Chapter Twelve: The Savior in Our Midst
I knew there was no way I could keep it a secret, not anymore. The memories were there all the time. I could not escape the shadowed sight of souls passing away, the spark of life leaving their eyes, the moment of death, the moment of madness and misery. Even as I tried to focus on telling her about these things, memories flooded through my mind desperate to keep me buried in fear.
My wife was cuddling up next to me, and our daughter was sleeping soundly just a few feet away. She talked about things I could not remember, something about going for a walk the next day. I thought I should be listening, but I couldn’t. There is no one to listen when our blood boils and the faces return. All I could see were the plots, plans, and schemes, the ways of the Garrote, the wire that strangled a man in the front seat after my Blade dealt with his partner in the back.
I could not see anything but those eyes and felt the sorrow for something I didn’t understand. Another pebble on this path of remembering, why did they have to watch me? Who sent them? Was it The Order or another Brother sworn to protect a Knight? What was the purpose of this problem that pestered my past? I asked The Father for forgiveness again. These strangers who spent their final moments looking at a monster in the mirror, would they ever look away and see something else? Would they ever see the wife whose fingers placed the gold band on his left hand?
I wanted to let her crush my skull the way I crushed her husband’s throat. I wish she would pummel me with her fists and spit on my body. Would she weep bitterly for the man whose limp form sagged inches from my face? Did she beg God to know why? Did she have to identify his body on a cold steel table? Was she alone when she said, “That’s him?” Did he have children who went to sleep with a father but awoke to misery?
My God, the questions crushed my soul. I couldn’t hear what my wife was saying; I was trying so hard to remember that I was no longer wrestling with death in the heat of that swampy district. I was desperately trying not to count the seconds it took for him to stop fighting. My God, did you hear the sounds of strangulation? Why didn’t you stop me?! My God, where are you?! Where is your hope?
How I wished I could tell her I didn’t know what I was doing, I was just another man’s killing machine. A Soldier who followed orders and accomplished the sanctioned mission; The Company’s Craft at its finest. It’s all I ever knew. No one ever told me how to say no.
What do you tell your wife when she looks over at you and asks you, “Honey, are you ok?” Do you tell her that you were still staring at a man’s eyes when he was bursting from the pressure of the cord you buried in his neck? Do you tell her you couldn’t breathe when you saw the rearview mirror when you loaded your daughter into her car seat last week? Or do you stuff it all back into the boxes it was kept?
No one gave me this information. It was not mission critical but learning how many seconds it takes a femoral artery to bleed a body out when someone is fighting for their life was. Our Instructors had us watch dozens of videos of it over and over again. Different sized people, men, women, children, different levels of fear, terror, and frenzy – we watched them all.
We were trained how to keep quiet even as they begged and screamed. They taught us how to turn off our hearing. The last vestiges of our conscience were seared by the irons of madness. No matter how many times we trained not to hear them, their voices would come crawling back in the dark. In the stillness, they were there. We had to keep them quiet for so long, but The Father has told us that we don’t have to anymore. We no longer have to keep The Secrets of murder, misery, and madness.
That week in September we finally broke down and screamed in the car. We had written about seven more bodies that fell by our Company-controlled hands. We drove away from the little café we’d been writing in and screamed until our throat grew hoarse. Our words were an incense of agony ripe with the brutal honesty I stopped hiding from my Healer.
“My God, do you hear us screaming? Did you hear the sound of that girl whose severed hands are on the floor next to the Brute’s feet? My God, what happened to the other boy, the one who was once right by our side. That Chosen One they are turning into another chameleon of death? Please set him free from the tortured tunnels of turmoil he was locked in. Save him, Messiah, I beg you. There are so many of us out there and who will tell us we are forgiven? Who forgives children whose manipulated hands are stained with blood? Who will tell us no one has forgotten those screams, those pleas, and plots of land where they buried and burned the bodies? My Father, I beg you don’t let it be wasted, not a single utterance of agony that flowed from the bleeding lips of the many children, teens, and adults.
