Tuesday, September 25, 2007

In the Spring When Kings go Off to War

I love the story of David in the Old Testament. There are so many lessons to learn in the story of his life...and beautiful Psalms that he left us. Like all of us, David was human. He had his times of triumph and his times of failure. And the Bible shares both with us...with me. In the book of 2 Samuel, we find most of the story of David. It seemed like he had everything. He had advanced from a poor shepherd boy, the youngest in his family, to the become a member of the king's household. He found success as a great warrior and leader, defeating the enemies of Israel at every opportunity. He had gone through his "wilderness" journey, running from king Saul for many years, but remaining faithful to God. But he finally found himself at the pinnacle...the King of all Israel. He had arrived! He had it all! Or, did he?

In the eleventh chapter of 2 Samuel, something terrible happens in David's life. I find it interesting how the chapter opens: "In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war...But David remained in Jerusalem." Oh, the lesson God gives us...has given to me in that one short verse. The chapter to goes on tell of David's moral failure...his taking of Bathsheba to his bed...the murder of Bathsheba's husband, Uriah. And finally, of David's repentance. But today, it is only the first verse that speaks to me, because it is a lesson I wish I had learned so many years ago. David failed because he didn't do his job...he wasn't where he was supposed to be. And the enemy of our soul attacked him.

I can look at several points in my life where I chose not to be where I was supposed to be, and it has directly or indirectly led to the dark valley in my life that I wandered for the last several years. The first, when I was thirteen. I was supposed to be in school, but instead I stayed home. I didn't feel all that good, but certainly in hindsight, well enough to go to school. But instead, I stayed home that day and discovered masturbation. That discovery has impacted my life every day since, and in many ways, directed it. It's not that I most likely wouldn't have discovered the self gratification at another time, but not in the same way. And it may not have grabbed me in the same way. But, at at time when boys goes off to school, I remained at home.

The second event was when I was much older...45 to be exact. I was near the top of my career...a success by every social definition of the word. I was happy in my marriage, I was happy in my job. We had a beautiful home. But there was something missing that I still struggle in understanding. I still found myself drawn to pornography. By now, it wasn't just an occasional trip to an adult book store when I was out of town on my own. No...by now I had discovered internet pornography. Even that discovery would be another example of not being where I should be, but that may be a story for another time. On this day, I found myself in my hotel room after a long day of a conference. I had spent some time on the "net", checking all the usual porn sites. I had called Paula, telling her how much I missed her (which I did). But then, when I should have found myself in a good book, or reading an article in a professional journal, I found myself drawn back to my laptop...back to the sites. However, it seemed nothing I looked at nor anything I read fulfilled any of the longing, or lust, or desire that I felt. And then it happened.

I found myself choosing to explore a chat room. I can't completely explain why. I had never gone to one before. Our youngest son had spent some time, actually a lot of time, in some chat rooms the previous month when we were on vacation together, but I still don't know if that was what led me there. But there I was, at the "Hotmail" homepage, looking at the link to "chat" and I pressed it. For awhile, I went from page to page, exploring the titles of the different rooms. They were so varied, essentially a chat room for just about everything. I ended up clicking on a master link that said "teen". And again, a long list of room titles. Then it happened...one stood out to me. I can still remember the name, even after six plus years. "15/m/ga" What did it mean? I really didn't know, and in fact I really didn't understand completely until months later. But in my mind, I thought it meant a 15 year old male who was gay. I paused for a second, and then clicked and found myself in a room with two people talking. It was obvious that I interupted them, though in my nievity I didn't really get it. One of them asked me for my "ASL". I just sat there, wondering what that could possible mean. Then he said he was going to kick me out because I didn't answer him, and I found myself out of the room, looking at the big list again. I should have taken that as a warning, but I didn't...my stubborness raised its ugly head. Instead, I re-entered. As I did, I felt a wave of an ice-cold breeze blow across my naked body, but I didn't heed that either. Again, he asked me my ASL? This time I told him I had never been in a chat room before and didn't know what ASL was. So he told me..."age, sex, location." Oh, I thought. I knew I couldn't tell him the truth, so I answered, "15/m/Washington state". He told me his name was John and that he lived in Georgia. (I finally figured out the GA was Georgia, not gay about 6 months later.) The other person left and John and I found ourselves just talking...until he told me he had to go because it was getting late. I looked at the bedside alarm and saw the red LED reading out almost 1:00 AM. I was shocked...I had been chatting with this guy for over an hour and a half. He gave me his e-mail address and told me he'd like to visit again sometime. As he logged off, I couldn't believe that there was someone out there who was going through the same struggles with his sexuality that I had struggled with as a teenager myself. It was like there was someone that I could finally talk to about it.

As time went on, I became almost consumed with wanting to chat with teenage boys who were struggling with there feelings about other boys. I would find myself going to chatrooms at work, even staying late at times because I was in a conversation and I would lose track of time. When Paula was out of town, I would go on-line to talk to these new "friends" I had made in the rooms. I would go off-line just long enough to call her each night, and tell her how much I missed her, and how much I loved her...and then go back on-line as soon as we would hang up. There were nights that I would chat all night long, glancing at the clock and see that it was 5:30 AM and I would need to get ready for work in a half an hour. Sadly, all of the chats weren't just about talking. My sexual depravity was also triggered, and I would find others who would want a sexual release as much as I did, and I would find myself in "cybersex". Now I would just call it "pornography in words." I may never know the damage those "sessions" have done to my soul.

But, the damage to my life are visible for all to see. The chatrooms led to people giving me links to "other" pornography. I didn't look for it, the pictures of teen boys with each other, but it found me anyway. And like during the earlier years of my life, the pornograhy hooked me. I would join more and more "groups" that had the pictures. I didn't find myself looking at them often, but it was like I had to have them...I had to have more and more. The pictures were images of my own youth in many ways...and of my fantasies during those years.

Eventually, Paula found out. The first time, it shattered her heart. The second time, it shattered our lives!

1 comment:

Deb said...

Beautiful title and perfect metaphor. I can imagine how hard this must have been for you to write and I'm so proud of you for your honesty and bravery.

I'm wondering about the first time for you at 13. What made it extraordinary and not just an adolescent boy discovering his body and the pleasure he could find in it?

Keep writing. I hope you've got someone there to help you process all that these words must be bringing up for you.

I love you, little brother!