Testimony: The Trip

The Messenger

I was heading west after driving across the country for at least a few weeks when I decided to stop in Pensacola where I was stationed many years before, mostly to see how much it had changed in over a quarter-century. I barely recognized the place it had changed so much and I didn’t think for the better. To me, it seemed as though the entire place had been completely destroyed by development. Even Pensacola beach appeared to be nothing but a wasteland of condominiums. What was once an absolutely beautiful white sand beach between a forest of palm trees and the Gulf of Mexico, was something I could barely stand to see. Unfortunately, this feeling was becoming all too familiar to me over the years.

So I did what anybody would have done, I went to a bar which I used to frequent and I ordered a glass of gin. As I was standing there alone, quietly swilling my drink down and minding my own business, a man came in and stood to my right at the bar and he ordered a beer. Naturally, I didn’t think too terribly much of that, other than, why didn’t you stand somewhere else? I continued to drink my gin and I tried to ignore the man’s presence as I stood there wondering what had happened to everything I once knew.

A minute or two passed and he said to me, “You know, I never go into bars.”

I shook my head and thought, what a brilliant thing to say. I looked at him and replied, “Well, you’re in one now…enjoy.” I wasn’t a happy camper to say the least and I just wanted to be left alone.

He chuckled and said, “I was told to come in here and give you a message.”

I really wasn’t in the mood to listen to this or anyone or anything at this point in my life, especially someone who apparently, at least in my view, was some sort of quack who was trying to involve me in something in which I wanted no part. But I said, “Yeah alright, who told you to come in here and give me a message?”

He said, “God told me to come in here and give you a message.”

Honestly, I didn’t know if I wanted to hit this guy or what. But after a few moments and some more of my gin I begrudgingly said, “OK, what’s the message?”

He said, “I was told to come in here and tell you not to do what you are thinking of doing,” and he smiled.

I suppose I remained expressionless as I looked at him, but what I was thinking was, how the…could you know what I’m planning on doing anyway? And of course, really, God told you to come in here and give me a message? All I could do was sigh and wonder why I bothered to stop there at that bar in the first place.

Back in those days I drank excessively, but I wasn’t a drunk, I just drank a lot. But I have to admit, it was the first time anyone had walked up to me and said anything like that and in that moment I can most assuredly say I would have preferred not to hear it at all. I really couldn’t believe what this man had just said, actually it was more disbelief than anything else.

Why would someone walk into a bar and stand next to a total stranger, especially someone who considered himself to be an atheist, and claim to be a messenger from God? And unequivocally state on top of that, he was told to come into that bar, at that time, specifically to give me a message? As far as I was concerned, things just kept getting worse. Fortunately, that was all he said with regard to his message, and I was not going to press the issue any further.

Somehow, we proceeded to talk about unrelated matters for a time as I swilled more gin. After we finished our drinks we went out back where we talked quite a bit more. It was the usual pleasant autumn night in the Florida panhandle and I was actually feeling much better than before, and not due to the gin. He seemed like a decent man and despite my attitude at first, I did enjoy speaking with him; he was a good old boy and I was happy to have met him that evening.

He told me what Parish he was from in Louisiana and he told me his name, then he said, “Don’t forget where I’m from or my name.” We shook hands and parted ways.

Of course as you would expect, much to my chagrin and due to my pigheadedness (meaning I didn’t take the advice he was sent there to give me), I can’t remember his name or the Parish from which he hailed. However, I did think quite a bit about what he said that evening and how that could have happened or have been possible, but a lot of water has passed under the bridge since that evening.

It was fairly late so I went next door and got a room and without much more thought on the subject I went to sleep. I suppose I didn’t sleep any better or any worse than any other night, it was without event. The following day after a gigantic breakfast at some greasy spoon it was time to hit the road. I guess I had seen and heard enough, so I continued to head further west.

I made more than a few stops as I meandered across the country on my way back to the Arizona desert. As pleasant as it was at times, it was equally unpleasant, but I did enjoy seeing that part of the country again. Over the course of the next few weeks there were many times when I thought about what that man said to me that night, and how the whole thing was even possible, but I never figured it out. I guess I really just wasn’t paying attention to what the messenger said to me at the bar that evening. I should have listened, it would have saved me a lot of trouble.

Looking back, I would say I was driving toward something, I suppose it was my death. My views during this period of time were pushing me toward something which I apparently couldn’t or wouldn’t stop. I was losing and soon a whole new set of events were about to unfold around me. Everything in my life was about to change and I didn’t even know it.

*

The Desert

It was mid November in the Arizona desert. I was probably an hour or so west of Phoenix and I remember thinking how I just couldn’t believe the rotten sequence of events which had come to pass. Yet, like a line of dominoes, I watched one fall onto the next until I believed they were all laying there on top of the table. At this point, there didn’t appear to be any solutions and I didn’t or wouldn’t see any answers, I only saw problems. So once again, I thought things just kept getting worse.

I remember as I was driving through the desert in the middle of nowhere, somewhat north of Yuma, I was listening to some talk radio and it was as if somebody had cut into the broadcast and said, “This is the first day of the rest of your life.”

Naturally, I found this to be quite odd as it had absolutely nothing to do with the broadcast which I was listening to at the time. Some time passed as I was driving and thinking about this and it reminded me of what the good old boy from Louisiana said to me a few weeks prior. But once again I just wasn’t listening, and quite frankly at this point, I really didn’t care.

One day as the sun was setting, I pulled into a rest stop on the side of the freeway. I drove down to the end where there weren’t any other vehicles, not that there were many vehicles there, I just didn’t want to be near anyone else. I sat there thinking and smoking for some time.

There didn’t seem to be any viable solutions to the problem which was facing me, which was the exact thing I had kept thinking for at least the last month or two. In hindsight, there were a myriad of options and solutions, but I simply wasn’t in a state of mind where I could recognize one even if it had slapped me across the face. It’s kind of funny how when someone is experiencing tunnel vision or just chooses to wear blinders they see things differently than you do. It certainly can be an interesting phenomenon, however unpleasant it may be.

As I sat there by myself at this rest stop, my mind was racing and I remember thinking about things that occurred in my life which I hadn’t thought of in many years. I’m not talking about one or two things, but what seemed to be hundreds. My life certainly had a wide variety of experiences over the years, both good and bad, like everyone else out there. I could remember people I hadn’t thought of in years, places I had been (and I have been to a lot of places within the U.S. as well as outside of her borders), childhood experiences, you name it. I probably thought about them all. But these thoughts weren’t mere fantasies or dreams, they were actual memories of occurrences going back four and a half decades.

Perhaps it was a result of the magic of the desert itself as I sat there on that picnic bench; the desert is a magical, wonderous place, so to speak. Or maybe it was just what happens to people who feel they are at the end of their rope, I really don’t know the answer. But what I do know, is what I saw and what I remembered happened with crystal clarity in a state of mind where time did not seem to apply.

I was extremely distraught to say the least and I simply didn’t have a clue as to how I should proceed. I was dumbfounded, the consequences of my downfall were absolutely staggering. Yet I was clueless as to how someone with a good education, a decent history and quite a fair amount of success could wind up in such a position. But there I was and it was almost laughable if it hadn’t been so pathetic. I figured, sometimes things are just what they are, and sometimes you just can’t do a thing about it…so I thought at the time.

Quite surprisingly, I actually found myself to be praying as I sat there. That is funny if you think about it, an atheist praying! What an oxymoron that is. But that is what I found myself doing. What’s even more odd, at least what I thought at the time, was I wasn’t praying for myself, but for everyone who had meant anything to me in my life. And I’m not talking about a short list either. I even prayed for people who were in positions of so-called authority (i.e., politicians) and believe me, I really don’t seem to care much for them at all. So there you have it, apparently I wasn’t an atheist after all.

But in my infinite wisdom I concluded the solution to the problem which was facing me at that moment, which was quite frankly the wrong answer that I had been driving myself toward over the course of weeks if not months and probably even years, was to simply end the problem with extreme prejudice. In other words, I was going to kill myself. Apparently, it seemed like the logical solution to the problem at the time. After all, don’t we need to pay a price for what we do and have done? Doesn’t our honor or dishonor dictate the price for our malfeasance, depravity and utter failure to be death? Well, dishonorable actions, much like beauty, can be in the eye of the beholder.

The truth is, the penalty for sin is death. And that penalty is not for us to mete out to ourselves through suicide, lest we pile more sin atop of sin in an unfathomable and perverted sense of right and wrong which solely intends to make a hell of heaven and a heaven of hell.

I have since learned, that this war in which we are engaged, which is a war of Good against evil, our adversary does everything he can to lead us astray. The attacks from our foe and his unholy confederates are fierce and sustained with the sole purpose of dragging us down with him into the abyss. It’s not easy to guard against these types of attacks, but we need to remain vigilant in our efforts so we may overcome the temptations. I know many people will disagree with my next statement of quasi-philosophy, but sometimes the only way you can win, is to lose.

There you have it, the wrong decision (or verdict if you will) was made. Now all that needed to happen was to execute judgment with regard to the sentence. How simple things can be when you are the judge, jury and executioner. At least, so I thought at the time. Soon I would find that not to be the case at all. But the course was set, now all that needed to happen was to find the destination. This proved to be much more illusive than I could have ever possibly dreamt. Truth really is stranger than fiction and what we may think of as surreal, oftentimes is much more real than we think. I was about to learn this lesson the hard way.

My location at the time appeared to be secluded and the thought crossed my mind to just step off into the shadows and commit my misdeed right then and there, but I suddenly thought that wasn’t such a good idea. What would happen if a family came by at some point to walk their dog and someone’s wife or child was forced to be a witness to such a gruesome sight? I really didn’t like the idea of that type of vivid imagery being stuck in someone’s head for the rest of their life, especially a child, because of me. Oh my, how considerate we can be at times…. So I thought the best thing to do was to find an alternate location which was much more secluded, after all, I was in the desert so how hard could that be?

As I drove east down the freeway in the darkness I was extremely tired, so tired in fact, my decision was becoming more and more logical in my mind and I suppose I was actually looking forward to the fruition of my ultimate transgression. How twisted my thought process had become. I wasn’t only losing the battles, but I was losing the war, and I wasn’t even aware what was really happening. How do you win a battle or a war if you don’t even know you are in one? I was oblivious to my own impending doom and I have no doubt about this now, Satan thought he was the cock of the walk that evening and quite soon he was going to have his victory to crow about. Unfortunately, I was going to hand it to him on a silver platter.

Suddenly, I came upon an exit which appeared to be the ideal location. It was seemingly nowhere, dark and secluded. So I took the exit and I turned right. Soon I came across another right turn off to a dirt road which led out into the desert. I drove down this dirt road and encountered what I thought was utter seclusion.

There were desert plants for cover from every direction, it was perfect. I pulled my car next to some large shrubs of some sort and I got out and looked around. Yes this was the spot I was looking to find. How does the saying go? Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find. I guess they both apply. The location itself was absolutely beautiful, there were mountains in the near distance to one side and stars as far as the eye could see, not to mention the quiet solitude of the desert.

The only implements of destruction which I had available to me at the time were some knives, so I thought things might work out better if my blood were thinned out a bit. I went to the trunk of my car and pulled out a pint of Jim Beam which I had bought at some point, I believe it was in Yuma, and I sat there in the cool desert evening drinking the whiskey and smoking cigarettes. This didn’t take long, I seriously doubt more than thirty minutes passed until the bottle was empty and I was ready. It’s funny, I was stone cold sober as I sat on the desert floor looking at that blade. I can remember saying to myself, “I just can’t believe this is how it ends,” as I shook my head in disbelief.

I took one last look around the desert and up at the stars in the sky, I lit what I figured was my last cigarette, and as it dangled from my lips, I asked God to forgive me for what I was about to do, even though I was going to do it anyway. I took the blade and cut deeply into one wrist and then the other. I put the knife in my shirt pocket and watched my blood pour out onto the desert floor.

I was somewhat surprised how it felt like I was cutting through cardboard rather than my own flesh, but I thought success was near. The blood was pouring out of my wrists onto the ground between my legs. I watched the pool as it was growing larger – it really was a massive amount of blood. So there I sat, bleeding to death in the desert as I smoked my last cigarette, so I thought. But before I could even finish the cigarette I was smoking, the blood just stopped pouring out of my wrists. It was like turning a faucet off; one second you have flow and the next you have nothing.

I couldn’t believe it. I was utterly stupefied, not one drop was coming out of my wrists, which I really didn’t think was possible. I took the rest of the half-smoked cigarette out of my mouth and I threw it into the pool of blood with disgust. “I can’t even do this right,” is what I thought at the time.

Don’t let it be said I go at things half-heartedly, I was going to have none of this. I became somewhat enraged at the failure of my first attempt, and I wasn’t going to allow that to happen again. Once more, I fished around my pocket for the knife, I pulled it out and I proceeded to make about eight more deep cuts across the veins of my arms, about four cuts on each arm total.

Once again, I put the knife back into my pocket and I sat there. This time my dark endeavor would not be abated. The cuts were deep and nothing was going to keep me from completing my assignment. I don’t know how long I sat there bleeding from the wounds, but I must have passed out from the massive blood loss, because I soon drifted into unconsciousness.

The next thing I remember was waking up. I could see the desert night sky in all its glory full of stars. I just couldn’t believe my eyes. Be assured, a steady stream of very colorful expletives were flowing out of my mouth at this point. But there I was, still alive, flopping around on the desert floor like a fish on the deck of a boat. I tried to get myself on my feet, but apparently the massive amount of blood I had lost made me quite dizzy. Each time I would try to get up I would go reeling off in one direction or the other right back down to the ground.

However, I continued to try to get myself on my feet and eventually I landed near my car. So I grabbed ahold of the vehicle and pulled myself up, only to go sliding down the side of the vehicle and back down to the ground. This happened a number of times, I don’t know how many times, but eventually I was able to get to the door and open it and set myself down.

I looked at the wounds on my arms and I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There was no clotting and there was no dirt in the gaping wounds, the blood just stopped flowing again. I was beside myself as I lit a cigarette and pondered what to do next. I pulled my watch out of my pocket and I looked at it under the dome light, it was after midnight. This had been going on for about three or four hours now, what a calamity this entire situation was. And to make matters even worse, I was extremely cold at this point, I suppose due to the massive blood loss combined with the cool autumn desert night.

The sight of the blood and the wounds didn’t make me sick, but the thought of another disastrous failure certainly wasn’t making me feel very good. Well, in spite of my failures, I wasn’t about to let this stop me. I was going to finish the job no matter what. But how? So I lit another cigarette as I sat there thinking. I guess plotting would have been a better term, I wasn’t really doing too much thinking that night.

As I looked into the rear view mirror the answer to my problem came to me, the jugular vein. Once again I fished around in my pocket for my knife, this time I was going to use my head as it were and do some real surgery. I felt for a pulse on the left side of my throat, I then took the blade and cut horizontally across the vein. Then to be sure, I opened the wound on my neck and cut it again even deeper. I repeated this procedure again on the same side. Then I felt for the pulse on the right side of my throat and I did the same. I could hear the blood gushing out of my neck as it landed in the car.

But this didn’t satisfy me, no, I wasn’t about to fail again. This time I was going to achieve success no matter what. I remembered (or Satan reminded me) that I had a hunting knife under the seat, so I pulled it out and I unsheathed the knife. I then opened one of the wounds on the right side of my throat and jammed the tip of the instrument into my neck while looking into the rear view mirror. When I pulled it out it was a bit like a small waterfall of blood hitting the passenger seat.

I returned the knife to its sheath and put it back under the seat. As I sat back, I was wholly satisfied in my wickedness, I knew this time I would not fail. I could see and hear the blood pumping out all over the place, it was quite an unholy mess. When I closed my eyes I knew that nothing could stop my undertaking…so I thought, as I fell into unconsciousness once again.

Oddly enough, I felt at peace for the first time in I don’t know how many months. I figured I had killed myself and that was it, the end. I was only waiting for the fat lady to sing. What an unconscionable and despicable sense of morality (or should I have just said immorality), we can display at times.

I remember nothing more of that night.

**

The Witnesses

Have you ever been sleeping when some type of infernal racket wishes otherwise? My slumber, or mental torpor, was suddenly interrupted by a series of thuds until this clamor irritated me enough so my eyes opened. I recognized the desert and the sun. I absolutely couldn’t believe my eyes, it was morning and I was still there. I’ll have to say it again, things really were just getting worse.

I looked to my left where there was a man wearing a uniform. He was holding a radio in one hand and he was banging on the window with his flashlight with the other. I opened the door and I swung my feet out onto the ground, then I sat there looking at him. His expression was both disbelief and horror mixed. I said something to him but I can’t remember what it was.

However I do remember what he said. He lifted up his radio and said, “I can’t believe it, this guy is sitting here talking to me.”

This man was an Arizona Department of Transportation cop, although at that moment I’m sure he wished he wasn’t one. His eyes were wide and unnerved as he asked me what had happened. I told him the story from beginning to end, including all of the events which led me to this point. I fished around in my pocket and handed him the blade which I had originally used. I watched him look around. I think he was in a bit of shock at the sight of all the blood spread about the desert floor, the inside and outside of my car, and of course all over me. I was severely cut open to put it mildly.

