He is like a refiner’s fire and fuller’s soap

My alarm didn’t go off this morning and I ended up being late and not having time to read, except for a few verses of Psalm 119. I awoke from strange dreams around 5. I was dreaming about visiting my old workplace in Salisbury, Maryland. There were very few people I recognized in the dream. Some of the worst years of my life were spent in that place.

Today I didn’t have a very strenuous day, though, because I had worked ahead for the Thanksgiving holiday. I was glad to get home early from the destitution of the money-craven wilderness. It finally dawned on me several weeks ago that I don’t like going anywhere: I don’t like leaving my house, except to go to church. And even that is sometimes a struggle. There’s just nothing I want out there. And I hate thinking about what I should wear and combing my hair and things like that.

When I got home from work, I tried to take a short nap but ended up watching a documentary with eyewitness accounts about the days of John F Kennedy’s assassination. After that, I ate some pecan pie and wrote a letter to a Christian acquaintance. I went for a jog after dark. It is very balmy for November, about 70 degrees today and sunny. I hope it stays this way; I hate freezing cold weather.

Tomorrow will be the ten-year anniversary of my natural father’s release from the bonds of this earth. My brother and I were talking this past weekend about how we miss our father sometimes, because so much has happened in our lives that he was not here to witness, particularly his grandchildren. I still have a lot of questions about my father’s life and death, but I don’t feel the need to bother God about them. My father throughout his life was consumed with feelings of shame and not feeling loved or good enough. It made me angry when I was younger because he was so consumed with his own hurt and pain there wasn’t much he could offer anyone else, including his children. His growth was stilted in the skin and bone of this earthly shell: he could not get past his childhood woundings.

I forgive my father and mother for their shortcomings. I have personal experience of what it is like to ignore the needs of wife and children to follow lies and fantasies and heartsick pining for the vain empty comforts of earth. I know what it is to be deceived — really upside down, inside out, cracked, broke, trod down deceived, trying to wipe pig waste off the scraps of this world and get something fulfilling out of it. Only the mercy of God lifted me from the depths of mire. The kindness of God led me to repentance.

But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. – from Malachi 3