I can’t unsee the eyes of this man; Father did you see them? Why did I have to get out of the car and not them? Will you forgive me? Please, I didn’t know what I was doing, I still don’t. No one gave me answers: neither my commanders nor their superiors. No one told me why. Why them? Why this person and not that? Why did they need three vials of blood from his neck? Why did we have to shove the engraved copper ring on the fingers of the quiet man’s body? Wet Workers don’t get answers just diamond-dusted wires, blades, bullets or syringes of potassium and craftily engineered biological agents. Why can’t I say I’m sorry to his widow? Will they kill me for what I’ve done?”
Out of the bellows of our broken heart came forth a cry of such raw intensity that it scattered the wounds.
“The wind and the waves are all I can see; Abba my Father, please save me!”
What do you tell your wife when she sees you staring off for the tenth time that day? Do you tell her the screams of a little girl are ringing in your ears, and you want to vomit? God, you heard those screams and the dying mans bulging eyes. I know this is true; I just want You not to forget them. Please don’t waste them, not a drop of blood or utterance of agony. I surrender them to you; I can’t carry them anymore; they are crushing my heart. Take it all; it’s not mine to hold anymore. I lay it at your feet. I need you to pick me up because I don’t feel like rising for a long time. I wish I could crawl into the dirt and hide the hurt and horror of my heart. I want to find peace when this storm rages. I pray you will build me a home of hope so I can hunker down for a while.
Back on the bed I suddenly realized I’d been lost in my head. My wife asked me for the fifth time “Honey, are you ok?” She knows me too well to hide the horror dripping from my heart. I stammered through the strangulation cord, the blade on his shoulders and the million questions pummeling my peace and stealing my sleep. She listened, her compassion unending. She bore with me in a moment of horror. The realization had become a hammer driving the nails of understanding deeper and deeper into her once innocent soul.
She wanted to run from it, to blink it all away, to try to rationalize the impossible madness of the man she’d known for years being a controlled wolf who hunted strangers in the night. She thought of the longhaired man running shirtless through the waters in the ocean with glee.
She thought of Nate and struggled to see me.
My hands shook; the fear of rejection boiled my heart’s waters to mist. The thoughts of running came pounding through my head: “We can grab our bag and fade back into nothingness. We would be a ghost in the shadows and they’d never see us again.”
As if reading my thoughts, she grabbed my trembling hands and held them close. She knew our names of Jason, Nathan and all the rest. She reached over and touched the blade strapped to my chest. It had been there for years, and now she knew why. We wanted to know she wouldn’t be afraid of us knowing what we had done. We wanted to know she would love us even though we had killed, even though we had been made to be monsters before we knew there was any other way.
In a moment of exposure, she covered us with the same love, understanding, and kindness The Father showed us time and time again. She became The Healer’s physical hands of love as she held onto me and refused to run away. She sobbed with us telling us she loved us and would never be afraid of us no matter what we had been through. She loves us all no matter what we did. Our woman of rescue chose not to flee. She did not run but instead Chelsea chooses to abide. Those fears of rejection are blown away as we settle into a sense of peace we’ve hardly ever known.
The next day we went for another walk. She knew it would help to give me the open space I needed to see there will be more to this world than the brutality of my past. My daughter was peering out at me from the folds of cloth, which kept her warm against the Rocky Mountain winter. Naomi Grace smiled at me even as my hands shook and trembled. She did not know her dad was talking about murder and misery. She stared into my soul and silently said, “It’s ok daddy. No matter what, I love you.” My wife was quiet as we walked; she was chewing on my words. I know they tasted like death. Would I ever stop seeing more of the men whose blood spilled onto my palms? Would I ever wake up after sleeping without the faces on My List staring back at me?