He asked me to sit tight while he got me some help and he assured me I was safe. He really was a decent man, and I felt sorry to put him through such an ordeal. So I said, “okay,” and I lit up a cigarette. I looked at my watch and it was about eight o’clock in the morning, approximately twelve hours had passed since my base endeavor began.

As I sat there smoking while the ADOT officer spoke on the radio and attended to his duties, I looked in the mirror and I just couldn’t believe what I saw. The wounds on my throat were deep and wide open, just like you would see on a fish you have just sliced into while gutting him. Once again, there was no clotting whatsoever. Somehow the blood had just stopped pumping out, although a lot did pump out, the passenger seat and driver’s side door of my car were absolutely covered in blood. I really didn’t have much choice at this point, so I just sat there smoking in disbelief. History really does repeat itself.

Finally, the man came back over and spoke to me. He asked me to tell him the story again. So I began with what had led me to such depths of moral turpitude right up to the present. I think when people hear such stories which are related to financial ruin it tends to bother them a bit more, after all, it could happen to anyone right? He had to comment on my extensive wounds, he just couldn’t believe I was actually sitting there talking to him, but I wasn’t a spectre and he knew that for a fact.

He said, “We only see these types of wounds either on people who are in the morgue or on their way there.”

I told him about how each time the blood would just stop flowing from the gashes. It was just like someone had put their finger on each wound and then it would stop bleeding.

He said, “God must have a plan for you; there must be something He wants you to do.”

Of course, as previously stated, I wasn’t a happy camper, and this man was aware of that. He continued to reassure me that everything was going to be alright and people were coming to help me. I just sat there smoking with a dejected look on my face.

It wasn’t too long before the firemen showed up. They came over and looked at me, then they looked at each other and then back at me. I knew they couldn’t believe their eyes either and I was correct. They asked me what happened and just as I had done with the ADOT cop, I told them everything from start to finish.

They all said pretty much the exact same thing, “God must have something He wants you to do. We only see these types of wounds on dead men.”

While the firemen were examining my wounds, they appeared to be a bit stymied by what they saw. They discussed their options as an ambulance and Sheriff’s Deputy arrived. Everyone had the exact same look on their faces, utter disbelief, horror and either shock or awe, or maybe it was all of the above. Each one asked me the same questions and I gave the same answers.

The only difference was the Sheriff’s Deputy, each time I would tell him what had happened and he would start to walk away, he would then stop and turn around and come back and ask me, “Are you sure nobody did this to you?”

Each time I told him, “No, I did this to myself.” Finally after a few rounds of this I said, “Didn’t you see the note I left for you?” I thought my suicide note spelled it all out, but disbelief oftentimes makes one do a double take. His response was in the affirmative, but apparently he just couldn’t believe what his eyes had seen.

Much like everyone else the Sheriff’s Deputy was no different. As he was standing there looking around at all the blood and my wounds, he said, “God must have something He wants you to do.”

I honestly felt horrible for putting all these nice people through such hell. But the djinn was out of the bottle and there was no way I could put him back inside. It’s been said that once you take the devil into your mouth you’re doomed, but I will have to disagree with that now. There is forgiveness in repentance and reverence towards God, even if you don’t realize that is what you are doing at the time, as long as it’s absolutely one hundred percent sincere. At least that’s what happened to me out there in the Arizona desert that night.

The ambulance people came over and we went through the same old song and dance as before. Finally, the decision between the firemen and the aid unit folks was to just put some gauze on the wounds and tape them up until they could get me to the hospital. So that’s what they did, then they put me in the ambulance and we drove off. Not much was said other than the routine questions which were required with regard to the duties of the medics.

But they did say, “We only see these types of wounds on people who are on their way to the morgue, God must have some purpose for you.” I didn’t know what to think.

We finally arrived at the hospital, I suppose it was the emergency room, not that I really knew at the time. A doctor and a nurse came over to me and as they looked at me I could tell we were going to go through the exact same thing again. They were looking at each other with looks of disbelief on their faces. They asked me what happened and I told them. I believe they were quietly contemplating what I had just said because they were standing there looking at me kind of funny.

The nurse came up to me with a large pair of scissors. I asked her what she thought she was doing and she said she needed to cut my shirt off. Of course I was going to have none of that.

I told her, “Are you nuts? You are not going to cut up a tailor-made shirt from Hong Kong.”

She looked at the doctor with such a look of astonishment at what I had just said. After all, here is a man who has cut himself to ribbons and he thinks I’m nuts just because I have to cut off his shirt. Now that’s crazy! So she acquiesced. I got on my feet and attempted to take the shirt off. It must have looked like a comedy routine to them, because I was getting nowhere. Finally, when I gave up and I admitted that I couldn’t get the shirt off, she gave a little smile as she cut it off me. I felt sorry for my shirt.

I told them I needed to clean myself up a little and they looked at each other and back at me and said, “Alright.” They gave me some towels and some wash-cloths and of course one of those stupid hospital gowns before they gave me some space. I was able to undress myself the rest of the way and clean myself up the best I could, there really was a clear improvement. They finally came back in and began their examination. They just shook their heads. I have no doubt they see it all at one time or another.

They wanted to give me some of their pharmaceutical drugs, but I was adamant in my refusal. I don’t think they could believe it, but I’m sure they probably figured I would change my mind soon enough. They would be wrong.

The doctor basically said since there was no bleeding, even though there was no clotting, he wanted to go ahead and take some pictures to find out what was going on in my neck. I understood, my throat really was quite a mess. So they put me on one of those tables and began to roll me down the hall. I was very cold because of what I’d done, in fact I was freezing, but they were nice enough to give me some blankets to keep warm. Finally I was at the CAT Scan room, and they put me in the tube. They took their pictures of my neck and rolled me back to where I had started, pretty much without incident.

As I was laying there, I realized I was extremely hungry. I asked a nurse if I could get something to eat. She agreed and went to get me something when a young Sheriff’s Deputy who was there came over to me. I felt sorry for him, he looked as though he would have rather been anywhere else at that very moment. I could tell he just felt horrible for me and I’m sure he already knew the entire story, after all, it was written all over his face. But he had to perform his task.

I remember asking him in a sardonic manner if he was going to arrest me for attempted suicide or something. He said no, I guess he figured I had already punished myself enough. But he did set down an envelope with the usual junk: watch, keys, wallet, ring, etc., and then he asked me to sign on the dotted line.

I almost started to laugh as I said, “I don’t think I’m going to be able to write.”

I don’t think he cared about what kind of scribble he got as long as he got one. But he was nice and he wrote down where I could find my vehicle when I was able. At this point I was really tired and I asked one of the doctors if I could sleep for a while, he agreed and stated it would be a while for the x-rays anyway. So I fell asleep.

At some point, I’m not sure when, a doctor came in and sat down next to me and somehow I knew I wasn’t going to like what he was going to say. He was smiling and just talking to me, asking me how I was and stuff like that.

Then of course the part I knew I wasn’t going to like came. He said, “If you ask me to get you some help I can (hint hint, wink wink), otherwise….”

All I could picture was the movie ‘One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest’. That was a prospect which did not seem too appealing. So, after a pause, I asked him if he could get me some help. He just smiled and said he would catch me after a while, I wasn’t going anywhere.

I must have fallen back asleep, because when I awoke there was an entire wake of buzzards, or group of doctors if you will, just standing there looking at me shaking their heads. They said, “According to these x-rays you should have cut your jugular vein at least a few times. The wounds appear to go right through the vein and much deeper, but we can’t find even the smallest nick. It’s impossible, and we can’t explain this.” They were all in agreement. The next thing they said really surprised me, mostly because it was coming out of the mouths of doctors. They said, “God must have something He wants you to do.” Again they all nodded in agreement. They were also in agreement that I would be needing some sort of surgery at some point to repair the extensive damage which I had done to my wrists and I supposed on that point they were right.

The next doctor was a young man and as he was looking at my wounds, he was telling me that he was going to have to try to clean them out due to the risk of infection. He said he wanted to give me something for the pain, but I declined.

He said, “You must already be in a lot of pain and this is going to be very uncomfortable, so let me give you something for the pain. This is going to take a while.”

I told him not to worry about it, after what I had done to myself, how bad could it be? Besides, I really didn’t feel anything at that point. But he kept at it and he finally talked me into some novocaine, but with only little pricks around the wounds with this pen-like thing he had.

As he was looking at the wounds, I think I commented on the lack of clotting and debris in them. He was in agreement that what he was looking at was extremely unusual to say the least. But of course he said, “God must have a purpose for you.” I was almost getting used to this by now, but I still didn’t know what to think.

He was right, it really didn’t feel good after a while. By the time he was done I had eighty some odd staples and with stitches, I was up well over a hundred total. I was a serious mess. Of course, he then wrapped me up with gauze. I looked like some sort of mummy, well not quite that good, but I was quite a sight. At this point, approximately twenty-four hours had passed since I first sat down on the desert floor and cut my wrists.

The headshrinker did finally return and he told me he got me into a place that was real good and I wouldn’t have any problems. I really didn’t want to hear any of this, but he also told me he was happy I made the right decision. I suppose more was said but I really can’t remember. Then an ambulance came and took me away into the night.

***

Thanksgiving

I finally arrived, I didn’t know where, but I had arrived. I was taken up an elevator and over to two large men who were behind a desk. They looked like bar bouncers more than anything else, but they were actually people who worked there.

Immediately, they came around and said, “Hi Brett, you’re going to be with us for a while, but don’t worry, you’ll be safe with us.” As if I cared.

Then they introduced themselves. I wasn’t happy and I was dead tired. But we managed to get through the preliminary nonsense paperwork and one of them said that the other was going to be my new sidekick for a while, so if I needed anything, just ask him. They meant it too, one of those big guys was with me every night and someone else during the day. It was one of those around the clock things. I guess they didn’t trust me to not try to finish the job. Well, that was it exactly, and they made that point clear. But they were both pretty cool and I found that out as I got to know them better over the next month.

My sidekick took me to a room with a couple of beds, the one nearest the door was unoccupied, so I sat down and took off my shoes. As I was throwing some blankets over me I noticed my sidekick setting a chair in the doorway, he really wasn’t going anywhere.

He just smiled at me and said, “We’ll talk in the morning.”

I don’t really know, but I’m sure I was out as soon as I closed my eyes. I didn’t wake up all night. When I did wake up, I was taken into a room with some couches and a television. It was there I met my new day sidekick. Other patients were there as well, they were all being rounded up for breakfast, but not me. I wasn’t going anywhere. I did notice they were all looking at me, I guess even they were having a hard time with what they were seeing. So there I was with my new shadow. Not much was really said until someone brought me something to eat, which was a good thing because I really was famished. I can’t say I was very happy to be sitting there, but there I was nonetheless.

At least a couple of days passed with my sidekicks and it was now Thanksgiving day as I sat in that room with the couches and my new companion, talking about a variety of topics. I didn’t realize it at first, but they were feeling me out to see where I was at.

I have to hand it to them because they really were quite good at their jobs. These men knew quite a lot about my life from childhood to the present and I didn’t even know what they were doing, or maybe I just wasn’t paying all that much attention. I really don’t know, but I’m sure it was one or the other. They were also integrating me into their little society bit by bit.

When the smoking lamp was lit and we would all go out into a fenced in patio area and people would offer me cigarettes. I was grateful because I had nothing, not even a jacket. All of my stuff was in my vehicle somewhere else. Fortunately, one of the workers did come and slip me a hoodie one night. He knew I was cold and he was taking a big risk as it was against the rules, but I’ll never forget what he did. On the front of the hoodie it said ‘Bare Knuckle Boxing’. In a strange sort of way, that was very appropriate.

They were all beginning to really understand me. My refusals to take their pharmaceutical drugs were steadfast even though I was in a great deal of pain, which they knew. But I explained my reasoning, which was, if I couldn’t think then what was the point? Most of them agreed.

The different problems facing the patients there at the hospital ran the gamut; suicide attempts, the attention-getting fake suicide attempts, drug overdoses, drug addicts, people who wanted drugs, people who wanted off drugs. You name the reason, they were all valid, and they all were some sort of danger to themselves which was readily apparent. Meanwhile I had apparently become less of a danger to myself and I was going to be allowed to go down to the cafeteria and eat with everyone else. That seemed like a pleasant prospect to me at the time.

Then one day the truth started to come out. I was out smoking with this doctor one afternoon, we were the only ones out there, except for one of my sidekicks. This guy was pretty sly, I didn’t realize he was trying to piss me off, but that’s what he was doing. And he poked around until he found the correct buttons to push. He hit a bunch of nerves with his questions and he really was irritating me. Then he eventually wound up talking about how I had taken care of Mary for years by myself in her old age and dilapidated state. This was one of those subjects which I could easily go from zero to psychotic in a blink of an eye while discussing.

Obviously the job was much too large for any one man to handle, but my stubbornness simply wouldn’t allow me to bend. But I felt it was not only my duty to help her out, but my pleasure.

This guy went out of his way to ask me in a sarcastic manner, “Just who exactly told you that was your responsibility anyway?”

This was not something I was pleased to hear from some dope dealer in a white coat. Needless to say, I was indignant. If my response was what he was trying to elicit, then he got it in spades. I was irate as I answered, “I did,” probably followed by a string of colorful words that would make a sailor blush. That was it, I was beside myself to say the least. If my arms had been in working condition, I’m sure we would have had a problem. Basically, I came apart at the seams, probably because I couldn’t hit the genius. What a mess it was. When I pulled myself back together and looked at him, I can’t remember exactly, but I’m sure I had a few more choice words for him.

He just smiled and said,  “We’ll talk later.”

I asked my sidekick if he had any smokes. He found a couple for me and we stood there alone and talked a bit while I smoked. It took quite a while for my anger to subside, but it finally did. I suppose that was one of the turning points and they all knew it.

As I was beginning to be involved with the daily routine of this place, not only did I lose my sidekick, but I quickly noticed what was really going on with many of the people who were there. It appeared as though there were a couple of set times every day when the administrators would dispense their pharmaceutical drugs. Many of the patients would be lined up ahead of time for this event.

I couldn’t believe the voracious appetite some of these people had for these meds. Of course everyone had to go in and speak with the person who was doing the dispensing, and that included me. The only difference was, I would flatly refuse to take any of their drugs and I suppose people who were addicted to drugs got none, or at least not what they wanted.

I have no doubt there was a great deal of discussion amongst the people who worked there about my refusals. If you were to look about the place, clearly you would think this guy needs more help, painkillers or whatever, than the rest. But I’m not so certain that was the truth. I believe in some way I had made some allies within the staff due to my refusals, and as a result, they were looking out for me.

Quite frankly, my take on the subject is simple, the vast majority of these folks should have just been given placebos. I would be willing to bet that without their knowledge that they were taking sugar pills, or whatever is in a placebo, they would have been perfectly content in their minds that they wanted the drugs and they had gotten them. Of course, I’m not a drug dealer in a white coat with a string of meaningless letters behind my name, so what could I possibly know.

Many of these patients seemed to be involved in a revolving door type of situation, but all I wanted at this point was to do the program and never come back. I had already come to realize there were many options available to me and I simply disregarded them all. I also was able to admit that what I did was the stupidest thing I had ever done in my life and I have committed my fair share of stupid acts, just like most people have. So as I spoke with the people who were there, I found that many, if not most, had been there before and not just once or twice and I didn’t want to be one of them.

I don’t mean to sound condescending, but this hospital was really nothing more than a security blanket for people who simply refused to try to get their acts together. I’m not suggesting the patients didn’t have real problems that needed to be dealt with before it was too late and I’m not suggesting the staff was not trying to do their best to get through to the patients and sincerely help them. What I am suggesting is oftentimes, just as the saying goes, ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink’. If people don’t want to deal with the problem, it isn’t going away. That’s what I saw while I was there.

I found this to be extremely unfortunate because if you looked at the program these folks had for their patients, it wasn’t a terribly bad one. The only thing was, people actually had to take part in the program for it to be effective and they had to want to do this. Obviously you can’t force someone to do something they don’t want to do. But as far as I am concerned, you can take away their crutch and make them face the reality of the situation at hand, whatever that might be. I suppose my crutch, or at least one of them, was my pigheaded arrogance.

Daily there would be some sort of meeting where people would state why they were there, what led them to this point and what do they think they can do to solve the problem. Many went along with what was being done, but many seemed to have a bit of a flip attitude towards the whole thing. I will admit some of the folks were probably using humor in order to get through something they found to be very difficult. Some of those people really were a riot. Unfortunately, many of those same individuals were a part of that revolving door I spoke of previously.

I figured at this point I was pretty well beaten anyway, financially and/or otherwise, so the best thing was to just go ahead and get it over with as quickly as possible. There was absolutely no way I was going to leave there hooked on painkillers, or twisted on some sort of mood-stabilizers or any of that nonsense. Maybe that’s why I’ve never been back and why I had made some allies. But the fact was, I was going to be there for a while. Not only was I not able to turn a door handle, but I couldn’t even straighten out my arms due to all the staples. There were those who called me T-Rex for obvious reasons.

Finally, the wounds had healed just enough so I was able to take a much-needed shower. And as you might guess, for this I’m sure they figured I would need a temporary sidekick due to the razor. This man knew I was going to need some help, physically as well as with the pain, so he offered on both counts and I politely declined on both counts. He figured I would change my mind. As I was getting myself undressed and into the shower, he could see I was in a great deal of pain. Yet I still wouldn’t accept any help in the way of mild painkillers or physical assistance.

