This book is an account of a truly unbelievable experience. The first and last chapters are about the before and after, and I must concede that the initial transition may be rather confusing to most. This was necessary to avoid giving away too much too soon, but it will all make sense in the end (I hope).
If you are inclined to skip ahead to the end of books you go to read, it would be in your best interest to refrain from doing so with this book. For skipping ahead would cheat you out of the full effect of the twist at the end.
Please keep in mind that the contents of this book are presented as a fantasy. Although it is arguable that all of it could actually happen, this is meant to be a fantasy—not reality. So, if it gets to the point where your logical mind wants to have a meltdown, let your imagination take you to where you may have never dared to tread before.
Quite frankly, the only reason I was out there that night was on account of having had enough. Simply put, I had come to the conclusion that my life in this world was no longer worth living.
Yeah, I have felt that way on many an occasion over the years, but I was deadly serious this time. For my beloved wife had been called home years before, and my health (both physical and spiritual) was worse than ever.
Oh, my precious Jenny was everything to me almost from the first moment I layed eyes upon her. I now know that was a big part of my problem. For our Heavenly Father was supposed to be my everything, and I had even consistently preached such while trying to maintain a ministry no one wanted to receive much help from. Nonetheless, I justified my true feelings for her as being nothing more than cherishing a very precious gift from our Heavenly Father to me.
When I first met my precious Jenny, I was wallowing at the bottom of one of my infamous low points. Low points? They were really more like bottomless pits of despair to me. For I have suffered through many trials and tribulations in the pursuit of love and happiness over the years.
Okay, I was as guilty as anyone ever has been of looking for love in all of the wrong places, and it can be argued that there is great value to learning about what not to do. In any event, I felt like my education was costing me more than I wanted to pay.
Along the same lines, I have always tried to lean heavily upon my sense of humor to survive between times when I no longer wanted to live another second in the sad state of affairs I far too often (in my opinion) found myself in, and I used to try to joke about suffering another heartbreak not being such a bad thing. After all, I would reason, the heart is mostly made up of muscle and muscle tears/breaks are repaired by the body with scar tissue, which cannot feel anything. Subsequently, the more heartbreaks one suffers—the less is left of one’s heart to feel pain! Yeah, I never considered the joke to be all that funny, neither.
When my precious Jenny came along, there was no longer any reason to make jokes like that. For she was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside, and she certainly helped to erase all of the previous pain in my heart.
It was so amazing. For I had made a truly pathetic fool out of myself many times in the past while literally begging women to love me, but with my precious Jenny, I found a heart longing for love as much as mine.
No, it was not the union of two pathetic fools. Twenty-seven years of blissful marriage should serve as sufficient proof in and of itself of that to even the most cynical sort.
Okay, our marriage was not all good. For we were almost always under an enormous amount of financial pressure, but that had nothing to do with the way we truly loved each another.
While I certainly cannot say the same for myself when it came to her loving me, my precious Jenny sure made it easy for me to love her. For she never left any doubt about her always having my best interest at heart, and she made the best meatloaf I have ever tasted! Furthermore, she was smokin’ hot (if you know what I mean).
What I still find quite shocking is that what I found the most attractive about my precious Jenny was her mind. Yeah, I know it sounds like a cliché, but I could talk to her for hours upon end about everything from politics to punditry, sports to science fiction, rock music to religious traditions.
No, I had never before met a woman quite like her. Of course, it is arguable that I had never really looked for one. For before I met her, I had to have been as shallow a rutting buck ranging about looking for does in heat as one can be. During my wilder days, I even enthusiastically embraced an attitude of eight to eighty, crippled or crazy—if they cannot walk, I will drag them!
In all fairness to myself, even though my focus was primarily upon satisfying my own sexual desires, I also wanted to help women as obviously damaged as I was. After all, why would any of them have wanted to have anything to do with me if they were not so damaged?
I had been raised to be a good Southern Baptist, but as the years went by, what I had been taught at home and church seemed less and less real to me. All of that changed after my precious Jenny helped to introduce me to who our Heavenly Father truly is.
Well, not exactly. For what I was being taught by our Heavenly Father was actually quite a departure from what I had been taught at home and church during my youth. Therefore, it was not like I was being led back to the way I had been raised to go.
