I left the past of my young adult life under a dark cloud, as I’ve told about in one of my poems, Straddling the High Beams of Anderson Bridge, a bridge in my hometown. “Got away by following my angels, just as I’d done since childhood, out of the trash-filled alleyways, where one forgotten flower bloomed.” I escaped “the moral chasm … drugs, drinking, and nights of cruelty,” and was carried into the arms of God, carried like the person in that well known poem Footprints in the Sand (attributed to three authors):
“I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life, there was only one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?"
The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, it was then that I carried you.”
Leaving my wasted youth at age 21, carried on a tide, swept up, swept along by California rock music, the 1960’s, hippie culture, I didn’t have language that angels, or God, or Jesus were carrying me until later when I had reborn insight.
Out of the clutches of evil, I was recently carried once again, was reminded of the refuge of God’s loving embrace, after a week of futile dialogue with family members who mocked and scorned the spiritual efforts we Urantia Book readers have learned are so valuable to our future careers in eternity.
The UB teaches important distinctions between evil and sin. "By nature, before the rebirth of the spirit, mortal man is subject to inherent evil tendencies, but such natural imperfections of behavior are neither sin nor iniquity. Mortal man is just beginning his long ascent to the perfection of the Father in Paradise. To be imperfect or partial in natural endowment is not sinful.” (The UB, 148:4.6)
My wife added to my slight knowledge about the experience of spiritual rebirth, being “born again” as Christians like to say it, and she then introduced me to The Urantia Book, The UB, where I learned more from Jesus’s discussions with his apostles about “the new life in the kingdom.”
He warned them about sharing spiritual wisdom with unbelievers. “When you enter the kingdom, you are reborn. You cannot teach the deep things of the spirit to those who have been born only of the flesh; first see that men are born of the spirit before you seek to instruct them in the advanced ways of the spirit.” (141:6.4)
I should have re-read that passage before teaching the noble truths of forgiveness to those who did not have ears to hear them.
We UB students often talk about the power of symbol and story, how a new symbol is needed (see The UB Paper 87:7.6 to learn more). Here is my personal, powerful motivating symbol. As a very young man, I’d been deeply impressed with the image of being carried in the arms of an angel when I read the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale (see 1844 illustration), a picture that has stayed with me all the rest of my life. The story is told in the words of “an angel of God, as he carried a child up to heaven.”
"In the Father's kingdom you are to become new creatures; old things are to pass away; behold I show you how all things are to become new. And by your love for one another you are to convince the world that you have passed from bondage to liberty, from death into life everlasting.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, The UB, 143:2.3)
“What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.”
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
(Songwriters: Elisha A. Hoffman / Cyril A. Mclellan / A. Showalter)