By the time I was finished, I thought the poor man was going to pass out or get sick from watching me struggle, but I can assure you, I was never going to acquiesce. That was the toughest shower I have ever taken. When it came to shaving that wasn’t too easy either, because there was no way they were going to let me use scissors to cut my beard. So it went little by little with a disposable bic razor, it must have taken over an hour just to shave.

I remember my temporary sidekick saying, “You are one strong man.”

I’m pretty sure I was in total disagreement on that point. After all, I was there because of weakness and not strength, plus there was the great deal of pain I was in at the moment simply because I wouldn’t accept any assistance. Now if he had said I was the most stiffnecked person he had ever met, I probably would have agreed with him. Nonetheless, it was an improvement and I felt and looked much better.

One day I was speaking to one of the men who worked there, he was a former US Army medic and I really got along well with him. We were talking about what I had done and my thoughts on the subject as they related to whether or not I would continue on that same path of destruction. Then a funny thing happened. As I was standing there in his office and he was talking, I felt as though I was lifted up out of my body and all of a sudden I was back in the desert looking down on myself. I was actually watching myself go through the entire event again just as it had happened that one night. I don’t know how long this took, but I’m guessing the entire twelve hours probably only took a few minutes at most from beginning to end.

When I arrived back in my body, as it were, I looked at him and he was looking at me kind of strange. It wouldn’t surprise me if he had asked me if I was alright, after all I was still quite a mess. I told him what just happened. We were both kind of stunned, but he was a God-fearing man and he took that as a sign that I was indeed on the correct path, meaning I wasn’t going to do anything that rash again. I didn’t really understand it a whole lot, but I suppose the truth is, because I was actually trying to make some progress in the right direction and I was fully aware at this point what I had done was incredibly stupid as well as the realization that my conduct was an affront to God Himself, I was being given a little gift to help me along the way. It was definitely a very unusual experience to say the least.

Something else we discussed was the fact that I was outside in the desert for at least four or five hours with blood all over me and the desert floor. Now, where were the coyotes that night? Let’s face it, animals can smell blood at a distance and in the desert a free meal is just that, a free meal. I know the man I was talking to thought an angel kept things away from me that night, but at the time I didn’t know. When I had the experience when I was looking down on myself, I only saw myself out there in the desert. There was nothing there and there was nobody else present that I could see.

About this time is when they wanted my wounds to start getting some air. I guess this made me somewhat of a novelty, because I was the only one around who looked so bad.

The odd thing was, there were actually patients who would come up to me and say things like, “Wow man, that’s cool. I wish I had that kind of guts.”

Unfortunately there was this one young woman who I believe was actually drooling as she looked at my wounds. Needless to say, my response to these individuals wasn’t what they wanted to hear. Basically, I would say they got a mild chewing out as I told them how wrong they were, but I doubt they were listening. I know how that is.

I would speak to these guys who were my former sidekicks and as we were discussing things, this subject would arise. They were in agreement, but there was only so much they could do. The funny thing was, I had gone from being a huge risk as far as recidivism goes, to not being any type of threat at all. In fact, I heard a few of them tell me I might be the sanest patient they had despite what I had done. So it came to pass where one day one of these men asked me to talk to one of the patients. Presumably it was because I was quite a bit older than most combined with the fact that I had attempted suicide, with zeal I might add, and I now whole-heartedly felt that was a huge mistake.

I didn’t have anything better to do so I agreed. The young man I am referring to wanted to know something about San Francisco. Well, I used to live there so I asked him what it was he wanted to know about the city. Sadly, his only interest was in the Golden Gate bridge.

Naturally I asked him why and his response was something like, “It’s the perfect place to jump from.”

Well what else could he have possibly wanted to know? So I informed him I didn’t think that was a very wise idea, as I held out my arms for him to look at, after all I did know what I was talking about.

I went on to ask him if he had any family. He said he did in one of the southeastern states, I believe it was Georgia. So, I asked him how his parents were? Apparently they were old, but still alive. I suggested that instead of going west to the Gate, why not go east and help your parents out. I should have realized this thought hadn’t crossed his mind, I’m proof of that.

He looked at me and said, “That’s not a bad idea.”

At least he had something new to think about. Where he eventually went, east or west, I couldn’t tell you.

My wounds were healing at an incredible rate, which nobody could believe. I’m not saying they weren’t an ugly sight, because they were, but they were healing rapidly and there was no infection at all. This had many people slightly curious, both the people who worked there and their patients. The general consensus was God was healing me at a miraculous rate and at that point I kind of believed it was true. And all without the help of their pharmaceuticals, how about that! It certainly appeared as though the list of people who were witnessing these unexplainable events was growing, and these events were being attributed to God’s forgiveness and YESHUA’s love for me. I didn’t realize this was the case at the time, but I do believe it now. Generally speaking, hindsight is 20/20.

Although I was getting near the point where I could be released, they weren’t going to allow me to go until my wounds were completely healed and I had some use of my arms. That was probably a good call on their part, like I said, I couldn’t really open a door by myself without a great deal of struggle, because my arms were still full of staples. So we continued on as before and I saw a lot of people come and go, but I really did want to get out of there.

Finally the day came when they were going to take out the staples. I saw this one doctor who I hadn’t seen before, I guess he was an M.D., and I have no doubt he was still ‘practicing medicine’ because he really was an unpleasant individual who thought it was his job to make me understand that when he says you need painkillers you take them. Well, he wasn’t going to get his way so he made the removal process as painful as he could. I suppose if the staples had been in my leg, I probably would have hit him in the mouth.

The genius even left part of at least one staple in my arm. I got one of the men who worked there to take it out and I have the feeling he gave that so-called doctor a piece of his mind. He really wasn’t to terribly pleased and neither was I. Needless to say, I was in a tremendous amount of pain from the ordeal.

Sometimes there were things which were said by staff members which I did not agree with at all. Not that I would create an argument, but I seemed to be as capable as most to disagree, but at least I gave them some valid reasoning to support my position. One day this woman who worked there and dispensed meds asked me the same old questions as she tried to give me painkillers and those mood-stabilizers like always. Of course, I would decline.

On this one occasion she asked me, “Do you have any desire to harm yourself or anyone else?”

I just couldn’t resist the impulse, so I said, “Well, maybe Osama bin Laden.”

She couldn’t believe what I had just said and she made it clear that wasn’t a good thing. As I stood there listening to her ‘kumbaya’ garbage, I pretty much asked her what she would think if bin Laden walked through the door right at that moment, and if she wouldn’t consider killing him or want him dead, whether it’s right or wrong. She had to agree in that case, but still, I was supposed to be a good boy. I was able to walk out of her office that day with more of a smile on my face than usual. Of course, she didn’t learn anything that day; she was exactly the same each and every day.

One time they were doing karaoke, which I didn’t take part in other than to watch. But as I was looking through the list of songs I had to get up and ask the guy why songs like ‘Sick Things’ and ‘I Love the Dead’ were on the list. It really seemed inappropriate considering where we were. Don’t get me wrong, I like Alice Cooper as much as the next guy, but really! ‘No More Mister Nice Guy’ or ‘School’s Out’ would have been better choices. From the look on the man’s face, I could tell he had not considered that before. Sometimes it’s the little stuff people like to gloss over, especially when they shouldn’t. But all in all, watching those people attempt to sing, and I do mean attempt, was pretty amusing.

Maybe another week went by before I was actually ready to go on my way. My manual dexterity was something of a mystery to people. It appeared as though I had full use of my arms and hands, of course there were still some things I couldn’t do, but it was apparent all I needed was more time and I was going to be in pretty good shape. The wounds had all closed but they were still pretty gruesome looking, especially my wrists. I was wondering if they were actually going to return to normal or not.

Over the course of this month, I found that I would lay there in bed at night and pray before going to sleep. This was definitely a new development. This had never really been the case, with the exception of when I was a little boy. I would guess most mothers tell their children to say their prayers before going to sleep at night. But there I was, praying before going to sleep and even in the morning when I would awake. Each night I was grateful to have been given another chance and another day and I was grateful I was given the opportunity to go through another day each morning. Not that I really understood much of what had really happened in the spiritual sense or why, but at least I was on the right path. I still had a long road ahead of me and I knew it wasn’t going to be all that pleasant or easy most of the time.

Part of that unpleasantness reared its ugly head before I could leave the hospital when I had to visit with a lady from social services. This did not make me happy and of course it really wasn’t a secret I had about a quarter to my name, so this was of some concern to them. I didn’t like the idea of being on public assistance, but she convinced me that I had nothing to lose. She would help me fill out the paperwork and she would send it off to wherever it needed to go. She said when I was able, I wouldn’t need it anymore. Well, I guess we all have a bit of an ego and I can assure you mine had been seriously deflated at this point in time.

The big day came and I was finally ready to get out of that place. They had my assurance that I had a place to stay and I would be able to get a bit of financial assistance just to get me going. I won’t go into who I was going to be staying with because I really don’t want to create any type of problem for the man and his family. But I will say this, he was risking his position in order to do an act of Christian charity. So I walked out of that hospital one fine sunny December day. I remember standing out on the street in the warm Arizona sun smoking a cigarette; I was a free man and it really was a good feeling.

****

Convalescence

A friend came and picked me up and he said we were going to his house. I was somewhat apprehensive because he had a family and I didn’t know how that was going to work out. But we arrived and his wife was a nice lady and his family was equally so. There I was in my inglorious state, but at least I had the chance which I was given rather than the futile alternative which I had zealously attempted the previous month. But after a day or two, I would say I was adjusting pretty well to my new environment and I definitely had my former sidekicks as well as these people to thank. Of course in hindsight, I have YESHUA to thank most of all.

I was able to get ahold of one of my brothers and another friend of mine. The plan was to head back to northern California to finish my recuperation. But first I needed to stop down in southern California to see my brother. Neither of them actually knew anything about what had happened, I told them that they would have to wait and hear it in person. Telling them over the telephone somehow seemed inappropriate to say the least.

One of the first orders of business was to get my vehicle which had some of my clothes in the trunk. I got a ride to where my car had been impounded and I paid for its release. I was kind of surprised that they really didn’t soak me for having it there a month, but I was grateful as I followed my friend home. Naturally, this was the first time I had seen the car since my day of infamy, if I’m allowed to use that term. I couldn’t believe the amount of blood everywhere. The outside and inside looked like something out of a B-rated horror movie. But my car started right up and it got me where I needed to go over the course of the next six years.

Once we got back to my friend’s house, I did my best to clean the mess up. It wasn’t easy, but once I was done with the cleaning you really couldn’t tell anything had happened inside or out. Things were actually looking up for a change. I remember over the next week or so I was pretty self-conscious about the wounds, but I was beginning to have a greater range of motion in my arms each day. I got over the self-conscious bit fast enough, the doctor really did a good job putting me back together, plus I had been healing at a fast pace. Even the new scars weren’t too terribly bad when you consider the extent of the wounds. But it was all getting better each day.

There was a very little girl who lived across the street with some relatives of the people I was staying with and she would be over at the house daily. As it turned out, the little girl liked me and she was always sitting either with me or on me. Apparently, the scars didn’t bother her at all and for all I know, all of her hanging on me while I was there may very well have helped the healing process. But that’s pure speculation.

I should also note that while I was there my friend’s wife insisted that I hold a baby. This may seem like no large feat, but until that point I had never once held a baby. So there you have it, the kids didn’t seem to mind or at least they didn’t hold it against me.

While I had a little time I figured I would explore around the area. Basically, I would walk up a couple of miles and go have a couple of frosty mugs of beer. It doesn’t seem like much, but there was a certain sense of normalcy that was added to the whole process and series of events which had taken place.

One day I picked a grapefruit off one of the trees and I remember thinking that was the best grapefruit I had ever eaten. Of course, it was the first one I ever picked off a tree, but to be fair, Arizona grapefruit really is outstanding. When your life is a mess, I suppose it’s the little things that have a tendency to add up the most.

After a day or so, I received an e-mail from an old friend who lived overseas with his phone number which I had forgotten. So I called him up one day before I left for California. When he answered the phone and heard it was me, we talked for a minute. Then I said, “I really shouldn’t tell you this over the phone, but it’ll probably be some time before I can get back over there.”

His response wasn’t what I had expected, he just started laughing and said, “I know what you’re going to tell me.”

I admit I was kind of ticked off and I wanted to argue the point about how he could possibly know what I was going to tell him. But because he was insistent, I gave in and he proceeded to prove his point. Then all I had to do was tell him the details of what had happened.

What was really strange, was what he said next. Basically, he said, “Yeah, I knew you were in trouble and you needed some help. One day while I was doing something, I was told to get on my knees and pray for Brett, now.” So he did. He also told me how he realized there wasn’t someone else doing something to me, but I had hurt myself. Of course, he prayed for quite a while that I would get help from God and that I would have a speedy recovery.

Now, this guy is half way around the world and I’m thinking how could he possibly have known that? Well it didn’t stop there.

He told me about his two aunts and his mother who were all elderly, and apparently they all woke up out a sleep in the livingroom more or less at the same time one day and looked at him and asked, “How’s Brett, have you heard from him lately?” I guess that was either before or after he was told to start praying for me.

I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but I have known these people since I was a freshman in high school. He knew things that I didn’t tell him, granted it was all in a very general sense, but what can I say other than he was right on the money.

After pondering for a couple of days what I just heard from half way around the planet, it was time for me to head further west. The people I was staying with gave me a Bible for my journey even though I’m not really sure if I had come around to believing you should actually read the Bible instead of using it for a paperweight. My first stop was in southern California where one of my brothers lives. I arrived while he was still at work so I went and got something to eat and I goofed around a bit. I wasn’t sure how I was going to tell him what I did, but I figured it would work itself out, one way or the other.

When I met up with him that evening. He suggested we go get a couple of drinks first. He knew there was something I had to say to him and even though he had no idea what it was, he said, “Knowing you I’m probably going to need a drink.” I hate to admit it, but he was right.

There we were swilling a couple of drinks down and I said, “I might as well just show you.” So I pulled up my sleeves. I could tell his mind was racing as he was standing there looking at my arms and my throat. I’m pretty certain he didn’t know what to say so I figured I would break the silence, I said, “I’ll bet you want to hit me don’t you?”

He looked at me and naturally he answered in the affirmative, but he said, “That really wouldn’t do any good now would it?”

Well, at least we were in agreement on something. I went ahead and told him the story and I could tell he wasn’t too pleased to hear any part of what I was saying to him.

We stood there and drank a few more drinks as I told him what my plans were. I have no doubt in some way he was in a bit of shock at what he had just seen and heard. At some point he said, “You have always gone way too far with everything.” I could tell he was pissed off. But he said, “I’ll go further than most people, but then I’ll stop. Maybe in the future you should think, how far would I go and then don’t go any further than that.”

So I looked at him and said, “Are you trying to tell me to be Brett-lite?”

He started to laugh and pretty much said, “Yeah.”

Of course we spent some time looking at the wounds, after all, you know how difficult it is not to look at a train wreck. He said I rarely went halfway with anything, and he did say he wasn’t too terribly pleased with what he had just heard and saw. I suppose this was just another incident he had witnessed over a period of decades of knowing me which made him think I was some sort of psycho. I have to admit, I figured he would fly off the handle when I told him, but he maintained pretty well. I guess it was the result of all those John Wayne movies he watched as a boy.

Nevertheless, he through some cash at me and told me to pay him back when I could. Later on, he took me over to some motel nearby where I crashed for the night before heading north the next day.

My brother did ask me something rather curious though. He said,”So, did you see God?” Granted, he was being a bit flip, but I was surprised to hear him say that.

I thought about it before I answered and I said, “No.” At the time, this was the truth. I saw many things which made me think about God, I had heard many people who believed God had a hand in this, but I didn’t see anything. I didn’t know what to think. I figured I wasn’t the atheist I thought I was before, after all, I was praying which was something I had never done in the past. Little did I know, I was actually heading in the right direction whether I knew it or not.

Like always, the next day was the usual California sun and it was a good day for a drive. So after some breakfast, I headed north on the interstate. It was a pleasant trip to the Bay Area that day. In many ways I was heading home, I had lived there for about four years and I really enjoyed the place. Of course, I had experienced a fair amount of success while I lived there, I had a lot of good friends, plus the bars and restaurants are simply beyond compare. If you have some money, the city is definitely a place where you can have a good time.

The drive was without incident and it was nice to be back home again. I cut across the Bay bridge and headed to a friend’s house over by Oakland. While I can’t remember, I’m pretty sure we went for a few drinks as I laid out the entire story again. Of course, he thought the whole thing was pretty messed up, but this guy was a Berkley educated Ph.D., so he had his spin on the subject.

He figured it would probably do me some good to get out of the desert after a couple of years and do some convalescing around friends. He was correct on that point. He said he had made some reservations at the Palace for dinner a couple of days from then and I knew it would be tasty, it always was.

There I was right back in the old neighborhood again, although it would be a bit different this time around. Over the course of the next couple of days, I hit some of the old haunts and I ran across many of the people I knew. Somehow, many of them were kind of curious about what had happened out in the desert over the last couple of years. At this point I hadn’t said anything to any of them about what had happened. It was my apparent disappearance from the face of the planet which made them think there might be something amiss. It was probably at least a week later before I said anything about the incident to anyone else.