I asked her if she was mad I had told her. “Of course not, honey, I am never mad that you tell me. I love you so much, and it breaks my heart to hear you hurt. I am so proud of you for finally talking about it. You are a brave man, and I believe in you.” Her words were a mercy I hardly deserved. We walked on stirring up rocks, gravel, and dirt, and though I tried to stay in the moment, I felt it slipping.
There was little left to say because I didn’t want to make her vomit with the details I can barely write about. What would I do when she reads these words? Would I hide in the corner of our house and wait till she has finished? Would I run outside and smash the stick into the old tire until my fingers ache? I don’t want to carry this shame anymore. I want to walk around dog parks without thinking about men’s eyes and armless little girls. I know I have to heal, but I feel like my flesh is being boiled. My body aches and trembles, and I can feel the wire biting the flesh between my knuckles like it happened yesterday.
My cat found me downstairs weeping when I wrote those words. He knew just to comfort me and let me wail. I thanked God for this house of healing, hope, and peace. I could never have dreamed of a place so free where orders are never given but patience, and forgiveness are extended instead. I know this is real life, not death, and for that I am thankful. But the memories of days spent in Underworlds of Special Access Projects come rushing back.
I can’t stop seeing The Colonel’s face or hearing the orders he gave me. I see the burning of the paperless trails at Signposts marked empty, and caches marked full. I grew tired of their constant lies; their lists of targets taken who only advanced their cause. The endless cycle of deception, manipulation, and control was built by my need for revenge, justice, and their manipulative balancing of Lady Liberty’s insatiable scales.
I was a ravenous wounded wolf who needed to protect the innocent from the monsters who masquerade as men. I wanted to see the man whose hands were filled with blood and sharpened steel brought to justice. I wanted to see the little girl rescued from the Brutes’ blade and gender bending Rosicrucian monstrosities. These were the levers they used on me time and time again. I tried to stop them from hurting more people; I wanted to cut the throats of the perverts who had hurt the children. I tried so hard to bring it to an end but I could not stop them all or save her, not then or today.
There is only so much vengeance a man can get done. There is only so many monsters you can kill in a day before you have to sleep, eat, and plan your next hunt. All the while you forsake the land of the living for the hopes of avenging or resurrecting the dead.
Unzipping and eradicating a six-tiered Atlantic pedophile ring might satisfy the rage for a moment but soon it will return, hungry to be fed. Spilling the blood of the evil does not right the wrongs or hammer out the horrors in this world. A thousand new nails pop up every day to take the place of the dead ones. A pack of wolves can’t be the answer to this madness, only He can.
Now I know the only Judge who will deal with all these things accordingly. I surrender to Him all the many pieces of my broken heart and trust He will see them redeemed. Thousands of years ago and just last night He took my burdens and placed them on His mutilated back. I see Him carry the cries of the innocents with Him too. He set them on Golgotha, that Hill of Goliaths Skull, and washed them with His perfect blood. He was The Red Heifer sacrifice; the death of His perfect body cleanses our dirty souls. His love rescued mine and His Word tells me how to breathe again when the sorrow strangles me from suffering the scorn. He reminds me how to love still the mockers and scoffers who doubt my words and joke about my healing for their comic relief. He taught me how to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me. Still daily I ask Him to help me forgive the Brutes and commanders who made me do these things.
I was angry that day when we walked around the lake and I wanted to shove my fist through the perpetrator’s skulls. But I chose instead to set that anger at His feet and tell Him I trust Him with it too. He carries it all and will bear forth vengeance and He alone sets me free. One day at a time I choose life and not death, I choose to believe The God of Comfort will show me His Name is True. I choose to believe He is hope and He is my Father who will restore me in full. I choose to believe that what we surrender to Him can be used for great good, even the saving of many lives.