Oh my, I was so excited. For I was starting to truly have a very close and personal relationship with the Lord God Almighty Himself and receiving answers to really important questions being asked by millions upon millions each and every day. Not that I would be in it for the money, but I could envision making a pretty good living from leading revivals throughout the world.
However, what I did not understand was that the hardness of far too many hearts was exceedingly great, which resulted in very few responding very well to what I was being given to say. What I also did not understand was that I had been afflicted with an incurable disease, which resulted in me never being able to make enough money to keep us from suffering from an enormous amount of financial pressure.
As if all of that did not already make for quite a cross to bear, medical testing determined that I was indeed sterile. This was something I wanted to believe was a blessing while I was out there sowing my wild oats, but with my precious Jenny so desperately wanting to have children, I came to consider my sterility as being another curse.
I could at least take some comfort in knowing that my rapidly deteriorating health was not my fault. For examinations by several doctors of different specialties concluded that my previous lifestyle had not contributed to my current ailments, but seeing how much my disabilities were causing my precious Jenny to suffer made it next to impossible for me take comfort in much of anything. We used to try to joke about how many jewels were being placed in her Heavenly crown on account of me until it became just plain too painful to laugh about it anymore.
No, tripping down memory lane was not a very pleasant experience for me, and I wanted our Heavenly Father to end my pain—either by killing or curing me. I did not really care, either way. Had I done went plumb insane or what?
Considering the fact of me being out there on such a night should erase all doubts about that. For I cannot imagine anything worse than freezing to death—except for maybe burning to death, which was also a possibility with me calling my Spiritual health into question.
One could say that it sure appeared to be an absolutely incredible night without employing any exaggeration at all. For it looked more like high noon than around midnight with an extraordinarily bright full moon shining down upon well over three feet of freshly fallen snow and more coming down.
Adding all the more to the surrealism was an occasional gust of wind. For it would send millions of tiny ice crystals and snowflakes swirling into the air—much like glitter in a snow globe after it has been shook.
In spite of my agony, I just had to smile at the thought of a snow globe. For one of the funniest things I have ever seen is a Pixar short film about a snowman trying to get out of his snow globe in order to have some fun with a blonde beach bunny, who was urging him to come on over and party with her and her friends.
However, my moment of mirth was just that—a moment. For what floated through my mind next was an image of our Heavenly Father and dozens of His holy angels laughing their heads off while watching the most popular comedy in Heaven, which was a show about me trying to get out of the snow globe I had been trapped in my entire life. In reality, I had always thought of my life in this world as being more like being trapped in a vacuum than a snow globe, but the premise remains the same.
“Do you no longer believe in the Lord’s goodness and mercy?”
“I would sure like to,” I replied.
“But I am so very tired.”
I was just about to give another reply when I realized that the conversation I was having was not in my head. For a man had evidently walked up to where I was sitting under a large red oak, and he was now sitting next to me in the snow.
After I took a moment or two to adjust to the situation, I decided to discreetly look for the man’s tracks in the snow to see from what direction he had approached me. Much to my shock, there were not any.
Had he been there long enough for the snow to obscure his path? No, that could not be it. For there were the tracks of the deer that had sauntered past without noticing me sitting here an hour or so ago, and in regards to him following in my own tracks, drifting snow had obscured them completely.
“Please forgive me, but I must interject that carrying on a conversation with yourself when someone else can hear it might leave a wrong impression in certain circles,” the man said with a hint of levity to his voice.
That startled me even more. For I was quite sure I had not uttered a single word out loud since the first exchange. On the other hand, I was beginning to think that I could not be quite sure about anything at the time.
No, it did not help me to calm down a bit that his face was shrouded in the shadows when I went to see what this person looked like. Adding all the more to my anxiety was that I could actually feel the intensity of his gaze as it bored down deep into my soul.
After what seemed like hours, which was probably no more than a few seconds, I took a deep breath and asked, “What do you want?”
“Well, right now, I would like to know what you are so tired of,” the man said in a matter of fact tone.
I stared at the silhouette of his face for probably another much shorter period of time than it seemed to me before I asked, “Who are you?”