The night came when we went over to the Palace to eat. We probably had a few glasses of gin in the bar before sitting down, and as expected, the dinner was delicious. It really was nice to be back. Afterwards, we went up to another friends house where a bunch of our friends were having drinks and of course, we did more of the same. It was always a pleasure to see the woman who lived there, she was one of my old drinking buddies as it were. It was also nice to see the others who were there. I guess the truth is, we were all old drinking buddies. We passed the time eating, drinking and talking about the usual stuff. It was like old times and the evening was very pleasant. I was happy to be there and I remember thinking how happy I was at my lack of success or outright failure in the desert that night.

I suppose we hit a few parties over the course of the next week, but for the most part I wasn’t going to the city much and I wasn’t doing all that much drinking. However my arms, and especially my wrists were getting much better. Everything was getting easier, it didn’t matter if it was lifting things or turning doorknobs, my arms were healing well. Most of the time I just relaxed, I would either read something or I would go and wander around. Maybe that’s good therapy, I don’t know. But I do know I liked it much better than that month in the hospital. It also appeared to me that I wasn’t going to go back and finish the job I had started. I considered that to be good news and it was.

The next person I told the story to was a Jewish friend of mine, he was really a very decent individual. One day while we were walking to or from a bar, I can’t remember which, I told him the story.

His reaction to what he saw and heard is what really sticks in my mind the most. His initial response was, “Jesus saved you!”

I couldn’t disagree with that at the time, and of course that statement was and is one hundred percent correct. Maybe at the time I was surprised someone who was Jewish would say that, I don’t know, but he was right. I went on to tell him about the messenger and basically everything else related to the story. He was amazed, but he also seemed quite grateful.

And once again I heard, “God must have something for you to do.”

Many of my other friends to whom I subsequently told this story had pretty much the same reaction. Of course they were all slightly ticked off at me for not simply picking up a phone to call them, but it’s difficult for us to turn back time if not impossible. At this point I had pretty much told all of my old drinking buddies who were men while sitting in their offices or at the bar, but I wasn’t really sure how to tell women the story. I don’t know why, but I just figured this would be a bit more difficult. In some ways I was correct in thinking that and in others I was completely unjustified. I suppose I never considered just telling them the story like I had told it before.

The first one I told, actually came up to me one day and said, “I know something is up, so when are you going to tell me?”

I suggested we meet up at her house where we were at the party that one evening and she agreed, so we met later.

I remember telling her the story and she was fine. If I remember correctly she also thought I had been looked after out there in the desert. This was a thought I was coming around to believe more and more. But I could tell there was something going on, so I asked her what was up and she told me a story which had happened to her a long time ago and it made my actions seem extremely petty. It’s funny how that works. More than likely, one of the reasons I always liked her was because she was very intelligent. She was also kind enough to wait until we were done to excoriate me.

I also have to admit, I did ask her how I should proceed with some of the others and she agreed that I may encounter a few problems along the way. The advice was short and sweet, but she gave me a heads up on the subject. I guess the more emotional someone is the harder it is to tell them and that did prove to be somewhat true.

There was another lady I wasn’t worried about, I knew I could just tell her. She had been around the block a couple of times in the past and she had been married to a couple of different Marines, so I knew she had heard just about everything. It turned out that I was right, this lady took it well, but she did take the opportunity to chew me out slightly. She also told me a story or two of her own, which I knew nothing about. I would have to say that telling my friends what I had done was doing me some good, even though I was fairly uncomfortable during the process. I suppose if something as big as killing yourself is kept a secret, you are only harming yourself further.

Finally, one day I was at the bar in the city having some drinks and lunch, when one of my three favorite bartenders looked a bit odd. I asked her what was up and she told me she knew something was going on or had happened and she didn’t know why I hadn’t said anything to her. After all we were friends. Well, there you have it. I suppose I did some backpedaling before I admitted I just didn’t know how to tell her. This woman was the one I figured would be the most emotional and I really didn’t know how to tell her. But I took the advice which was given to me previously and I suggested we meet over in Berkley one afternoon and I would tell her the story. She agreed to meet me there.

We met at this pub and had a couple of beers and I told her the story. I wasn’t sure if she was going to be overly emotional. That’s what I was worried about in the first place, I’m really not too good with that sort of thing. But she held it together pretty well. I told her the reason why I was so apprehensive about telling her and while she was a bit mad about that, she did understand. I did feel bad because of what I unknowingly put her and everyone else through, but I was happy to have finally told most of my friends what kind of stupid things I had been doing and they seemed happy I wasn’t going to do it again. Of course, she was also in the praise God section of people who heard me tell this story.

Other than what my Jewish friend said, I can’t remember exactly how they all put it, but they all basically thought that God did in fact want me around for something and they really didn’t want me to just disappear either. That really was the one thing that seemed to be a common thread throughout this ordeal, so many people attributed what had happened out in the desert to YESHUA saving me. I don’t know how far I was on board with all of that at the time, but I was starting to come around slowly but surely. Unfortunately, the one exception was this one atheist friend of mine who like always, played the role of the devil’s advocate, but he wasn’t all that convincing.

Even my self-consciousness at the scars was abating. One afternoon I walked down to have a beer and I wound up talking to a man sitting next to me. Something came up with regard to trading. I commented that I had done that for years.

So he mentioned that he ran a hedge fund and he began to grill me about metals. I knew he thought I was full of it, but after I was done answering all of his questions, he said, “I would hire you right now to trade metals for me.”

Obviously, my response was, “Well then, why don’t you?”

Much of what was happening at the time, was being spread around to everyone. Basically, he told me he ran his hedge fund into the ground and he was going to lose his house, wife and family.

I told him about the scars on my arms, and he said, “Yeah I noticed.”

I hope the sight kept him from doing what I had done. This exact conversation happened again in the city one day with someone else. Of course, the conversation ended the exact same way.

A little more than a month had passed and I was physically healed. The deep crevasses where I cut my wrists were healed and all that was left were the scars, I was good to go. I figured it was time to head back to the desert and I think I made the right decision.

There was something else which hadn’t actually crossed my mind at the time, each and every one of the people who dealt with me in Arizona and everyone I told in California actually had heard a testimonial of God’s loving-kindness and forgiveness. I do know now that many people’s faith was either strengthened by what they saw, heard or both.

The testimony to God’s glory may or may not be apparent to us at the time, but to others it just may be. I’m not suggesting doing anything so foolhardy just to see what God will do, that would be an act of tempting God, so don’t. But when He does reveal Himself, I believe it is for us to pass it along so that others may benefit in some way, which may or may not be apparent to us at the time.

*****

Six Years

It was a nice drive back to Arizona, I felt much better than when had I previously left. Like always, as soon as I hit the Joshua tree forest, I had a smile on my face and I was utterly and completely contented by the time I started to see the Saguaro plants. This time things would be different and much more difficult, but I was in a good state of mind and I was just going to press on. It really was good to be back in the desert again.

I gave my friend a call when I got there and stayed with him and his family for about a month. One of the first things I did was to tell him that I wouldn’t be able to read the Bible he gave me unless I had an electron microscope. I guess my eyes had taken a hit from all the years of staring at a computer screen. He looked at the printing and just smiled, it was so small neither of us could read what it said. So he handed me one I could read from across the room. I guess the eyes really are the first thing to go.

So when I wasn’t looking for work, I sat there and read that Bible. I had read parts of the Bible in the past, either as a boy or in college, but I don’t think I ever read it from cover to cover before. I was an English Lit. major, so if we were going to read a work like Ovid’s Metamorphoses we would also read the book of Genesis, likewise if we were going to read Milton’s Paradise Lost we would read the book of Revelation, something like that. It’s kind of odd if you stop think about why Milton has always been one of my favorites. Why would a so-called atheist’s favorite book be Paradise Lost?

So I started at Genesis and read straight through Revelation. I couldn’t think of why I had never read the Bible before, we had them sitting around the house, but I just hadn’t read the book. I had even considered taking a Lit. course called the Bible as Literature, but the scheduling didn’t work out. I guess I was like most people, the Bible was either there to collect dust, or used as a rabbit’s foot or a paperweight, when of course the Bible is none of those things. When I had finished, I was glad to have finally read the Bible in its entirety. I’m not saying I started to hear angel’s singing or any such thing, but it was a start. Just as I found work, it was a start.

One day I thought I would drive out of town and see if I could find that spot out in the desert. I headed west on the freeway then I spun back around and stopped at that same rest stop with the picnic table. I knew I was close, as I headed east, I actually took each exit as I looked around. It wasn’t long before I knew I was at the correct exit, so I took a right turn. But as I drove down the road I thought to myself, this can’t be? There was no sign of new development, just the old businesses and desert. I could not find that spot and I looked for some time. In fact, the second right turn I took that one night didn’t even exist. I really was perplexed. I must have spent an hour out there looking, but to no avail. It really was like that spot just wasn’t there anymore. I can assure you that place existed, I have the scars as proof. I know it didn’t just disappear, however I still don’t know what to make of that.

As it turned out, the job which I found was in a town which was basically nowhere; it was a mirage at best. How appropriate, there were times when I thought there were more roadrunners than people. But I was able to move and pay the bills so I wasn’t complaining.

I saw an ad for a room, so I called and went over. A man and his wife were looking to rent out a room and I was interested. When the wife opened the door, she was smiling, but the way she was looking at me was strange. I talked with her and her husband and I can’t remember exactly, but I think they called me back either that day or the next and said OK. I was there at least a year and a half, but we became friends almost instantaneously.

I remember the first morning I was there, I got up to use the bathroom and when I came out, Rudy was laying in front of my door growling at me! Of course I tried to reason with him, but he was having none of that. Fortunately, the husband told Rudy to get out of the way as he laughed.

The weekend arrived a day or two later and they told me they were taking their RV out somewhere and they wondered if I would be alright with their dog Rudy. Naturally, I said yes. I really was kind of surprised they would leave a perfect stranger in their house so soon after moving in, but I figured I wasn’t going to do anything, so there was no problem. But I didn’t know how Rudy was going to react.

One thing I found out fast was Rudy liked cheese. If I was making a sandwich, he would come running as soon as he heard the cheese wrapper. I immediately started my bribery campaign. I decided I was going to need some steaks to get through the weekend, plus the bones wouldn’t hurt my chances of getting along with Rudy either.

He was still wary of me when my roommates left, but when they got back they found me asleep with Rudy the wonderdog half on top of me, also fast asleep. They just couldn’t believe their eyes and I’m pretty sure their laughter was what woke me up. After all, they couldn’t find their dog, so they came over to my room and there we were. Needless to say, they had a few questions. So I told them about the cheese and the steak bones…enough said!

I then found out why the woman was looking at me funny, she laughed and said, “You look just like Sam Eliot!”

Well, I assure you, I really don’t look anything like him. But I do continue to tell people I look just like Cary Grant, but nobody listens.

These folks had a very pleasant and happy home and I enjoyed living there. One of the things I started doing while I was there, was to open the Bible to a spot without looking and start reading. I was surprised to find that whenever I did that, it seemed like there would be a message for me. Each and every time I did this, what I read had something to do with what was going on with me at the time. I certainly found this to be a rather interesting development. At this point, I could say for certain I wasn’t an atheist. Little by little the Word of God was seeping into my thick skull, I guess it was about time. Patience is a virtue. Just think about the amount of patience YESHUA has had with me throughout the years concerning my despicable behavior.

I had some of my things in storage up in Nevada and a friend of mine wanted to head up for a visit, so we took the drive north. The first stop we made was at a bar I used to frequent when I lived there. Naturally, the other two of my three favorite bartenders worked there. As we walked through the door of that bar, these two girls were obviously glad to see me. I can’t remember exactly, but I think I told them I would be back to talk with them alone, so we could speak uninterrupted.

It was probably the next day when I arrived back there to speak with them. I sat at one of the video poker machines and one of the girls poured me my usual Tanqueray on the rocks with a slice of lemon. Of course, they both had to immediately bombard me with questions. They weren’t going to give me a break and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

They were both pretty shrewd women, and I liked them both, especially the little one; she was as cute as could be, not that the other one wasn’t also. Anyway, they wanted to know how it was possible that I just disappeared. So as I fidgeted around, I told them I had been hurt and I was in the hospital.

One of them immediately piped up and said, “You were hurt, or you hurt yourself?”

Well, give that woman a cheroot! So I told them the entire story which included showing them the scars. When I got to the part about the CAT Scan in the hospital, the cute little woman said, as she was jumping around wildly and moving her finger around by her neck, “Oh, I can just picture God moving your jugular vein around!” This came with sound effects and all.

They were both all smiles. Of course, I got a mild chewing out. But they were both in agreement that God had saved me that night out there in the desert. It really was nice to see them both again, but we weren’t there for long, maybe two or three days. I needed to get back because of my job, so basically we set sail for Phoenix after grabbing the stuff I needed out of storage. It was a hot drive south that day, but it was worth the effort. I don’t doubt that was the last time I will ever visit there, but I will always miss the place and my friends who live there.

One day I was sitting out on the patio smoking and drinking coffee with one of my roommates and I figured I would tell him what happened. I knew he noticed I always wore long sleeves, but he said he figured I would spit it out when I was ready. As I told him the entire story, this man practically jumped up out of his chair! He told me I had to tell his wife the story, which I did. Their reactions were both similar and they both said it was extremely spiritual. Naturally, they both agreed that God had something He wanted me to do. At this point I really don’t know how many times I had heard that exact same thing, but I suppose it was something I was starting to get used to hearing.

I’m sure they told their parents who I had met, they came over regularly and were really nice people. They never said anything, but I had the feeling they always wanted to say something to me which they didn’t. Maybe it was the way they looked at me, I don’t know, I just had that feeling. Or it could have been something else, I never asked.

One day the parents were there with a lady friend or two and the mother said, “This is my friend and she was in the Navy.”

Of course, I just smiled at her friend and said, “Join the Marines and ride the waves.” I could tell it wasn’t the response they expected, but the Navy woman understood where I was coming from as she smiled at me. I have no doubt she knew I was just messing with her, but it could have been these types of jokes that got me some of those looks.

I worked as much as I could, because I really wasn’t making all that much money. But I could at least afford to stop and get a couple of frosty mugs of beer, it wasn’t much, but cold beer in the hot desert does taste good. Over a year had passed at my job and one day I was talking with a friend of mine who worked there. He was a retired US Army Warrant Officer. Apparently, the man who was my direct supervisor somehow got it in his head that the reason I wore long sleeves was because I had swastika tattoo’s on my arms.

Well, it turned out he was on some pharmaceuticals for an operation which he had and they were really messing him up. But the WO told me this and of course I believed him.

I was a little ticked off by what I had heard, so I said, “Swastika’s really, do you want to see my arms?” He insisted that wasn’t necessary, but I said, “Look, no swastika’s as I pulled up my sleeves.” Of course he noticed the scars, so I told him the entire story. I felt kind of bad because I could tell he really wasn’t feeling to well as he was looking at my arms and throat. Unfortunately, I could tell his eyes had started to tear up.

He really was a good old boy and we were friends. In fact, quite often he would call me up to the office and tell me to grab something to eat at lunch. His wife worked there with some other women and they would always bring food, you know how that is. Yeah, the WO did look out for his boys. And as you might have already guessed, he thought God had a hand in what happened that one night in the desert.

The only other person I told the story to at that job was this man who just happened to be a retired Sheriff’s Deputy who lived and worked there. We became friends, despite my attempts at testing his good will, even though it was always in jest.

Before I actually killed myself that night, I did come up with some very poor ideas as to how I could solve the problem. But all of those bad ideas were criminal, which I’m not. I would tell him about these ideas and he would just laugh and shake his head.

He would always end up saying the same thing, “You do realize I’m a retired Sheriff’s Deputy don’t you?”

Well, the Deputy thought God had something to do with my still being around too, even if he didn’t know why.

I had some good friends in Arizona, but I felt as though it was time to move on. My Ph.D. buddy was retiring and moving back to Ohio and he suggested I could rent a room from him at his house and look for work there. I thought why not, it might be a nice change of pace. So I gave a months notice at my job and then drove to Ohio.

I remember talking to my brother in California as I told him, “I’ll bet you never thought you would hear me say these words, I’m moving to Ohio.”

He laughed and agreed at the same time. Ohio? Why not, I had been through the State before and I figured it couldn’t hurt.

So there I was in Ohio, I was in a small hippy town to say the least, but it was a quaint setting. I quickly found work and then just as quickly I found another better job. Yes things were looking up. I was able to get along pretty well, even though the job I was doing was probably better suited for someone much younger, but I was still able to perform my duties.

There was a certain amount of relaxation involved with being there, after all, it was in the country. When I would walk into town in the evening for a beer at the local tavern, there were still fireflies buzzing about along the path.

For the most part, Ohio was pretty uneventful, but I was still reading my Bible and I was still making progress. The highlights really could be summed up in a mere few sentences. I would go to work, then I would stop for a couple of beers and then I would go home. This one place I would frequent was going to have a pig roast, and believe me it was tasty (but I will have to get into that later). I had many pleasant times there. Naturally, there was a cute little bartender, cheap cold beer and some good company. What more could you ask for when you have very little?

I don’t remember how it came up, but one night as I was sitting there I told the bartender the story. She did seem to be moved by what I told her. I really can’t remember the details, but she saw God’s hand in my being saved out in the desert. I remember when I was about ready to leave Ohio for Florida, she thought I should reconsider.