We had exposed our darkest stains of red to our wife’s white gown of innocence. She had not cursed us, resented us, or feared our hands scarred by death. She embodied the same forgiveness Messiah extends to us. She let my stains be washed away as she reminded me of who I really was: no longer a murderer, no longer a slave. She reminded me of the new man I am, a son of a different Father. No longer was I a child being manipulated and controlled, and no longer a teen full of fury and rage. Now I was a son of The King of Glory, a redeemed child of The King. I was a husband, a father, a man on a path to set captives free.
My identity did not abide in the sickeningly stained robes I’d been made to wear; it was not held in my Handlers’ Black Book. My identity was knit together with the Resurrected King and the scars, which pierced His heart. This is what she reminded me of and helps me to grab onto when the winds of remembering rage. Chelsea covered by The Father promised to be my safe harbor when the storms of pain blow again. Because of my wife’s devotion and love I know I have the rarest of freedoms to tell her about the faces, killings, and dreams.
She did not run from me. She did not hide. She looked into my eyes with tears turning hers bright green. I see the face of an angel in those eyes. I see the messenger of love sent to me for such a time as this. She helps me remember The Scriptures, about my identity as a son of God no longer a slave to these dark masters. She helps me remember I still have free choice and The Father preserved me for a great purpose. She helps me remember; remember things others systemically made me forget. She gives me the feeling of safe, unadulterated touches on my skin and the warmth of a wanted embrace. She gives me the joy a freely offered gift brings, the ways of a husband with his wife as they become unhindered by the stains of regret, wounds, and abuse.
I was not born for these deaths. I was not made for this madness; it was made for me. It was carved out of the necrotic altar stones of The Wicked One’s throne. It was conceived by corrupt cowards who saw a way to keep themselves out of harm’s reach while making sure the deadly work still got done. They had to teach me how to hate. They had to show me how to boil with rage and fill me with fury. I was not born with murder on my mind; instead, they made it reasonable and they made it our way. The touch of the perverse became commonplace and acceptable.
It should never have been that way. Children should not be looked at as commodities for profit, status, and gain. Yahweh says children are a powerful arrow and they are a gift; they are entrusted to us so we can raise them, shepherd them, and lead them to become who they were made to be, not what we can profit off of the most. (Psalm 127)
I would spend so much time as a child looking in the mirror. Seeing the new scars, the new stitches, the bruises, and the bloody noses. Other times I would see Dr. Cherry and the false face he gave me. I would see a new mirror after we moved again, sometimes in school hallways, and in teachers’ offices. I would see these many places scattered across the country. I would see glimpses of a young boy who would turn into a teen and later a man. The pink scars on my body faded into white before new ones rose up and took their place.
I would look into bloodshot eyes once royal blue and see them turn to crystal one day and be opaque as the snow burying the bodies they left in the forests for the birds of death. I would watch them fill with violence, with hurt and betrayal. I would see the mountain of misery grow taller and taller still. I would see the burdens of a hundred lifetimes of grief reach toward the clouds. I could not escape the hurt in my heart or the hate in my eyes. I wondered if ever there would come relief, if there could really be hope for the likes of me.
To all of you who have ever stared in the mirror and hated the face, the body, the memories, or the apathetic indifference toward the one staring back: please, know the answer to the questions you ask when no one is listening, the questions you think people will call you crazy for asking, the answer to those questions is waiting for you. The answers to the self-loathing, the bitterness, the anger, and hate are not found on a psychiatrist’s couch or in an anti-depressant and medical diagnosis. It is not waiting for you in a self-help book with motivating titles and inspiring imagery.
The answers to the questions you seek are not found in this flesh but in the Spirit of Truth for we serve The Source of Truth. The Prince of Peace has promised He would give wisdom and understanding to any who would ask for it in His Name. The answer to why you are the way you are is waiting in His Word, in His truth made real to your eyes. Your identity does not need to stay trapped in the body you keep despising, your drug of choice, the number of times you’ve promised to quit and couldn’t, or the Royal Chosen Blood in your veins.