“A very old friend,” the man answered.
“I do not recognize you.”
“It is hard to recognize others when you do not really know who you are, yourself,” the man said with no hint of levity to his voice this time, followed by a deep sigh.
That really stung. For I felt like I knew who I was created to be, and yet, there I was trying to force my Creator’s hand.
The man then asked, “What are you doing out here, anyway?”
“I am hoping to go home if my Heavenly Father will still have me,” I answered.
“Why would He not want to still have you?”
Letting out a deep sigh of my own, I answered, “Because of me not being content with the life I was given to live in this world.”
His next utterance caught me somewhat by surprise. For I was expecting a harsh rebuke, but he actually used a very gentle tone to ask, “Is that what you are so tired of?”
“Most of all, I do not consider it fair at all for Him to give me such a wonderful wife only to take her away from me much too soon. There are also all of the physical ailments I have not been delivered from, which have greatly contributed to the feeling of being held back that I have had for as long as I can remember.”
“Would you care to elaborate upon feeling like you have been held back?”
“Do you not already know?”
“Well, contracting rheumatic fever put me behind at a very early age. For not only did it stunt my physical growth, it gave my paranoid parents an excuse to do everything they possibly could to keep me safe and sound.”
“Your parents wanting to do everything they could to keep you safe and sound does not sound like such a bad thing.”
“When it included keeping me in their sight almost every second of each and every day, it was certainly not a good thing to me.”
“Every second of each and every day?”
“Okay, they were not with me when I was attending classes in school, but almost everywhere else, one or the other was around.”
“My parents would not let me play football while I was in high school, and I believe I would have been really good at it. For I was pretty fleet of foot for a white boy back then.”
“Could you not have been on the school track and field team?”
“Yeah, but there were no cheerleaders at the meets.”
“Is there anything else?”
“My parents would not let the school skip me ahead to a higher grade level a couple of times, and I was also held back from making Eagle in the Boy Scouts as early as I could have.”
“Why would your parents not want you to make Eagle as quickly as you could have?”
“Okay, being held back in the Boy Scouts was not of my parents doing, but it sure added to the overall affect.”
The man had leaned forward enough to where I could see the lower part of his face, which was not necessarily a good thing about then. For it gave me a clear view of a slight grin starting to form as he responded with, “Oh yes, I can see where you had a miserable childhood. It is a wonder your parents were not brought up on charges of child abuse.”
“Yeah, I know how it sounds,” I quickly fired back, “but one needs to spend some time inside of my head to truly understand what I have been going through. For I have always felt like I was meant for greatness. Yet, every perceived opportunity at true success fell flat over the years. The worst was being allowed and enabled to know and understand so much about what the Lord God Almighty actually says is absolutely true. For simply pointing out the differences between what has been so widely taught in His name and what He actually says is absolutely true should have ignited a revival that could have spread throughout the entire world, but it has been like knowing that the water is safe to drink among a bunch of people dying of thirst.”
“Would you have preferred Him not revealing those things to you?”
“Well, my precious Jenny was fond of saying that ignorance is bliss.”
“Was it not explained to you that life in this world is meant to appear to be grossly unfair, but great will be the reward for all who will just want to give God the full benefit of their considerable doubts and endure until their time as a part of this world comes to an end?”
“Yes, but there is a big difference between understanding something and having to actually experience it for yourself.”
The grin on his face had been replaced by a look of great concern. Well, at least to the extent I could see, but I didn’t need to see his whole face to feel his bitter disappointment.
In an effort to hopefully smooth things over as much as possible, I continued with, “To be perfectly honest about it, I do not really know what I want. For I still want to believe that our Heavenly Father truly is perfect in all of His most awesome ways. Therefore, I have to be in the wrong, but I just do not have enough strength left to keep fighting losing battles. It was more bearable when my precious Jenny was still alive. Can you at least tell me why He had to take her away so soon, and why I have had to endure over ten years without her?”
“It is not for me to say at this time.”
“Yeah, like that comes as a great shock.”
“However, I am here to tell you one thing.”
“Should I hold my breath in eager anticipation?”
“Despite your unjustified bitterness and most unrighteous disrespect, it has been decided to let your will be done.”