Monday, December 26, 2016

C'MON! (Chapter Twelve: Weapon of Choice)

C'MON!
My Story of Rock, Ruin and Revelation
(The 5th Anniversary Edition)
- Christopher Long -

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Greetings, and welcome to the latest installment of the FREE online 5th Anniversary Edition of my book, C'MON! — My Story of Rock, Ruin and Revelation.

When I sat down to write C'MON! in 2011, I had no idea that my first faith-based book, would be so well-received. It's been incredibly rewarding and truly humbling to hear how my personal story has touched the lives of others. It's been described as The Wonder Years-meets-The Wall at a Big Tent Revival, and I'm thrilled to be slicing up this expanded edition — chapter by chapter, each and every Monday through January 9, 2017 — the official five-year anniversary of the book's original release.

Even if you've read C'MON! previously, I guarantee that you'll experience something fresh in this deluxe version. PLUS it's FREE — so spread the word!
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CHAPTER TWELVE
Weapon of Choice

Life doesn’t always get easier the closer you get to God. Satan is a crafty dude. He knows our weaknesses and knows exactly how and when to zap us.

Girls, Girls, Girls
I finally was walking in the light after the spring of 2010. But I still was vulnerable to one particular temptation from my past. So, what could possibly have been my Achilles’ heel? What was my one area of personal weakness that could trip me up most in my new spiritual journey? Hmm. Any guesses? Anyone? Bingo — that’s the one!

I'd behaved like a pig since my divorce in 1998. And I now regretted how I had conducted myself with women throughout that decade. Battling alcohol was one thing — sex, however, was an entirely different demon. From backstage to backseats to backrooms — from single girls to married women — short and tall, big and small, younger and older — no setting was inappropriate, and to me, any woman was fair game. I don’t admit this to boast, but merely to illustrate how God can fix our hearts.

Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life,
which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the
spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new
nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.
Ephesians 4:22-24 (NLT)

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As I got further into God’s Word in 2010, I found myself less and less consumed by pursuing women sexually. I now was being moved to live life God’s way. However, once sex was off the table (so to speak) and I finally began conducting myself in a responsible, non-pig-like manner, women seemed to have little interest in hanging out with me. Those who I still encountered from my former life were clearly less than attracted to the "new" me, while the gals at church appeared to perceive me merely as the weird guy (with fabulous nail polish) who sat alone on Sunday mornings. But now, I didn’t even care.

Due to my new, Christ-inspired outlook, I simply found life easier to manage without constantly shucking and jiving chicks into bed, and then dealing with all of the post-liaison drama — drama that typically involved last night’s conquest following me to the club every night for the next week, thus thwarting my latest "missions" — not to mention the subsequent threatening phone calls I'd receive from their various past and present husbands and boyfriends. I now found the whole thing to be pretty gross and completely stupid.

Pole Position
There was a stunningly beautiful late 20-something named Tabatha who I knew in Melbourne. I was familiar with Tabitha from the hometown scene, and I’d been extremely attracted to her for a couple of years. She was about five-foot-nine and slender with dark skin and golden highlights running through her long brown hair. I often have been told that I’m only attracted to “Barbies,” and although I adamantly disagree with that assessment, Tabitha certainly did fit the physical description.  We kept in frequent contact with each other, but our relationship never moved beyond friendship status, as one of us always was dating while the other was single.

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I called Tabitha one day in June simply to say, “Hello.” She quickly informed me that she’d broken up recently with her longtime boyfriend. Coincidentally, I too had just ended a relationship. Could it be? Finally Tabitha and I both were available at the same time! Now here’s the kicker. Upon hearing of her availability, I didn’t try to hook up with her. In fact, during that conversation I started telling Tabitha about how I was now living for God. I even confessed to becoming one of those Bible-reading weirdos at Starbucks. I further apologized for what I now perceived as my inappropriate past conduct. And instead of inquiring as to what she was wearing (per my former pig-like mentality), I invited her to attend church with me. Surprisingly, Tabitha confessed that she too had been feeling a real need for God in her life. And she even agreed to accompany me to church — sometime.

I didn’t hear from Tabitha for a week or two, so I called her back and asked her out on a proper date. She accepted and I was delighted. As I drove to Tabitha’s apartment to pick her up, I couldn’t help but be enthusiastic. I’d been interested in her for years and we now both were available and on the same page spiritually, or so I thought.

Tabitha never appeared as fetching as she did when she greeted me at her front door that Saturday. HOORAY! But upon entering her apartment, the first thing I noticed was that she had what some people could perceive as a stripper pole installed in the middle of her living room, and I had to inquire about the oddity. Tabitha informed me proudly that it was, in fact, a stripper pole and that she enjoyed using it during her home parties. She also offered to demonstrate it for me later. “Demonstrate?” Apparently Tabitha hadn’t quite grasped the full meaning of our previous phone conversation. Perhaps I hadn’t read her correctly either.

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Although (I think) we both had a fabulous time, I didn’t accept Tabitha’s offer to come inside when we arrived back at her place after the movie. In fact, I merely pulled up to her building and immediately sped off after exchanging our “good-byes.”

I discovered that a seductive woman is a trap more bitter
than death. Her passion is a snare, and her soft  hands
are chains. Those who are pleasing to God will escape
her, but sinners will be caught in her snare.
Ecclesiastes 7:26 (NLT)

When I say that Tabitha was beautiful, I mean, supermodel beautiful. Sure, I now was living for God, but I also was still human and vulnerable to temptation. I knew the "old" me well enough to recognize that had I gone back inside Tabitha’s apartment after our date, there was a real chance that I could have caved. And I wasn’t willing to take that risk. It was no easy call to make. For me to drive away from Tabitha was like Steven Tyler (circa '78) turning down a line of the finest Peruvian blow. But it was the right call.

Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts.
Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love and peace.
2 Timothy 2:22 (NLT)

“I Like You as a Friend, But…”
Ah, the ultimate rejection line. I remember first being on the receiving end of this infamous, backhanded sentiment in the sixth grade. In one breath, Jacque Rodgers broke my heart. Her offer of friendship was of little solace then, and those words would continue to sting each time I heard them throughout my life. However, once I'd finally eliminated sex from the equation in 2010 and I no longer had to navigate through the complexities of pursuing and maintaining romantic relationships, I finally could appreciate what a beautiful gift true friendship really is.

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If you’re "just friends," you typically can enjoy a lifetime connection to people whom you truly care about. But once things get "serious," and then turn physical (or vice versa), emotions can get in the way, connections can get crushed and — relationships often die. A "friend" always can look you in the eye and admit that the dress really does make you look fat. And friends can call each other in time of need without current “significants” feeling threatened. At 48, I could count many “ex’s” among my best friends. However, I remain closest with the women to whom I've never been connected "romantically."

Candy’s Room
Although I now was enjoying many newfound professional opportunities, I still was working as a nightclub DJ during the holiday season of 2010. I no longer was compelled to participate in the shenanigans of my working environment. However, I still found myself in a few amusing situations. Fortunately, I now responded differently than I would have just a few months earlier.

I was DJ-ing at Siggy’s, and because I rode to the club with friends that night, I had a bit of a dilemma when I finished my shift at 2AM. Simply put, I had no vehicle, and I lived 25 miles away. Fortunately there was a girl in the club at closing time named Candy who I’d known for many years. Candy and I had gone out a few times and I really liked her — a lot. In fact, I liked her so much that even in my former pig life, I never pursued her sexually — our friendship was too important to me to destroy it by doing something stupid.

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We hadn’t hung out together in several months, and as I was packing up my DJ gear at closing time, I asked if she’d like to join me for coffee at the all-night diner across the street — and maybe give me a lift home (friends can do that). As we left the diner at 3AM, Candy confessed that she wasn’t really feeling up to making the drive to my place and back at that hour. She further reasoned that it made more sense for me to crash at her place, and she’d drive me home the following morning. We’d often discussed how sex would be the death of our friendship, so I felt comfortable that I wouldn’t regress if I took her up on her offer.

I'd never been inside Candy’s apartment, so upon our arrival, I was given the official tour. From multi-color painted walls to ultra-chic furnishings, Candy’s home was what us old timers would refer to as a groovy pad.  “And this is my bedroom,” Candy announced as she flipped on the lights in the room next to the kitchen. As if I was experiencing déjà vu from my recent visit to Tabitha’s, I noticed immediately a trampoline positioned next to Candy's bed! A trampoline? Really? I literally had to laugh out loud because I’d been in only two girls’ apartments since my awakening and they both had gymnastic-type apparatuses with (possible) sexual connotations prominently on display

I led Candy back quickly to the living room where we sat on the couch and talked until she fell asleep around 5AM. In sum, Candy dozed off, I behaved, and we continue to enjoy a beautiful and valuable friendship.

Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give into
temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
Matthew 26:41 (NLT)

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Lucky Charm
There was another gal in town who I’d had my eye on for a while named Autumn. At first glance, only one word would come to most people’s minds when she entered a room — “Barbie!” I was familiar with Autumn from the local club scene, but I never approached her, as I always perceived her to be in a committed relationship. As a result, I wasn’t even sure she knew who I was.

At the time, Autumn resembled blond bombshell vocalist Dale Bozzio (circa '83) from the band Missing Persons — who, physically speaking, is allegedly my kinda girl. I was shocked and delighted when Autumn called me up out of the clear blue in late 2010. She recently had gotten interested in playing live music, and she invited me to meet her for coffee so she could ask me a few questions about how to move forward with her new band. Hmm, a “Barbie” and Starbucks? I couldn’t get there fast enough!

In her typical fashion, Autumn arrived at our meeting looking as if she’d just left the set of a Bon Jovi video shoot. In fact, I think she was even wearing a Whitesnake baby doll top. We ordered our coffee, sat down, and began a fabulous hour-long conversation — covering numerous topics, including the local music scene. Although I’d seen her around town frequently for a couple of years, we’d never spoken to each other and I really enjoyed finally getting acquainted.

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Toward the end of our conversation, Autumn mentioned that she’d brought me a gift. “I saw this and immediately thought of you,” she confessed as she dug through her purse. She then removed a small object and placed it in my hand. “It’s perfect, right?” she said laughingly as I saw it was a small, sterling silver charm, shaped like – a penis. “Get it?” she asked, as she noticed the rather confused look on my face. “Uh, yeah. That’s really, uh, funny,” I awkwardly replied. Autumn also quickly appeared to become confused and nervously asked, “Well, you’re gay, right?” What? Holy cow — stop the presses! Let’s take a moment to ponder this. I was doing such a good job of finally not being a pig, that “Barbies” now perceived me, Chris Long, “DJ Chris,” the womanizing “Dead Serios guy” as being gay! I absolutely had to laugh out loud. Autumn’s face immediately became bright red with embarrassment when I set the record straight regarding my spiritual awakening and my lack of advances towards her. Then we both enjoyed a good laugh.

I ran into Autumn a few weeks later at a local music event and she presented me with another gift. “This one is a little more appropriate,” she commented as she handed me an awesome-looking black ring  featuring two  fabulous  silver crosses. It certainly was more appropriate and I truly appreciated the thought. Autumn and I also continue to enjoy a fantastic friendship.

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Read C'MON! in it's entirety 

Copyright 2012 / 2016 Christopher Long

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