The winter was pretty brutal as far as it goes, I had been in California and the desert for about eight years, so the cold was something I wasn’t used to at all. That’s why I decided to go south. I left on the first of the year. It really wasn’t a very pleasant drive, but I arrived without incident. I didn’t have much money and I didn’t know anyone, so I started to look for work while staying at this motel; it was a real dump to put it nicely. I found a horrible job, but it got me a room which I rented from someone for a year until I moved to more of a country locale.

When I got fed up with that job after a month, I actually quit and then went and spoke to a man about a job the same day. I had already spoke with this man on the phone, but something told me I was going to get hired. It wasn’t a great job, or high paying, but I would be able to continue on as I had been. And yes, I did get hired and I started right away.

Once again, someone was looking out for me. Over the course of about two years of working there I made a number of friends both at work and away from the job. It really was kind of funny, I was in two totally different worlds; the one at the office tower in the city and the one at home in the country.

My boss didn’t have a problem with me sitting there, looking around the internet or reading books online as long as I performed my duties, so I took advantage of the situation. To make a long story short, I wound up writing a bunch of papers on certain controversial subjects which I won’t go into here, but there was a relation to what had happened to me, what led me up to that night in the desert, as well as what has happened since and what I wrote. Of course, I was still reading the Bible and much more of God’s Word was being revealed to me. But I suppose those papers which I wrote did have a certain therapeutic effect.

What you will find in the South are still mostly God-fearing people. The subject of God would come up at work, the pub or at home. So needless to say, in the South, people talk about YESHUA and the Bible. While I don’t go to church per se, I personally believe that if two or more people are talking about YESHUA or the Bible then they are in church. So in that sense, I guess I go to church an awful lot.

I think the first person I told the story to in Florida was an attorney friend of mine and I’ll just jump right to it without waiting, he said, “That’s God looking out for you!” It seemed as though he would repeat that quite often while we were talking.

There were many things which I had told him about my life, after all, we were friends. Eventually I knew that I was going to be moving on and I told him I thought I already had a couple of job prospects before even going to this other State which I had never been to before.

He said, “That’s God looking out for you!” History really does repeat itself.

There were many conversations about YESHUA that I had with that attorney. He had a good family upbringing and he was really quite intelligent. Sometimes these conversations would go on and on, but we always seemed to be in agreement. Without YEHOVAH or His Son YESHUA, you’re making a big mistake. And mistakes like the ones which I had made, lead to absolute disastrous consequences.

The problem is, how do you wake people up? It’s obvious, God has been trying to do that for around 6,000 years now, and how many people still thumb their noses at Him? But He is extremely patient and He obviously wants to give each and every one of us the time to hop on board while there is still time.

One day while I was sitting outside the office building, I was talking to this woman who worked in one of the many law firms in the building. I don’t remember how the subject came up, but we were talking about the calendar. I commented that the Hebrew calendar can have 13 months, and this woman just came unglued. She spewed garbage out of her mouth for I don’t know how long. When I told her the Hebrews look for the barley to be aviv (or abib) which is a stage of ripeness at the end of the 12th month and if it’s not ripe, then there is a 13th month and it’s known as an Adar Bet. This woman was having none of that. She was piling stupidity atop of ignorance and I found it to be somewhat irritating to say the least. It was these types of irritations I found this time around in Florida which made me want to leave.

Don’t get me wrong, I like southerners, but of course this woman was from Chicago. I should also say, it just so happens that this year is an Adar Bet. As I write this, we are in the 13th month of the Hebrew calendar or maybe I should just say God’s calendar.

After that nonsense, I would go stand on the bridge and smoke and watch the river go by. It was more peaceful anyway. Sometimes I would see very large turtles, or stingrays and once in a while even dolphins. So that was my new smoking area.

One day I was irritated about something, I don’t remember what, but it seemed as though a lot of irritations were coming my way. Well, as I stood there one day I remember a man walked up and we sort of chatted.

I wasn’t in a very good mood and I made some sort of flip comment like, “It would be a good thing if YESHUA came back right now and cleaned this place up.”

I’ll never forget what the man said as he looked at me, “You’re not ready.” And then he walked off.

This got me to thinking about the messenger and things like, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares,” Hebrews 13:2. I really felt bad, but I also would like to think I learned something from the whole experience.

The man I was renting from in the country locale, was a church going man. I told him the story of what happened in the desert and needless to say, he was definitely in the camp of “Jesus saved you.” We had many conversations about God under the oak trees. I remember I used to send him e-mails with stuff like 101 examples of science affirming scriptures and the genealogy of names of the first-born from Adam to YESHUA, about 80 names in all and what the names all mean. Interestingly enough, when the names are all strung together in a sentence they actually say something. This is hardly what you would call a coincidence, and my friend enjoyed these greatly.

But as previously stated, I was ready to move to a new setting. I was heading to the Great Plains. I suppose if I thought Ohio was cold, this was going to really be something. I had been in Alaska for a year when I was young, but I figured I would be a popsicle this time around and I was right. But I liked the idea of being in the middle of nowhere in quiet solitude with hardly any people. Well I found out, as I will have to admit, it really is a very tranquil and beautiful place as harsh as the weather may be.

I had arrived by airplane this time and yes, it was mid October and it was already very cold compared to what I was used to in Florida. The previous week was in the 80s and now it was near freezing. But I have always appreciated an adventure, so I wasn’t too terribly concerned. The landscape at that time of year reminded me of the tundra in Alaska, which was a place I was happy to put behind me. But this seemed different, after all, I wasn’t being exiled this time around. A friend picked me up at the airport and we proceeded on to his house.

I already knew a couple of people who were there from a different State where we all used to live. So even though I was in the middle of the prairie I knew people. I was going to be staying with one friend and the other lived in the next little town down the road. There really was nothing to do out there. But I wasn’t actually looking for excitement. All I wanted was some peace and quiet for a change.

After a few days relaxation, I spoke with a man in town who was one of the less than 300 people and I got a job. There was no way I was actually young enough to do this type of work and I knew it, but I did my best for about six months until I had to give it up. I hurt my arm to the point where I couldn’t lift a thing. But as you would guess, the employer was really only concerned with the thought that I wanted unemployment, which I didn’t. The truth is, he could have cared less about my arm.

During this time, I can’t actually say I did much else. I was in the middle of nowhere and I acted accordingly. Once in a while I would go down and have a beer or two at the local tavern, but that really was the extent of my drinking activities. I probably spent more time listening to the cows moo than anything else.

I took a month off to rest my arm which was killing me. I was still reading the Bible, but not the same one from Arizona. I bought a new one in Florida and told my old landlord that I left the old one in the room for the next person who came along. I did miss those four, one hundred year old oak trees I used to sit under in the hot weather. But the peace and quiet of the prairie was nice. Just to give you an idea, at 60 mph, it was about an hour and fifteen minutes to the city. No matter where you looked, you saw nothing but farm land.

After that month, my arm was feeling better and I found another job. This one was a doozy! The men I worked for were father and son. The elder of the two was an enormous man. His hands alone were as thick as both of mine put together. As powerful as this man was, he may have been one of the nicest and gentlest people I have ever met. I would have to say we got along well for the most part.

What I was told about the job and what I found were the same. It was like being in another world. I would go into large metal tanks and sand blast them before the coating was applied to the inside. Quite frankly, it was miserable. But in some ways I really enjoyed doing the job. Nobody wanted to bother you, probably because nobody wanted to go inside and blast. It was just you and a whole lot of sand in the dark. You really couldn’t see anything, you had to rely on yourself to maintain a pattern as you were going along. The best I can describe this is, have you ever been in a haboob? If you have, you will understand that you can’t see. Shine all the light around you want, but all you will see is dust or sand.

I guess what I am saying is, when I was in one of the tanks, I was there alone with my thoughts. So I actually took advantage of the situation. I found myself talking to YESHUA much more and I doubt if He minded being in there blasting with me. There was probably a good five hours each day I was inside working, so we spent plenty of time together. Of course as previously stated, I was too old for this type of work. If it was 80 to 90 degrees outside in the sun, I don’t know how hot it was inside that steel tank. When you add the compressed air to blow the sand, I have no idea how hot it got inside and I really didn’t want to know. This job was wasting me. And as you can guess, if it was cold outside it was really cold inside those tanks. Either way, it’s a game for young people to play.

My roommate already knew the story of what I had done in the desert from a mutual friend of ours before I ever moved up there. Of course, he was also in agreement that YESHUA had intervened out in the desert. I had known this guy since high school, so I didn’t have to give him much background. Let’s face it, the kids you grow up with in the neighborhood already know you and much of the rotten stuff you’ve already done. I suppose this is something we can all relate to our lives.

We spent quite a bit of time sitting around out there talking about God and the state of the world. My friend was convinced the entire planet had become Sodom and Gomorrah and I think he’s correct, especially when it comes to the cities. And when it comes right down to it, I guess it’s not just the cities which really are what can be referred to as Sodom and Gomorrah, but many nations as well.

Fortunately, the sun rose on one side of the State and set on the other side. What goes on back in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago really is of no concern to the people out there in the middle of nowhere. They do things their way regardless of the ideas somebody else has one or two thousand miles away. It’s really not a bad system and quite frankly that’s the system which should be in place throughout the nation.

I found out that this part of the world was pretty God-fearing. Out in the country things and people are different. I found this to be the case out there in the desert, the south and the midwest as well. I’m not so sure the cities were like that when I was a boy. People really were different back then and I suppose that’s why I look at the past as being better than the present, but who hasn’t ever said that to you? I know my parents and the parents of my friends always said that when we were young. Everyone has their own perspective.

It’s funny if you think about it. After what had happened out in the desert, I have heard numerous stories about how YEHOVAH-YESHUA have intervened in people’s lives. I don’t doubt these stories have always existed, because they have; just read the Bible. What is interesting is just how many of these stories I have heard since that night in Arizona from everyday people. And if you are paying attention, what you will find is, there are more and more of them each and every day.

Now, this cannot be a coincidence. Personally I believe the clock is ticking and as it winds down more is being revealed, and we are being given more and more information, just as we are being given even more chances to come to the realization which we should have all come to a long time ago while we still have the time. But people have to choose their side. I believe the teams are being chosen as we speak and we are the ones who choose which side we are on: we either choose YESHUA, or we choose Satan.

As you can guess, time had passed and I was ready to move along. The only difference was this time it was for different reasons. I was going to really change my location this time, but the truth is, it’s never really that different. Maybe I just needed to get away, I don’t know. I suppose the truth is, I was returning to one of the places on earth which I consider to be home. At least that’s how I’ve felt over the last three plus decades. Besides, I have been around the block a few times at least. But I have to admit, three months after I left, something happened which I was not expecting. I received one of the greatest gifts of my life. Life really is one big surprise after another.

I remember my ride to the airport, it was a pleasant morning. There was none of the hustle and bustle of the cities, only a long drive through the country. We arrived at the airport and I didn’t have all that much time. But the population of the entire state is probably around one million, give or take, so you don’t encounter hoards of people.

I went inside to check my bags and the lady said, “This bag weighs too much.”

I asked her what people do in that case. She saw that I was heading out of the country for a while, which may or may not have been something she saw all the time out there. I don’t know.

Then she said, “Well, it’ll be fine, but they might say something on the way back, so you might have to get another suitcase before returning.”

I just laughed. Can you imagine someone at the airport saying that to you in a major city? Well if that did happen to you in a big city within the U.S., it would cost you a pretty penny.

When I arrived in Europe I remember walking outside and smiling. A buddy of mine was waiting there with the usual grin on his face. After a smoke, we hopped in a taxi and went to the house. It had been at least seven or eight years since I had been there, of course nothing had really changed. But it was nice to be able to eat some real food again and I have no doubt that’s exactly one of the first things I did.

Basically I spent the next couple of months wandering around the city eating, drinking and looking at stuff. After all, I figured I was on vacation after my long absence. I got to see all the people I knew, it was really nice to be back in a place I have always enjoyed. Like always, I met a lot of different people and I seemed to get along well with them. The people over here have always been very good to me. I have always considered myself fortunate to have been able to come here so many times over the years.

This time was proving to be a bit of a different experience though. I watched the Seahawks win the Super Bowl, which was something I wasn’t sure I would ever see. Now even though it isn’t Bible prophecy, if that isn’t one of the sign’s of the end times, then I don’t know what is! But it was still enjoyable and I have always liked them, so I was pleased to say the least. Plus it was different watching the game at an Irish pub in the middle of the night in European city. It was just another first I guess.

This happens to be in a city with at least five or six times the population of the entire State which I previously left, but there doesn’t seem to be that same big city feeling here for some reason like the big cities in the States. Granted, I have lived in and I have been in major cities throughout the world at one time or another back when that was something I liked, but it really does seem different this time around. Maybe I feel that way because I’m not going to stay here long, I don’t know. But I suspect this could be the last time I’m able to come here.

As I look back, the first year I was here always made me think of the best year of my life, at least one of the funnest anyway. It was like stepping back in time compared to where I lived back home. I always considered myself lucky to have had that year as well as many of the following. Usually when vacation time came around I found somewhere on this planet I wanted to go and goof off. So at least I’ve been able to see a lot of different places.

But as it turns out, I think this time around has ultimately been the most interesting of them all. We have spent a considerable amount of time around here talking about what is really happening in the world, which is no small subject. But we have undoubtedly spent an equal if not greater amount of time talking about YESHUA which seems to overlap onto the previous subject more often than not.

Over these last six to seven years, including right up to the present, I have come to believe that truth is much stranger than fiction. I have heard too many stories and seen too many instances of what people consider to be so-called unexplainable phenomena to not believe this to be true.

I have been told many stories by friends like their foot being lifted off the accelerator pedal and moved to the brake pedal a couple of times before they took the hint and hit the brakes so they were able to barely avoid an accident. Or someones car being stopped from going over an embankment and turned around and set on the opposite side of the road. These types of stories are endless if you are willing to listen.

One day I was talking to a friend of mine and for some reason I decided to tell him the story of what happened to me out in the desert, from beginning to end. Well, this guy just smiled at me and told me one of his own and I have to admit, not only was it a fantastic story but it made me smile to hear what he had to say.

The condensed version of what this man told me was this…like many people, hard times come and go. But this one time, this man lost his business, home, family, pretty much everything. So, he said he grabbed a bottle of whiskey and drank until he was stewed to the gills. He said he had a pistol, he cocked the hammer, then I guess he set it down to take another drink, but apparently he passed out.

When he woke up he looked over to grab his pistol to use it, but it wasn’t there anymore. Eventually, when he sobered up he found the pistol on the other side of the room. Now, there was nobody around to do anything, nobody had a key, there was nobody there but him. So who moved his pistol?

It’s possible that he got up out of his stupor and he picked up the pistol and then he walked over to the other side of the room and set the thing down. All before he walked back to the side of the room where he was passed out before, where he then passed out again in the exact same spot.

But the obvious answer is YESHUA moved the pistol. And if I’m not mistaken, we were both in agreement. And I must say, I have no reason not to believe this story as it was told to me.

I’m sure there are many people who would say these are all just coincidental occurrences which may be attributed to serendipity rather than God, but I will have to disagree. In no way are these unlikely occurrences of happenstance events.

******

Seven Years

Over the years I had done various types of work. Some of it appealed to me and some of it didn’t. But one way or another I seemed to get along. During that time, the one thing that I did like was taking time off from work to travel inside and outside of the country. I quickly found out that I actually liked being in foreign countries more than I like being at home. But I would always return and go back to work even though the thought was never something which enthralled me.

At one point, I was driving long haul for a man out west, which if you have ever done that job, you know you have a lot of time to think. In some ways it was the most enjoyable job I ever had. There was nobody to bother you until you had to get loaded or unloaded and you were able to see a lot of nice scenery across the nation. I guess that’s the truth of the matter and the two main reasons why I drove trucks for those years. I really didn’t want to be around a lot of people and you got to move around a lot.

But even this work had its problems. The man I was driving for out west was a decent man and a former US Army Paratrooper. While I liked this guy and I did not mind working for him, certain problems would arise as with any job. Once I was out near the Kansas border and he kept asking me to call him back in an hour while he insisted he was trying to find me a load. This game went on for a few days until one day I just didn’t want to play anymore.

He asked me to deadhead to Albuquerque and pick up a load. I just laughed and suggested, “How about I just drive your truck down to Mexico and hitch-hike back?”

I don’t think he cared for that suggestion too much, but he asked me to call him back in about a half hour. So I waited and I called back. It’s absolutely amazing how a load just appeared out of nowhere in Denver.

When I dropped off the load, I was only about two or three hours from home. So without a thought, I drove the semi to the shop and I gave the man his keys and his truck back. I was done. We parted on good terms, but I really didn’t want to be involved with that system anymore.

One day not long after I quit, I was talking to my mother and my uncle and they had to laugh at the story I told them about the truck. So she asked me what I was going to do. I wasn’t really certain, but I figured something would pop up. She was getting up in years, she was over forty years older than me, and she suggested I stick around and give her some help. She was having difficulties with certain things which used to be no problem for her.

I thought about it for a while and I said that would be fine, then I suggested that I could probably go ahead and finish the last two years of college which I hadn’t done. This was a pleasing idea for her to say the least.

Picture your mother saying this, “Oh how wonderful, now all three of my boys will be college graduates!” Yes, how droll, but I understand the viewpoint even if I’m not a parent myself.

