I started a comic in 1996. It was weird how it happened, I was sitting in my small home in Duncanville, Texas, with my then-wife, and four small kids. In all accounts, we were a happy young household who was living the American Dream (yeah right).
But, I was miserable beyond belief. I was with someone that I did not want to be with, I did not love her. But, I messed up and I stayed true to me getting her pregnant and I raised my kids with a father.
I was in a false relationship, but I stayed with her because we had kids and I put my “business” where it should not have been during a time that I had “total” control of.
In that little community and in that setting of the church, school, and work I held true to the titles of what I thought a “father” should be and be because I was a “Christian” church-going, man.
I struggled with my faith. I entertained having affairs, leaving, running off to find the one person that I really wanted to be with, and I just hated my life. I watched porn (tons of it) and fantasized about another life. I joined the military (Texas Air National Guard) and I did anything that I could do to just not be home with her. I even attempted an MBA but was so screwed up I just dropped out.
It was during this time that I read the Bible a lot and even though I read it, I thought the church that I went to and the people that were associated with it were full of shit.
Man, I could not stand this thing called religion or the Pentecostal, Non-Denominational faiths. Tithes, church dinners, prayer warriors, praises dancers, worship programs and all the time men and women are crying and in pain due to real-world situations.
A lot of the pain these men and women had was from issues with sexual problems, sexual addictions, family issues, abuse, drugs, anger or a score of other issues that they needed help on. But, like many of us, we put our faith in the hands of a man who knew God and I like many that were taught were supposed to take it to the “church” and leave it on the altar for God to take care of. Even then I knew that the church was only part of a solution and it was not up to the church to solve my problems. It was mine and I own it and by any means necessary, I was going to fix it.
As I grew, I learned that “no man” or human man can help you like you can help yourself. Having a relationship was the key for me. Understanding that I needed something that I was missing in my life was huge. It was not the church, it was not the Bible, but it was my insecurities with myself and learning to have my heart free to love again.
I had to have real-world conversations with the creator of the universe. I knew that there was something bigger than me and something that I could not explain what was there.
I was in pain and I truly hurt. I hated people, cities towns and I felt this darkness over me when I came into contact with certain people. I knew that there was something going on and I did not know what it was but there was something that was weird that I was not attuned to.
Then a simple inner voice whispered and said, “…if you have a conversation with God, learn to listen.”
Well, no shit Sherlock. What does that mean I yelled. What the F**K is going on, I would yell to myself. Of course, I would never yell this out loud due to the fact that I was a young minister of the church and I was supposed to be above all the petty bullshit that is going on with others. Well, I was just as screwed up, if not more, than them.
It was then that I kept reading and really having some conversations about faith, heaven and hell, life, spirits and the worlds that are in between the natural and heavenly realms. I just kept asking questions and reading and asking more questions. I learned how to research Biblical terms, places, seek out references and learned to understand what time periods books and other information. I learned historic context and I asked a lot more questions until something happened.
It was a Saturday afternoon in Duncanville, Texas. I was sitting in the living room with my four kids, an awesome dog named Snoopy and my then-wife. We were just hanging out and the kids were watching Scooby Doo or something and I was enjoying the time with my kids when I heard a voice clear as day say, “…Lance!”
Startled I look around and was dumbfounded because I did not know what was going on or who said my name in a deep man’s voice.
Then he said again, “LANCE!”
I answered in an irritated voice, “WHAT!”
Then he said. “Make a comic of heaven and hell and the spiritual forces in between the heavenly and natural realms.”
I said, “Ummm, I do not know how to make a comic, and I do not know what that even means.”
Then he said, “I will show you the way.”
Hell, HE spoke to me on a Saturday watching Scooby-Doo, that should tell anyone that this was something special.
Fast forward about two years later, I started to voice my vision and get people to help me draw out this vision of what the voice told me to do. Oh, understand, I knew who HE was, and I know what HE told me to do, I just did not have a clue as to what and how to do it.
But, years later, kids are grown up, Snoopy has passed on, my then-wife and I went through a bitter and heavily feuded divorce and I am here now, with a new spouse, and two more kids added to the mix, one her’s and the other one ours.