. His mother simply said, "Go get your brothers."
He remembers walking down the street, with blood stained clothes trying to find his brothers. This was the beginning of the life of Pat.
After that, as Patrick said, his mother climbed into a bottle, and the children raised themselves.
With hell going on at home, he found peace outdoors. He found solace at the creek, and at a very young age was able to catch fish bare-handed. One of the "lost-boys" in a real life Peter Pan epic, or Mowgli from Jungle Book, he made spears, threw stones at intruders to keep them away, and made friends with the wildlife.
When he did show up to school, he very often led an expedition, taking his followers from the playground at school to the nearby creek.
In his little tiny heart, there was the reality of finding no human comfort. Pat did not cry. I doubt he paid attention at school, preferring Neverland . Eventually he caught the attention and concern of his teachers, and they suggested his mother take him to the psychiatrist for testing.
When they tested him, they found he had a genius IQ. However, nobody seems to remember what happened after that or why his new found intelligence was left by the way side..
Fast forward to today. He has just gone through 15 months of stage 4 cancer treatment, and the results of his latest PET scan is still clear.
That makes two PET scans in a row clear. You can see blogs about what he went through starting here. Or click on the links on the left.
In his words from an early post:
Looking into his eyes and seeing the history of his life in them, he was destined from the beginning to be "not in the world". From early childhood on, he has been tested and as it were, forced into the wilderness; communing with the stars and having conversations with animals. It says in 1 John 2: 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; 16 for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever.
Pat lives this every day of his life, because he has had to. He at once has a calming and wild presence. One cannot put him in a box. For he raised himself with the help of angels. Pat has gone to bible studies, and has been a member of a church. From his perspective, he thinks we all complicate things too much. It's so simple, he says.
When he was in the hospital after being hit by a car as a pedestrian, at 18 years old, having lost part of a leg just below the knee, and 4 inches taken off the other leg, broken bones bolted and wired together, in a full body cast, he visited a place few people go and return. Pat saw the gates of heaven. Watching people go by he said, "It's simple everything in heaven is faster than the speed of light and everything on earth is slower than the speed of light." During that time he was read his last rites 9 times. He learned how to flat line his heart by looking at the machine, to leave his body racked with pain. It was because of his mother, the one who mostly neglected him in his youth, that he said he chose to return. Hearing and seeing her crying, "He's not dead! He's not dead!" out of mercy for her, Pat returned to the pain.
Jesus prays for His disciples in John 17:
13 But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth. 20 "I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 "Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."
In the course of our 2-1/2 year friendship, there have been about 5 times where Pat has cut off from me. Each time he was giving me an out not to have the "burden" of being his friend. Recently was one of those times. The difference this time is that I had also lost a job, realized that what I call my spiritual family were going down a path that was not for me, and then he, my best friend cut off from me. This all happening within a week of each other. God had stripped away the old to make way for the new. Or in Christian terms, I was being pruned to bear more fruit. Still, knowing this intellectually, my spirit and soul felt at peace but blank. I wondered if this is what the saints were talking about feeling abandoned by God. Itwasn't that I lost my faith, it just felt dark and lonely. Monte Canfield wrote a wonderful piece about feeling forsaken during advent, that I read recently. It soothed my soul. You can read that here.
What I believe is happening is that God is shifting my paradigm. He has set me on a path that is unfamiliar. It's not scary just new. But I don't know how to behave. As Monte says in his post, we have to listen more earnestly. I knew on some level that God wanted me to consult him more frequently. But not knowing where my feet should go, I am constantly asking, "This way, Lord?"
After he found out that I lost my job, Pat resumed communication. In a quiet gesture, in recognition of my being a bit lost he said, "I know you're scared being here [in the wilderness so to speak] I've been here so long I don't know any different. I feel God all the time, he' s here now."
I said, "But you ask him questions and you don't get answers very often." "I don't need to He's here. " he said.
I responded in all my arrogance, "Well I get answers from the bible, why don't you look at it more often?" Recently he decided to try that and asked God to tell him about his recent cancer battle and asked God to show him through scripture. God took him to the scripture where Jesus was tempted in the desert:
Luke 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. 3 The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread." 4 Jesus answered him, "It is written, "One does not live by bread alone.' " 5 Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And the devil said to him, "To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours." 8 Jesus answered him, "It is written, "Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.' " 9 Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written, "He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,' 11 and "On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.' " 12 Jesus answered him, "It is said, "Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' " 13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. 14 Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country.
Pat had confirmed even further that he had made the right choices, concerning following the doctor's orders even though spiritually he felt healed. MonteCanfield played a big part in Pat's decisions--thank you Monte from the bottom of our heart. God blessed Pat with a loving and prayerful doctor who took a special interest in Pat and was full of tears when he reported (the 1st PET scan was clear after having a healing experience while in prayer, but still continued chemo) the second PET scan was clear. Still Pat won't let down his guard, because the doctor said they cannot call him out of the woods until he's free for three years.
Knowing that there may be more battles ahead, though believing the miracle of his cure, Pat wanted to give me the chance to bow out, that he couldn't be the man I needed.
Are you kidding me? How many people do you know that walks this close to God.
I love you Pat and I'm not going anywhere!