I went through the program in less than two years and I graduated. Great, I had another piece of paper. Fortunately, I was able to pay the whole thing off in one fell swoop due to my apparent success at trading. But what I had planned on doing was to go to law school. I took the LSATs, but if I remember correctly, before I could even apply to a law school, her health took a serious turn for the worse. In some ways I think I was fortunate not to have pursued that course.

Needless to say she was going to need pretty much around the clock help. So I figured I wasn’t going to let her go to some home where they do who knows what. So I thought, I’ll take care of her myself. One of my brothers lived out-of-state and the other was married. That made me the logical choice.

I didn’t feel like I was obliged to do this, I wanted to help her because she just happened to be a friend of mine. While it’s true that when my dad was dying, I was the only one there, and some of his last words to me were pretty much, “Boy, look out for your mother.”

I told him that I had him covered and not to worry about it anymore. But that’s not the reason why I decided to take care of her. I suppose the fact that he was a good old boy, as well as him being my dad helped me agree, but like I said before, that wasn’t the reason. I have always thought we owed the generation of people who fought WWII the benefit of the doubt.

In 1945, after Germany surrendered, my dad was being moved around from hospital ship to hospital ship. The doctor told him he had six months to live. My dad had a small part of one lung left and they just didn’t see him living much longer, no matter what happened. Well, as my dad put it, “The doctor died within six months and I’m still here!” I was 29 when he died, that meant he lived for forty-five years after that doctor opened his mouth. So I would have to say he more than earned that right.

Now, the only reason I put this here is because I think it was one of his favorite stories and I like to take each and every opportunity available to take a little jab at doctors.

I made a room in the dining room so Mary wouldn’t have to go up and down the stairs, except when absolutely necessary, then I brought her home from the hospital. I really don’t like those places too much and I don’t think she did either, in fact I know she didn’t. At least I was able to get her out of that place. I understand they are just doing their jobs, but let’s just say I’m not a big fan and leave it at that. I go there only when necessary and believe me, that isn’t very often, if ever. I don’t know, I may be one of the people left who can still take penicillin and have it work.

I have to admit taking care of her really wasn’t something I hated doing, and it took some time for the twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week pace to wear me down. I’m not saying it wasn’t a chore, but for the most part it was pretty enjoyable. Looking back on the whole thing, I would have done it all over again. Of course I would have done some things differently, but I suppose that’s always the case.

At first, she just appeared to be a tired old lady. But what I found was, she was somehow getting progressively worse mentally. When I got her back home she knew who I was and she seemed to have all of her faculties, but as time passed, this did not seem to be the case at all. I noticed that she started not knowing where she was, little things like that. This was not something that happened constantly, but over time the frequency of these events grew.

When I asked her doctor what was up, he basically said that when she had her heart attack she must have been out a bit too long before being revived. He didn’t say that she was suffering from Alzheimer’s, just that she had a lack of oxygen to the brain for a little too long. I wasn’t too happy with this new development. But I did know the fire department and the aid units in the city where we lived were considered the best in the world at the time, so I knew all was done for her that could have been done.

But after some time had passed it appeared as though she didn’t know who I was and I really didn’t care too much for that, especially when it became a permanent condition with the exception of certain moments of lucidity.

So the next round of fun had arrived, one day she said to me, “Where is Brett?”

Naturally, I said, “I’m Brett.”

Of course she said, “Not you, my son Brett.”

I was almost amused. But I thought I would be smart, so I showed her my driver’s license.

She said, “Hey, you have the exact same name and address as my son, have you seen him?”

Something told me to just say no I hadn’t seen him, but when I did see him, I would let him know. OK, now everybody was happy.

Over a period of time, I realized what was happening seemed to be a steady progression that wasn’t stopping. She actually appeared and probably was going back in years. Eventually she had no idea who I was at all, but it was strange, she still knew my brothers and my friends, she just didn’t know me. Well, go figure! I did find out that this usually happens to the one who is around the most.

However, there were times when I would look over at her and I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was back. So we would talk and then slowly she would drift away again.

Once when this happened, she actually looked at me and said, “Brett, what the hell is going on?”

Mary was extremely apologetic, but I put a stop to that right away by telling her not to worry about it at all. I suggested we just talk while we still had the chance because I knew it wasn’t going to last. We would talk for as long as we had time. But I can actually say, I think I knew my mother when she was a little girl. Now, how many people can say that?

As time passed over the years, I wasn’t getting any sleep. I would estimate that if I got two hours of sleep a day, then I was doing good. This was a nightmare to say the least. I suppose this was when I really started to drink a lot. I know this sounds bad and it is, but I was still doing everything that needed to be done, just with the help of a little pick me up. When I look back on things, I think whoever owns Jim Beam should give me a bunch of their preferred stock.

Unfortunately, alcohol isn’t the answer to the problem. I probably had a high enough tolerance to the stuff from all the years of prior drinking, but I think this extra drinking along with the lack of sleep and an excessive amount of coffee made my blood pressure go right off the scale.

Time passed as usual, in the mornings I would make her some tea with lots of honey and a piece of cake or whatever she wanted, just as she had always liked. I would cook her good food, I wasn’t feeding her frozen garbage or anything like that; she was eating quite well. She was also taking less of the pharmaceuticals than she was before all this happened, and she did look better, she just had no idea who I was. Some people who know me might consider that to be a good trade-off, I don’t know for certain. But I can assure you I don’t think it was a good trade-off.

I would say at least three or four years had passed, and it was always the same routine. Tea and cake in the morning, followed by some Walker Texas Ranger episodes, then lunch, siesta, dinner and whatever she wanted.

Naturally she liked Walker, but once she said, “Why is that guy always beating people up?”

My response was simple, “Because the show isn’t called Texas Bad Guy.”

She was good with that answer. Walker was always a favorite of hers, well at least right behind Earl Weaver. Mary was a big Baltimore Orioles fan.

Some years before all of this happened, I took Mary back east (or down-east as they say in New England) and the first thing we did was drive from Boston down to Baltimore. She didn’t know I had arranged for tickets to a game. We went to Camden Yards and we went into the business office and told them who I was. They handed me two tickets and I asked Mary if she wanted to go to the game. A SWAT team couldn’t have kept her out of that stadium that afternoon!

As soon as we got through the gate she immediately piped up and said, “Where is Boog’s Barbeque?”

I motioned over to where it was and I said, “Do you see that big blonde guy standing over there?”

She said “Yeah.”

So I said, “Well, that’s Boog Powell.”

Mary was off like a rocket. I followed her and when she got to the man, she was behind him as he was signing autographs. Mary would go one way and he would turn the other way. After this happened about ten times, I guess she decided that she would just go ahead and grab the sleeve of his shirt and give it a tug. Keep in mind that this was quite a large man, and when he turned around to see who was tugging on him with a quizzical look on his face, I’m pretty sure I slapped my forehead in disbelief. I think he was a bit surprised to see a seventy some-odd year old woman sticking a postcard of the park in his face for an autograph. Naturally, being the pro that he was just smiled and gave her his John Hancock.

I had to laugh when she said, “I used to watch you guys back in the 60s and the 70s, you were great!”

He just chuckled and said, “You have good taste.”

It was like watching a kid in a candy store that day. Needless to say, Mary had a fantastic time that day as well as the rest of the vacation throughout the New England states.

Of course, those were the good old days. And as I previously stated, at this point in time she didn’t even know she was my mother. So, there was the bathing and cleaning her up from time to time, but everything was mostly pretty routine stuff day after day. And as you guessed, the going back in time had not stopped. But she still knew others, just not me. I learned to deal with that pretty well. I just played along, even though I really didn’t like what was happening, but I did know there wasn’t a thing I could do about it except go with the flow.

Once she asked me, “Where’s Pop?”

Well, let’s just say he died in 1935, which was a quarter-century before I was born. By now I was used to this, so I simply responded with a quick, “Oh, he’s probably still down at the docks working,” and the problem was solved. You have to understand, if I had said he died years ago, she wouldn’t have believed me. And why would she, at this point in time, to her it was the mid to late 1920s or early 30s.

On a number of occasions I would relate these stories to my brother who was living out of state and of course he didn’t believe them, and why would he? But I figured one day he would be up to the house and he would find out for himself.

Then one day he was in town and he rang the bell. I went over and I opened the door and after shaking his hand, I motioned to our mother and I said something like, “Look who’s here.”

She was happy to see him, then she said, “Hey have you met, um, um, my friend here?”

Of course she was referring to me, so I just smiled at them and said, “Yeah, we met at the door!”

Mary was satisfied, but my brother had an expression of such disbelief on his face, I’m sorry to say it actually made me happy.

I left them alone and went out on the porch to smoke for a while and have a drink. When he finally came out to get some air I don’t think he knew what to say. Apparently the crash course he had just gotten was enough to make him understand the reality of the situation.

I spent a lot of time on that front porch over those years. I used to buy those international calling cards for $5 and you could call overseas for probably ten hours. My buddy who lived overseas was the one I would call. I can remember telling him stories of what kind of things would happen with my mother and many of them were extremely funny. In fact, I could probably write a book full of seven years worth of stories, but I’m not going to do that, and I’m going to omit them here out of respect for her. But some of that stuff was classic to say the least.

One day while I was talking to my buddy on the phone when I was standing out on the porch, I opened a pint bottle of Jim Beam and I said, “Listen to this.” I tipped up the bottle and drank half and then told him what I just did. Then I said, “I don’t even have a buzz.” I really was drinking way too much. Oddly enough, it somehow seemed to keep me together, while at the same time, it was ripping me apart.

It was obvious my health was suffering from the lack of sleep and excess drinking. I could actually feel my heart beat by holding my hand out in front of my chest. I’m pretty certain that one day I had some sort of heart attack type of episode. It was extremely painful and it brought me straight down to my knees, but I remember telling myself that this just wasn’t going to happen because there would be nobody to take care of Mary.

Well, it was a good thing I started to feel a little better, because the alternative definitely didn’t seem like a good way to go. I shudder to think what would have happened to her if the neighbors had to call the cops due to the smell of my rotting corpse next door.

This excessive blood pressure was with me for about two or three more years until I went to China. One day I was at the oldest pharmacy in Beijing and this old guy was telling me the difference between eastern and western medicine and then he said, “Would you like to see the doctor?”

Well, I just couldn’t resist. He put a pad down in front of me and told me to put my wrists on them, then he grabbed my wrists and just stared at me for a few minutes. When he was done, he told me everywhere on my body where I had an ache and a pain. He didn’t miss one. It was unbelievable. He couldn’t believe how high my blood pressure was, so he gave me some herbs to take for three months.

After the first month, my blood pressure was normal. After the second month, I felt much better. After the third month, my moustache wasn’t gray anymore. And all without pharmaceuticals, how about that! I’ll bet that little old Chinese doctor who I thought looked seventy, was probably a hundred. Tong Ren Tang really is a decent pharmacy with good doctors and I would go there again if I had the need.

After almost seven years of taking care of Mary, she had got even worse. I was at the point I just couldn’t go on anymore. So I had to finally give in and I put her in a nursing home. It really was a nice place as far as everything I had seen, and it cost me a fortune for the months she was there. But I knew she would be alright, they were decent people who worked there and the place was immaculate. Once she had adjusted I would come over and hang around until they were going to be doing something, then I would take off.

I really can’t remember exactly when or what had happened to her, I guess some sort of health episode not uncommon to the elderly, but Mary needed to go to somewhere else which was a little more hands on. It wasn’t a hospice, but I have the feeling that’s what it amounted to anyway. This was a very nice Christian place and I wasn’t worried too much about her being there, even though I didn’t like the idea. But I knew she was nearing the end and there was nothing I could do about that.

So one day I called down to California and told my brother that if he wanted to see his mother again, now was the time. I also informed my other brother as to her condition. They both came and saw her while they still had some time. I was happy that the one was able to make it from out of state and I know Mary was happy about that too.

I remembered how the last time my brother was up from California, she knew him but not me. Well, on the last occasion we went to see her together, this time when we walked in she didn’t say anything and I seriously doubt she had the strength, but she looked over at me and I knew she was back! She looked at me as though she knew everything that had happened over the last seven years with a kind of appreciative look in her eyes. It’s needless to say, that made me feel a little better. It was the last time she opened her eyes, Mary died the following night.

When it came time for her final send off, my brothers and a couple of friends assembled at the house. I had been tipping back at least a few glasses of Sambuca when they arrived. There was a blue moon that night and the sky was clear and the weather was perfect. We walked down to the lake and my oldest brother said to say a few words, so I did.

When I started to pour her ashes out into the lake, the container slipped and I dropped it right into the water. I couldn’t believe it. Of course I could hear the snickering as I laid down on the ground to reach for the floating container with my mother’s ashes. Naturally I couldn’t reach the thing, but fortunately my oldest brother who is taller hopped down and fished it out and returned it to me so I could finish.

Just as I had finished pouring out the rest of the ashes and we were all standing there silently looking at the lake, a light appeared up on the ridge a couple of miles away. It was odd, it just kept getting brighter and brighter until you could actually feel heat. We all looked at each other not knowing what to think. For a time I wondered if any of them thought I had something to do with that occurrence. But as it turned out, an arsonist was responsible for setting a building on fire which was under construction. They eventually found the guy who lit the fire in Canada and arrested him. To this day, that was by far the best funeral I have ever attended.

At this point, it had been a long time since I had gone anywhere out of the country, probably ten years and I did need to get away for a little while. Something made me want to feel like a real foreigner, that’s when I decided to go to China for a few weeks. It was a good three weeks and I had a great time.

But one of things I remember most was when I went to that doctor I talked about before, when he was checking my pulse or whatever he was doing when he had ahold of my wrists. I was wondering if it was some sort of voodoo or something at that moment, but it wasn’t voodoo. It really was pretty amazing.

He did do some regular stuff that doctors do and some of the things he asked me were pretty routine, “How much coffee do you drink? Do you smoke much? Do you drink much? How much do you sleep?” He wasn’t too pleased with my answers. I guess he just didn’t understand Americans, or maybe he did. But his suggestion was, “Drink less coffee, try to cut down on the smoking and drinking, and sleep.”

Well, I did start to drink much less coffee, I tried to cut down on the smoking, I had been sleeping for a change and I switched from bourbon to gin. I figured I was batting around seven-fifty.

Like I said before, by taking his advice I did begin to feel much better. I will also have to admit that man was by far the best doctor I have ever seen and I would go to him again if he wasn’t so far away. I suppose it’s possible, I don’t know, maybe I thought he was a good doctor in part because of the cute little nurse who was translating for him. He didn’t speak any english at all, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t want to hear me say, “I want beer” in Chinese.

I’m not saying I agree with everything I saw in that place, but I really do like the fact that they’re not interested in pumping the pharmaceutical drugs down your throat like they do in the West. Who knows, maybe I’m biased because I have always liked the Chinese and I’m not a big fan of doctors.

*******

Before

I remember the day I became an atheist. Even though I’m not a catholic, I attended a Catholic school for a few years. When one day during class the teacher didn’t like the answer I gave. She stood there and made it perfectly clear in front of the entire class she thought I was the devil.

Just so there is no mistake, her exact words were, “You’re the devil,” as she stood there pointing at me.

Now, I was eleven or twelve years old and the first thought that came to my mind was, how did I become Satan all of a sudden at my age? Something tells me it just isn’t possible for some kid to be ‘the devil’, most assuredly one can be possessed by a demon, but to be the devil himself, I don’t think so and I state this with absolute certainty, I was neither.

At that moment I was done. There was absolutely no way I was going to listen anymore to anybody or anything. I didn’t want to hear the word religion or anything else concerning the subject. So that’s basically how it started. Of course, I simply could have laughed it off, or let it go in one ear and out the other, but I didn’t. There were probably dozens of things I could have said or done that would have been a better choice, but I chose to step away from the whole thing. In other words, I stepped away from God as a result of what I heard. We all make poor choices in this world and that was one of my biggest. I say this for certain, I hit the nail right on my thumb that day.

As it turns out, I obviously wasn’t a very good atheist. If I had been asked, “Where did people come from?”

I wouldn’t have said, “People evolved from monkeys or some slime which crawled out of some type of mud puddle after a big-bang.” I would have pointed to Adam and Eve or Noah. Apparently, I was fighting what I already knew as I had been instructed by my parents about God the Father and Jesus. But like I previously said, I chose to turn my back on the whole thing; I turned my back on YESHUA.

I have no doubt that Satan was in her mouth that day, but I can assure you, we all have those days. One of the hardest things to do, is to guard against his trickery. Time really doesn’t matter to him, he will wait for you to be caught unawares. I believe this to be true: the smallest victory for our adversary, is a great victory in his book. But as the clock is ticking and his time is running out, his lies will become greater, more sustained and they will be much grander in scale. For evidence of this, you should take a look around yourself and the world. What do you see?

How much blaspheming, dishonoring parents, murder, adultery, theft or false accusations do you witness daily? And what about anger? I know I used to be extremely angry, I was not angry just once in a while, I think I was always angry. How much anger do you witness on a daily basis? I submit to you, anger has reached epidemic proportions throughout our society and the world. Everyone seems to hate everyone else, at least those who have a differing opinion than yours appear to react with anger and hatred. If someone has an opinion that differs from someone else, then doesn’t the person who stated his opinion get vehemently attacked by others who only want their own subjective opinions to be heard?