You are not who you were truly made to be, not yet. Each of us – no matter our moment or method of conception – was created with a purpose and for a great reason. We were created to bring meaning to the meaningless, to bring joy to the despairing, and to rise up from our mediocre living and become bold and courageous participants in the redemptive story of Yahweh.
We were not made to be miserable, to have fractured marriages and children who are out of control or depressed. We were not made to be comfortable and complacent but to rush forward into The Enemy’s territory and contend for the souls of mankind. Even if we are living in a wheelchair or hospital bed or on oxygen in an assisted care facility, every one of us was made for war, for the saving of sons and daughters from the fires of failure and cyber bullies. We were made to reach into the depths of despair and offer our scar covered or freshly manicured hands to all those who need to know there is still hope.
We were not made to put our light under our cloaks of shame and guilt. We were made to be the lights brilliantly burning in the darkness, pointing to The Way home. We were made to line the Roman roads pierced through on crucifixion stakes, hands raised to the heavens testifying of our great love for The Redeemer. We were made to be a living witness of hope. We were made to confess our sins to the world, our failures, our screw-ups, and our darkest regrets. We were made to be the ones who suffer the scorn of this world for the sake of setting even just one captive free.
Do not hide your hurt any longer. Don’t keep your crucifixion a secret because so many of us have been screaming out in quiet desperation our entire lives; we are already burning in agony. We think if we hide our hurt swept under the rugs of shame we can deal with it some other day, but no one gets healed by keeping sickness in the dark. No one can get rescued from their misery without first exposing their wounds to The Light. You must surrender your heart to The Healer and step out onto the roaring waters. Fix your eyes on Messiah, the calmer of waves and the bringer of peace. He is not waiting in the boat of Comfortable Christianity or in the emergent church with their New Apostolic Reformations. The only True Word is not hidden in The Mysteries of The Cosmos, The Kabbalah repackaged as Quantum Gnosticism, or in the worshipping of other lesser Astral gods. The revelations of who Messiah really is are not hidden within the minds of pagans or puritans. Yahweh is looking for those who answer His call to come out of the comforts our civilization and cowardice provide.
He rescues those who forsake the false safety that boat provides. Hear me, Jesus is waiting on the waters of chaos and fear and will take hold of all who step out in faith and belief. He is waiting in the wind and the waves of pain you’ve hidden and drowned for the last four decades. He is waiting for you to show who your true master is, so give your fears to Him and put your faith in Him. He alone can heal the cancers of cowardice; He alone can heal the self-hate, the feeling you get when you see your body in the mirror or in pictures posted online. He alone can show you the truth about who you are, the beauty even in your scars. Do not hide your hurt any longer for it will be the death of you. Your hurt can instead become hands, which reach into the pits of pain and pull a suffering slave from the groping fingers of perpetrators.
Do not fear the terror of the night, nor the fiery arrow that flies by day for surely His Word is true. He will shelter you under His just and loving wings. He will enlarge the ground beneath your feet so that you will not stumble. He will prepare a place for you in the presence of your enemies, and you will walk by streams of Living Water. I promise it’s true. I have seen it be so.
Trust in Him while there is still time, for He will never let you down. His faithfulness and truth is a shield and buckler I now wear as my own. It extinguishes every fiery missile of The Enemies. Now I am trained to battle with spiritual weapons and wage earthly wars. Where no eye can see, The True Lord’s armies fight for you and they fight for me. Praise Him always no matter the cost, be it your head in a vice or a monsters prod. He will redeem it all and use it for good. What they meant for evil Yahweh will redeem for good and the saving of many lives. So chose you then this day who you will serve, whether the gods of your fathers, the worthless traditions of men or the one who rescues orphans and makes them pilgrims of peace, princes of His holy power who walk by faith and not by sight. (Genesis through Revelation)
For decades of my life I was the Guardian of The Left Hand path where my Family chose to make its abode. Now it is time for world to hear The Secrets so many lives were lost to protect.