What I see is a problem that’s growing worse each and every day. Nowadays, people seem to pride themselves on the level of depravity they have attained. We have in fact become a society which elevates the seven deadly sins rather than the seven heavenly virtues. I know as a country we were not like that when I was a boy.

A few years later, a friend of mine asked the question, “If you could go back in time, who would you go see and what would you take?”

Apparently my response was “Jesus and a Bible.”

My friend reminded me of my reasoning. He said, “You said, then you could walk right up to Jesus and ask Him if this book (the Bible) was true or not.”

That’s an interesting response for an atheist don’t you think? While that may have been a good answer, and quite frankly it was probably the best, you can see the lack of faith that response showed. I will unequivocally state this now, YESHUA would be the one that I would want to go see if I had the choice, but I wouldn’t even consider asking Him if the Bible was true or not. And I don’t mean only some parts of the Bible are true, I mean from the first words of Genesis to the last words of Revelation is Truth.

That same friend told me that he has never asked anyone that question again. YESHUA was and is the answer. I guess there are enough other people on the planet who would want to go see George Washington, Babe Ruth or Tennessee Tuxedo, and they are all fine choices, but I don’t believe they are the best choices. Apparently those wouldn’t have been my choices when I was a so-called atheist and they still aren’t my choices now, and they will never be.

Probably not too long after this happened, I found myself in the position of having to say I was an atheist a number of times. I also found out that there are some people who just will not accept that as an answer. In that event, I suppose my answer was Protestant. I guess I was lying at the time, because I believed I was an atheist. As far as Protestantism goes, my parents said they were Protestants so I just went with that answer even though it wasn’t the truth.

If you were to ask me that same question today, I would tell you I believe in YESHUA. Organized religion is run by people and what man touches seems to get messed up every time, what YESHUA touches doesn’t. So I’m with Him. I think more people should stop to consider who they are following. Is it in fact YESHUA, or is it someone or something else?

But in the end, it’s up to each and every separate individual to make their own decision as to what they choose to believe, whether it’s the correct decision or not. It’s that pesky freewill thing that you’ve heard about that you have to deal with. We all have to choose a side, Good or evil, Right or wrong, Light or darkness. The choice is ours to make.

Over the years there were countless times I would deny the existence of God and flat-out say I didn’t believe. I don’t doubt this now, I was making YESHUA sad each and every time I said that. But, this unfortunately continued for decades without end. It’s funny in a sad sort of way, how one little thing can lead to such a big problem.

To say the culmination of that teacher’s statement was when I killed myself out there in the desert some three decades later would be too harsh and extremely unfair to her. But to be fair, I’ve done more than my share of heaping filth atop more filth as the time passed. The statement about me being the devil was wrong and it was a mistake on her part, but I blame nobody but myself for all that has happened to me; I alone am entirely responsible for the choices I have made.

I should also state, I have since asked YESHUA to bless that lady who said that to me. I know she didn’t mean it that way and she had no idea what my response would be. The truth is, I always liked that teacher.

Some years later I had made a goodly amount of money trading. This continued over an extended period of time. I was actually quite fortunate, but despite the fact that I had anything I wanted, or was able to do anything I wished, I continued to drink to excess and I was still just as faithless as ever. Not once did I thank God for what I had been given and not once did I think that anyone other than myself was responsible for my success. If there was any glory to be had I thought it was mine, when in reality it wasn’t mine at all, because the glory belonged to God.

I can’t say I ever donated anything to anyone, perhaps with the exception of the years I spent taking care of Mary. Over these years while I was trading, I really seemed to become much more immoral than previously. I’m not saying I wasn’t a sinner before, I’m saying I think I progressively got worse over this decade or so.

There were times when a number of us would be going to have drinks or dinner and someone who lived on the street would either ask for change or just be walking along taking up space and this would actually be an irritation to myself and some of the others. It would have been better all around to simply give the guy five or ten bucks to get something to eat, but that thought never crossed my mind. Please don’t think we didn’t go and spend two or three hundred dollars on dinner and drinks, not to mention the generous tip. As you can clearly see, it wouldn’t have hurt to give some homeless guy a few bucks.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, what I have stated barely scratches the surface of the matter. I would estimate that I drank at least a fifth of gin each and every day. In some strange way, gluttony had become the norm. I think I went from about 185 lbs to 235 lbs in short order. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy some good food and drink, what I’m saying is, it had become a very poor life-style choice.

When you add this to my complete and utter lack of compassion for other people, I truly believe this is where my downward spiral began, especially with regard to financial success. Unfortunately at that time, I’m not sure if I even cared. This actually went on for years, and despite my immoral behavior, I was still able to achieve quite a fair amount of success.

Does it ever stop there? Of course it doesn’t. My sexual behavior wasn’t any better. I had illicit affairs with women, I visited ladies of the evening; I was involved over the years in many unsavory acts of this type. The instances of depravity which seemed to rule my life throughout this period is staggering to say the least. Yet this behavior continued unabated for more years than I actually care to admit, because the truth is, this went on over a period of at least ten to twenty years.

I should also add the drug abuse which has run rampant in our society, of which I am also guilty. I would say I exceeded any and all bounds of moderation. The vast amounts of marijuana which I consumed prior to, during and after this period was unbelievable. If you add the cocaine, which was seemingly ever-present within certain circles, I can only wonder how my body was able to withstand the punishment. It’s no wonder I was without God throughout those years.

Fortunately, many of my old friends have cleaned up their acts, or have at least made a concerted effort to do so. Of course, many are deceased and I can only hope they were able to find the peace which I have been able to find in YESHUA before they passed.

There’s no doubt in my mind that we are our own worst enemies. Just as when I was asked who harmed me, and my response at times was ‘a very dangerous individual’. I stand by that response. I believe the most dangerous person any of us will ever meet is ourself. Go right ahead and blame it all on Satan or whomever you wish, but what we do is of our own free will. Our adversary is only the tempter, he’s not the doer.

There you have it in a nutshell. My god throughout those decades was the almighty US dollar. Please don’t get me wrong, we all need to make money to survive in this world; food, clothing and shelter all cost money. The real problem arises when avarice consumes our very being.

And while we live in our palaces and others live in abject poverty and die of starvation, or as a result of having to live in the harsh elements of nature without the proper food, clothing or housing to sustain themselves, we in fact, are only killing ourselves. If you don’t believe that statement, go to any major city throughout the States and look around. Many people will actually cross the street rather than pass by a homeless person or someone who is dying right there in the doorway. This is how I used to be and this is what I witness to this day. Sadly, this problem seems to be growing larger daily.

Of course, none of that mattered to me at the time. I have been throughout this world as carefree as a bird. If I did give someone money it was because I figured it was the easiest way to get them away from me. How pathetic is that? I have actually come around to the point where I have thanked God for slapping me down hard. If I have ever met anyone who needed the punishment that I got, then it was me. What I’m talking about here is the financial meltdown which occurred as a result of my despicable, immoral, uncompassionate and repugnant behavior.

I can honestly say, I went from having everything to having nothing. The night I killed myself out in the desert, I may have had a quarter to my name. My absolute love for money was greater than my love for the gift of life which was given to me by our Creator YEHOVAH-YESHUA.

At this point in time, I would suggest like many others that the axiom ‘the love of money is the root of all evil’, is in fact a correct viewpoint. However it really doesn’t matter what I think. Look around and ask yourself how many people worship their money. It doesn’t matter how much a person or a company earns, because people always want more and it’s more likely than not, that in their dealings they will offer pennies instead of dollars, irrespective of what the actual value of someone or something is.

Effectively what you wind up with is an uncaring and corrupt human system. It sure seems like the banking and financial industries, much like governments in general worship the golden calf. I know many individuals also worship that same false god because I was one of them. Go to New York and tell me people don’t worship the golden calf on Broadway as they take their ‘selfies’ with that filthy statue.

This can and will only end when YESHUA is in charge of the show, and I do mean as KING. I’m not suggesting that some individuals or small groups of people don’t try to do the right thing, because there are many who do. But take society as a whole. What have people created? It sure looks like something out of the devil’s handbook to me, because avarice, the love of self, divisiveness and false gods are the things which I see. Within our society, where do you see anything other than it’s us against them?

I cannot and will not deny that I’m not a big fan of the world’s organized system of anything that people have created, because that wouldn’t be true. That particular path is more like walking through a mine-field and it leads straight to hell more often than not. Within religion it’s denomination against denomination, within government it’s this side of the aisle against the other side, even within business it’s this group against that group and everyone is trying to cut the throats of the ones on the other side. We have become a world of self-centered backstabbers who would do anything to get ahead, no matter what the cost is.

I have found this problem much easier to deal with in recent years. But I have only been able to accomplish this by divorcing myself from as much worldly junk as possible and of course through my belief in YESHUA.

********

The Gift

As I sat and spoke to an old friend about God one evening while I was in Europe, my thoughts drifted to a grievous sin which I once committed. While it’s true I had asked to be forgiven for this act countless times, I believe it had become a stumbling block of sorts.

Yes I do believe in YEHOVAH, God the Father and His only begotten Son YESHUA, and yes, I also believe in His love and His forgiveness. Yet something within me just would not allow myself to move forward. I’m not saying more and more of God’s Word wasn’t being revealed to me over time, and I’m not saying the tenets of man-made religion were not being stripped from me either. I am saying, there was something holding me back.

So, as we sat there and my friend was talking, I was drifting off, and I was thinking about how I really wanted to be forgiven for what I had done. Suddenly, my stomach felt as though I had eaten something extremely bitter, it was very much like some bitter almonds I had eaten days before. But this was progressively getting worse and very rapidly.

Much to my amazement, all of a sudden I could see and feel myself being sucked into a tunnel, albeit somewhat rectangular in shape. I could see the walls flying by me, just like one sees the walls as they speed through a tunnel in a vehicle. The only difference was, other than not being in a vehicle, it was more like being pulled back in a slingshot and then let go. What I saw next was something I never saw before. Even more interesting, was the fact I could actually feel what was happening to me.

Suddenly I was somewhere else and I no longer had that bitter feeling in my stomach. I was standing there (somewhere), and as I looked to my left I saw and thought, that’s an angel. I am 6 ft. 1, he was probably a couple of feet taller than me and he was quite bright. My head immediately turned so I was facing forward. What I saw amazed me, just as much as what I said, and what happened next. The exact words which came out of my mouth were, “Whoa, you’re YESHUA!”

Immediately, as I saw His face, I was on my knees in what was quite probably a blink of an eye, and I was overwhelmed with the horrible feeling, the weight of every sin I had committed in my life. The feeling of my sins which flooded my being in that instant, forced my face to the ground. I tried to push myself up with my arms, but the weight of my sins were too much for me. I struggled for some time and eventually I was able to get myself to the point where I was able to lift myself a little bit. I remember turning my head and I looked at the angel and I said, “Kill me, I’m not worthy to be in His presence.”

What happened next, I will never forget. The angel just stood there looking at me, but what I heard was YESHUA saying, “Brett, get up.”

So I got on my feet and what I saw, is somewhat difficult to put into words. I was standing there looking at YESHUA’s smiling face and I no longer had that horrible weight of my sins pushing, or more accurately, pulling me down. Light was emanating from Him, not like the light from the sun, but extremely bright; His face was brighter than the sun, or the brightness of an arc that is created when a welding rod first strikes metal, but I didn’t need to squint my eyes.

YESHUA’s light appeared and felt like purity, and it went right through me. That is the best way I can describe His countenance – whatever the essence of purity is, that’s what I saw and that’s what I felt emanating from YESHUA. I believe that’s what God is, purity, truth and love. Obviously, He is the Creator of all things, but those three things are what I felt. The look in YESHUA’s eyes and His smile, it was the most genuine, honest, caring and sincere look I have ever seen; more so than the look of a new mother’s face as she looks upon her baby for the first time after giving birth.

YESHUA said three more words to me, “I forgive you.”

In that instant, for the first time in more than 50 years, I actually understood what the word love meant. And I was raised in an unbroken home with a father, mother, brothers, uncles, aunts, etc. I was told I was loved more times than I can count, but only now do I get it.

Then He reached out His hands as if to give me a push, but without touching me or saying anything more (although more seemed to be said without words), I was thrown back to where I was sitting a couple of feet from my friend who was still talking. I was dumbfounded. I didn’t say a word. My friend was still talking, although he was looking at me in a curious manner. His look was basically, are you listening? But he went on talking and I said nothing.

One or two days went by, of course my thoughts were consumed with what I saw or what I thought I saw. How do you say to someone, “Hey, I just saw and spoke to YESHUA?” I was actually wondering if I was nuts or something. So, I prayed and asked for some help in this matter. I didn’t want to get it wrong and I didn’t want to tell my old friend, or anyone else that I saw and spoke to YESHUA if I was delusional. I came to realize I was not.

The stumbling block which I referred to, is no longer present. I consider myself to be one of the wealthiest people I know and I have next to nothing in this world, nor do I really want anything. What I do have is a much greater understanding of YESHUA than I had before. The only way I am able to understand words like forgiveness and love, is because of YESHUA.

I state with absolute certainty, the best thing I ever did was to ask YESHUA to forgive me for my sins and ask Him to be my Lord and Savior, because YESHUA is the Son of YEHOVAH, and YESHUA died for our sins. He is the KING of kings and the LORD of lords. YESHUA was resurrected by YEHOVAH and sits at HIS right hand. Praise YEHOVAH, for YESHUA lives!

*********

The Beginning

The difference in my thought process, which I have found since before I started to believe in God and after is very different. There was no instant down-load of God’s Word into my head, it has been a steady progression which has taken these seven years, and undoubtedly will take as many more years as God is willing to give me on this earth, rather than under it.

I wouldn’t suggest I don’t commit sins, because I do. And I’m certain, much to my chagrin, that I will continue to sin at times. But I don’t seem to have the same zeal for this behavior which I had in previous years. In fact, I would say I try not to sin at all, but I’m not perfect.

For starters, my drinking activities have plunged to record level lows. I can assure you this is a good thing. While I admit I still drink a couple of beers now and then and I’ll drink wine when I eat, I don’t sit there daily swilling gin or bourbon. Actually, it’s very rare when I drink anymore and then it’s maybe a glass of beer. I’ve also done my best to give up my whoremongering ways of the past. It would also appear as though I have given up smoking, but this is one of those things I do struggle with frequently and any success is far from 100%.

I do my best to read the Bible daily and speak with YESHUA as often as possible. Sometimes I wonder if my constant jabbering isn’t a bit of an irritation to Him, but I know it isn’t. After all of these years, I would be willing to bet that He is quite happy to hear me talk to Him. He did have to wait nearly a half-century for me to come around. The more I think about that, the more I think I’m one of the stupidest people I have ever met. Of course, I am extremely grateful that He is as kind as He is, or I would be in a world of hurt right about now. Basically, I would have been in an unmarked grave these last seven years awaiting judgement and something tells me that wouldn’t have turned out too well for me.

But despite the fact that it took me so long to come around, I did. And without the prior influence of denominational doctrine of any type, I was able to proceed without any preconceived notions as to what God’s Word meant. This would include how some would say you are supposed to talk to God as well as how you should read the Bible, as if there is actually one sole prescribed method of communicating with God. How do you have a personal relationship with anyone if you are not using your own words, which come from your heart and your mind?

I’m actually very fortunate that I didn’t know any better than to start reading the Bible at the beginning and read it to the end. I’m not trying to say I wasn’t aware there was an old and a new testament. What I’m saying, is that I hadn’t had people tell me I only need to read the new testament if I believe in Jesus, or on the obverse side of the coin, the old testament for Jewish people. So I read the Torah before anything else, because it comes first.

I heard someone comment one day on this same subject and what he basically said was, “Christians don’t read the beginning of the Bible and the Jews don’t read the last part of the Bible.”

Personally, I find this to be very interesting because it sure seems like the old testament is necessary to understand the new testament and vice versa.

In all actuality, the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is about YESHUA. Why is it that we don’t we think of the Holy Bible as one large book made of many smaller books? This one even comes with an instruction manual which is the first five books of the old testament, called the Torah – the Teachings or Instructions.

People must realize the Law that YESHUA was following was the Torah, the law given to Moses on Mount Sinai. What else was there in His time? YESHUA even stated that He was not there to tear down the law but to fulfill it. The only law there was, was HIS Law – the Torah.

YESHUA even stated that He did this to please His Father. YESHUA clearly said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” What commandments was He talking about and from where did they come? Well, there are the ten commandments found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, plus hundreds of other instances of God saying, “Thou shalt or thou shalt not,” or at least some variation thereof within the Torah. Then of course, in the center of the Torah, there is Leviticus, where God’s Laws are clearly spelled out for us.

When He says don’t eat pork, does it mean go ahead and eat it anyway? I used to eat pork and I will admit it was delicious. I have been to plenty of outstanding pig roasts in the U.S., but I don’t and I won’t eat pork anymore. Isn’t ‘don’t eat pork’ one of His commandments? It isn’t one of the ten commandments, but I think it’s one of His rules because He said don’t do that. But what can I say, that’s just the way I read don’t eat pork, just as I did not know any better than to want to read the Torah and follow His instructions.

God also has His Sabbaths, Holy Days and Feasts, which He clearly wants followed. While it’s true that in the past I knew nothing of any of these things, that simply isn’t the case anymore. In fact, I would say that I knew nothing of God’s Sabbaths, Holy Days or Feasts until quite recently when I started to read the Holy Bible. But now that I do know, I believe it’s up to me to at least do my best to follow His rules. And I will also admit, I have found much of this to be very difficult to figure out and I’m still in the process of learning and I will undoubtedly continue the learning process until my death.

It states in the old testament that you should follow the Torah, and it states in the new testament that you should follow the Torah. So where is the big question and what exactly is creating the big divide? The way I see it is this: since YESHUA followed the Torah to please Father YEHOVAH, I want to try to do the same so I can please YESHUA. And If I’m not mistaken, He also say’s you will only see the Father through the Son. It sounds to me like we should be trying to please YESHUA by following the example He set for us, even though we may and probably will fall short. We must work hard to find the correct path which He laid out for us all. The other paths which He did not lay out are crooked and they will certainly lead to our destruction.

I was sleeping one morning and I remember waking up and I realized I was saying, “Don’t be without Torah, don’t be anomia (lawless),” over and over again. I also remember thinking, no I won’t get up and I fell back asleep. When I woke up about an hour and a half later, I was saying the exact same words, “Don’t be without Torah, don’t be anomia.”

As far as I know, I have never said those words over and over again in my life, so why was I saying this over and over again in my sleep for hours? I say it was God taking His time to talk to my spirit while I was asleep, or at least one of His angels was ministering to me. After all, isn’t that the message He keeps trying to give us? Don’t be without Torah; don’t be lawless.

What happened to the people who were led out of Egypt during the exodus that strayed from God’s Torah? It didn’t go well for them. Over and over again, they would forget the Torah and they would find themselves in a very bad position, then eventually they would come back to God, follow His Torah, get back into covenant and things would get better for them. What about us? In my lifetime alone, this is what I see in my country, as well as many others around the world, at least the getting worse part.

“As in the days of Noah” is what you will find written in Luke 17:26. Do you see anything which might make you think of our day and age when thinking about the days of Noah? If your answer is no, then I would suggest you read the Torah. If your answer is yes, I would suggest you continue to read the Torah. It certainly would appear as though we are living in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah. We have become a Godless and lawless nation, just as the people who lived in the days of Noah were Godless and lawless. Just remember Luke 30, “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”

What I’m referring to are the false doctrines, the pornography, drugs and alcohol, sexual immorality, murder, genetic manipulation, criminal activity of all types, which the world seems to be enthusiastically embracing more and more with each passing day. People say baseball is the national pastime of the U.S., but nowadays I have to disagree. Because the national pastime of the United States, which is embraced more and more each day, is Godlessness, murder and depravity of all types; sin or lawlessness. Please feel free to deny this, but I could write a thousand page book to prove my point if I thought it would do any good. Unfortunately, this awfully crooked path is what our society has willingly, stupidly and gleefully embarked upon.

But I wouldn’t go out and build an ark, after all, YEHOVAH said He wouldn’t flood the entire earth again. Of course, that’s not to say there won’t be bodies stacked up like cord wood in the streets of the western world, or the entire world for that matter. The wretched conditions we see today in Calcutta could very well seem like a vacation destination in the near future according to the book of Revelation.

Forgiveness is something else that I continue to run into face first these days. I believe YESHUA was telling me that I need to understand just exactly what it means to forgive. I would say that in the past I was someone who could easily hold a grudge. Maybe I wouldn’t say anything, but I was thinking something unpleasant. That’s not forgiveness. To forgive is to completely give it up, period. I forgive you, it’s done, don’t ever worry about that again. YESHUA does say, if you don’t forgive others, He won’t forgive you. Well, after the half-century of sinning which I did, YESHUA said, “I forgive you.” I believe there’s a lesson there for me and one which I desperately needed.

From what I understand, if you look at the first sentence of Genesis in the Hebrew language and simply take the first word, ‘Barasheet’ which means ‘In the beginning’, and change the letters to the picture form Hebrew letters also have it says, ‘The Son of God will be destroyed (or killed) by His own hand (or His own effort) on a cross’. What is that talking about? It certainly sounds like YESHUA to me! There are other examples of YESHUA in the old testament, try looking in Isaiah 53. Maybe Christians should try reading the old testament and see what they find.

The first commandment states, “Worship no other gods.” That’s something we should all be paying closer attention to these days. But that having been said, YESHUA was perfect and He allowed people to worship Him, why? I believe it’s because God came to us in human form as YESHUA. YESHUA basically said, I knew you before creation, which leads me to believe He has always been there. I can’t and I won’t believe that YESHUA would sin, because He didn’t and He won’t. YESHUA would never have let Himself be bowed down to and worshipped if He wasn’t God, yet there are many instances in Matthew and John when YESHUA allows Himself to be worshipped.

Of course, I always try to remember to thank our Father YEHOVAH as well as His only begotten Son YESHUA for everything. And I do mean everything, no matter what I think. Hebrews 12:6-8 tells us, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.”

Besides, who said I know the big picture? But in order to think this way, I would say the first thing people need to do is get over themselves and their stubborn pride and begin to listen to God and do their best to follow His way and not our ways.

This also means all other (false) gods, such as the golden calf, i.e., the so-called almighty U.S. dollar – Mammon. Take a look around the world and you tell me, how many false gods out there are being worshipped? You won’t have to look far, they are everywhere, just as they have always been. Of course, they are just wood or stone and I assure you, they are not alive. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and take a sledgehammer to one of those statues and see what happens. I’ll tell you, absolutely nothing will happen. Why? Because they are not alive.

I suppose this takes us to the second commandment, ‘Thou shalt make no graven image’. When I walk down the street, it’s hard not to see a graven image of some sort. But rather than going into a lengthy laundry list of graven images, I will make one point only. When you see these statues, symbols and whatnot, I would suggest you look deeper into history and find out where that symbol came from, or find out who exactly the statue represents. I think you will be surprised by what you find and I can assure you, it isn’t Good.

What about the Sabbath? I’ve actually had people tell me Sunday was the Sabbath. The Sabbath is the last day of the week, not the first day. So why is it that people go to church on Sunday rather than on the Sabbath from Friday at sunset to Saturday at sunset? Wasn’t it Constantine who declared that the day of rest and worship would be on the so-called ‘Venerable day of the Sun’ in the year 321 AD?”

Look into it and see what you find. Personally, I think Constantine hated the Hebrews and he was a sun-worshipper. Have you ever heard of Baal? It has many other names as well and they are all very easy to find if you look. Think about how Constantine forced the Hebrews to violate their faith, namely the fourth commandment. Constantine didn’t want them to rest on God’s Sabbath or go to His Temple, he wanted them to work and act as though Sunday was God’s Sabbath, when Constantine knew it wasn’t.

I don’t have a problem with people worshipping God on any day of the week, because YEHOVAH-YESHUA created everything, including the first day of the week. But I do believe we should do our best to observe the Sabbath in order to please our Elohim. Genesis 2:2-3 clearly states, “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.” So God make Holy His Sabbath and you don’t have to read far to find this, because that’s on page 3 of the Holy Bible. As I previously stated, I have also come to believe that His Holy Days and Feasts should also be observed. Think of it as a dress rehearsal for things to come in the future.

Another interesting thing I have found out about the Torah is this: within the books of Genesis and Exodus, if you start with the first ‘T’ in Hebrew and count forty-nine more letters, the next which is the fiftieth is an ‘O’, and you continue the sequence the next will be an ‘R’ and the next will be an ‘H’. This repeats itself over and over again, it says TORH or ‘Torah’. In the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy the same applies, just backwards. It starts with ‘H’ instead of ‘T’ and when you continue the sequence, you wind up with HROT, ‘Torah’ backwards. This is also repeated over and over again. In Leviticus the sequence is every seventh letter, which would give you ‘YHWH’, or YEHOVAH, our Elohim’s name over and over again.

It would appear as though the first two books of Moses and the last two books of Moses point to the third book of Moses. It looks like the sequence: Torah-Genesis, Torah-Exodus, YEHOVAH-Leviticus, haroT-Numbers, haroT-Deuteronomy points to YEHOVAH and His Laws right in the center of everything. Is this a coincidence or not? I don’t think so. However, that having been said, I don’t doubt my pronunciation, or spelling in English is somewhat incorrect with regard to the name of God or Hebrew words, I can’t be certain. But concerning this subject you will find a vitriolic argument in which you don’t want to engage. Yet, I find this to be very interesting and I think God is trying to tell us something, so perhaps we should be listening.

I believe this is part of that denominational, or “I’m right and you’re wrong” argument. What I do know for a fact is this, when YESHUA took me to Him, He didn’t excoriate me for calling Him YESHUA! Remember, it was God Himself who confounded the languages at Babel. Be assured, God knows every language that exists, or has ever existed. He also knows everything that is or has been in your heart and in your mind. YESHUA knows exactly what each and every one of us has been doing and thinking. Don’t try to hide the truth, it simply won’t work. Honesty really is the best policy.

What also strikes me about this sequence regarding the Torah, is in Genesis, Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy when you start with a letter, then you count 49 or 7×7, then the next is 50. Then you repeat the process. What does that remind you of anyway? The Counting of the Omer? The Feast of Weeks followed by Shavuot (Pentecost), as well as seven Sabbatical years or 49 years and the next is the 50th or the Jubilee year. If nothing else I would suggest this is noteworthy and it’s interesting. In Leviticus, every 7th letter which spells out God’s name reminds me of every 7th day or Sabbath day; His day, the one He sanctified and made Holy. My conclusion is God loves His Torah and His Sabbaths, and we should too.

The Bible states man’s years are 120. Could this be referring to 120 Jubilee cycles? If so, I believe we are in the last cycle right now. Yes, I do believe we are the last generation, but I’m not going to put on a sandwich-board that says ‘the end is near’, and walk through the streets ringing a bell screaming repent sinners! Although it might not be a bad idea.

I have been fortunate to find other evidence of God’s work on this planet by people who have dedicated their lives to God. Noah’s Ark was found and it’s in the Ararat Mountains, there is even a visitors center there, if you wish to visit. Under the waters of the Gulf of Aqaba, chariots, bones and other artifacts can and have been found where YEHOVAH led Moses and His people Israel out of Egypt while crossing the Red Sea going to Mount Sinai, which is in Saudi Arabia. There is even a pillar commemorating the event placed there by King Solomon on the west side of the Gulf. Not to mention the top of Mount Sinai is still burnt to this day. There is Sodom and Gomorrah where all that’s left that will burn is the brimstone. I should also mention Ron Wyatt’s discovery of the Ark of the Covenant under the spot where YESHUA was crucified. Of course this has not been brought out to the public, but you can watch the video of Mr. Wyatt discussing this discovery, as well as the aforementioned Biblical discoveries. There are also others who speak of these historical Biblical finds.

Please don’t think that I’m trying to spit in the faces of people who view this subject differently than I do, because I’m not. I’m only attempting to relate an unbelievable series of events which happened to me over a period of years, as well as where I have ended up, and what I have come to believe. And with every ounce of my being I state this with absolute certainty, I no longer find any of what has happened, or what is happening, to be unbelievable in any way.

Many people have told me that I need to put this down on paper in hopes it will help others. I do pray that at least one person who needs help and who reads these words will find something that is of use to them. But I must unequivocally state, pray to YESHUA for help in understanding and read your Bible. That’s where the answers can and will be found. Start at Genesis and read until you get to Revelation, then read it again and again until you understand. I’m not sure if I understood much of what I read the first time around, but I will admit, each time I read a part of the Bible again, I understand more and I see things I didn’t see before. After all, it’s a learning process.

This is what I have come to believe over the last seven years. I’m not the authority on the subject, but I do believe this is where I have been led by YEHOVAH our Father, His only begotten Son YESHUA and HIS Holy Spirit. I would like to think that I have reached the seventh day and I look forward to the coming of the eighth day. I ask my Shepherd YESHUA to keep me on His path every day, I assure you I don’t want to stray off into the darkness and get lost again.

The day YESHUA took me to see Him was by far the best moment of my life. Think about it for a moment, He actually took His precious time to speak with me of all people. If I hadn’t been so awestruck, I would have asked Him if I could have stayed with Him. Of course, I have no doubt He would have either laughed, smiled or both before saying no! All things in due time.

Please, I implore you, write YEHOVAH’s laws on your heart, on your mind and on your hands, and keep them in your mouth. The ten commandments are very important to Him, or else He wouldn’t have belabored the point. He’s also very explicit as to the observance of His Holy Days and Feasts. The Holy Bible tells us that as believers in and followers of YESHUA, the only begotten Son of the Living God, who came in the flesh and died for our sins and was resurrected three days and three nights later and now sits at the right hand of YEHOVAH, are grafted into His olive tree. That means we are part of His people Israel; we are YEHOVAH-YESHUA’s people and as such, we need to follow His commandments.

I believe followers of YESHUA should stop the infighting and come together in His Holy Name and do His works to bring honor and esteem to YEHOVAH. And I don’t mean go around and try to make legs grow where there aren’t legs. I mean live like YESHUA to the best of your ability. Tell others about YESHUA who don’t know about Him. But most of all, we need to confess with our mouths that YESHUA died for our sins and three days and nights later was resurrected by our Father. We are all taking part in a learning process. YESHUA was the only one who actually did exactly what He was supposed to do, so He would please our Heavenly Father and not sin. If you look up the word sin, you will find that sin is transgression of the law; lawlessness or anomia: to be without Torah.

Many people state that I’m delusional, many state the exact opposite. Years ago I would have been in the camp of people who believe this is only delusion, but today I’m not. It’s up to us to make the effort to find Him; to seek His Face. He’s right there speaking, all we have to do is listen. He’s knocking at the door, don’t be afraid to go and open the door right now.

I want you to understand, I remember what it was like to be led around by the nose by evil and it was very cold. Now I know there is nowhere I would rather be than in YESHUA’s Holy presence; YESHUA is the only Way to the Father YEHOVAH.

All of the witnesses who said to me, “God has something He wants you to do,” were undoubtedly correct in their assumptions. Although I have to laugh, because to this day I still don’t know what it is that YESHUA wants me to do. I constantly ask Him for the wisdom to find the answer, but I’m still looking. I have no doubt that when the time is right, this will be revealed to me.

Perhaps this testimonial to our Elohim’s Glory is one of the things He wants me to do for Him. Prayer has helped me with this work, I could not have done this without YESHUA’s help.

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The Seventh Day

There is no doubt in my mind that YESHUA is everything to me. These days I prefer to tell Him how Holy, glorious and loving He is. How His capacity for forgiveness and wisdom is unparalleled.

I constantly tell YESHUA how much I need Him with me in my life and how imperative it is for me to have His Torah written on my heart and in my mind, so the tricks of the adversary won’t touch me. I cannot allow Satan to tempt me or trick me again the way he did in the past.

When I look back on the last number of decades, I know there is no way I want to repeat the mistakes which I have already made. That would be a grave error. I have already gone down that road once and I don’t plan on a repeat performance. That would be even more stupid than what I have already done.

I truly believe if I was looking at YESHUA’s face, I could walk on water. This leads me to believe that my faith does in fact need to be strengthened. After all, YESHUA did say in Matthew 17:20, “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed you could tell a mountain to move and it would; and nothing shall be impossible to you.” Then in Luke 17:6, YESHUA said, “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed you say to a sycamine tree (mulberry tree), be plucked up by the root and be planted into the sea and it should obey you.” I believe that without question. Please be assured that what YESHUA was talking about was the spiritual battle in which we are all engaged.

The storm that is brewing on this planet is growing larger by the day. Undoubtedly, it will reach epic proportions before we know what hit us. All you have to do is read your Bible to find out how this catastrophe will unfold right before our very eyes; read Jeremiah 51 or Revelation 18 to name a couple of examples. It’s right there and it will happen, whether we like it or not. Bible prophecy is not something to scorn, it’s something to be embraced and for good reason; it’s YEHOVAH’s Word and that Word is YESHUA.

The question is, will we be prepared? As I look around, I would suggest the answer is an unequivocal no for many people out there. Daily I witness people pushing the wrong agenda. There are abominations which seem to abound inside and outside of our nation; there is the outright disdain of the Sabbath, murder at an unprecedented rate, adultery, theft, false gods, dishonoring of parents, out of control abortion statistics from our nation and around the world and Islam and Universalism are being foisted upon us and the world more and more each day. Unfortunately, people are embracing these false doctrines with zeal and will surely continue to do so in the future.

We must completely surrender ourselves to YESHUA while we still have the opportunity. Our souls and the soul of our nation are at stake. The time to act is now, not tomorrow. Ask YESHUA to help you and to teach you; ask YESHUA to forgive you for your sins; ask YESHUA to be your Elohim.

Thank you YEHOVAH, our Heavenly Father, may Your Holy Name be sanctified. Blessed is He who comes in the Name of YEHOVAH. Bless YESHUA. Amen and amen.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim. He was in the beginning with Elohim. All came to be through Him, and without Him not even one came to be that came to be. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

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The Ten Commandments

You will have no other gods before Me.

You will not make any graven image.

You will not take the name of YEHOVAH your Elohim in vain.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Respect your father and your mother.

You will not murder.

You will not commit adultery.

You will not steal.

You will not bear false witness.

You will not covet.

 

Keep the Sabbath’s and the Feast days of YEHOVAH – Read Leviticus 23, and don’t be without Torah.

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