The Paint of our Heart


When you open a fresh can of paint it is clean and ready to beautify. If you have completely cleaned up all the dust and debris, your paint remains just as it was prior to opening the can. The more you paint the beauty continues to shows it face. It’s when our brush picks up some dust or dirt and we dip it back into the can of paint that the paint begins to change. If we forget and leave the top off for a period of time a film can form which creates small lumps in the paint can. Before long you notice something on the wall that you need to remove or even worse, it is not found until the paint is dry. What happen? It started out so perfect.

How we handle our fresh can of paint is the same as how we handle the emotional side of our heart. It starts out so perfect with nothing but love. But then we allow it to become contaminated. It’s never the heart itself, but it’s the surroundings, the environment, and the influences that change it into something different than how it began. If we put the cover back on the paint, debris cannot enter. If we protect our hearts or the heart of a loved one, we keep it clean.

The heart just like a fresh can of paint requires proper handling. We need to be aware of what we put into it or it’s beauty and love will change or even disappear completely. When this happens it takes some hard work to restore it. But just like a can of paint, once it is contaminated, it never returns back to it’s original state.

32 – Searching for Understanding – A Startling Comment


Tom slept most of the night waking only when the nurses came in to check on him. Randy and Jill had gone back to Greg and Sandy’s and had slept better than they had in several days. Ann slept well but was up early and was sitting in the family room when her mom walked in. You want some coffee Ann? Ann smiled and nodded a yes to her mom. Ann was feeling a little nauseous but didn’t want her mom to know anything was up. At one point she got up excusing herself to use the bathroom but it was a false call. Before long Greg joined them and then Jill and Randy came down. They were all sitting around talking about Tom waking up after Ann and Sarah along with all their friends started singing. It was like a miracle had happened, commented Jill showing her emotions were still running on high. Each hour that went by as he laid there motionless with only an occasional twitch of the eyes had me terrified that things were not going well. I was terrified that there was more damage than we knew about. Jill, you were not alone in your feelings added Ann. I just had to pray that everything was going to be alright. But now I just know everything is going to be alright. Jill walked over and sat down next to Ann on the sofa, put her arm around her and gave her a hug. You are so good for Tom. I know how much he loves you. He would call me every few weeks and we would talk and generally most of his conversation would be about you or at least have you in it. Ann smiled at Jill adding, I love him too and he just has to be alright.

Before long Sandy suggested that they all get rounded around and she was going to treat them all to breakfast out at the local Egg & I restaurant before they went back to the hospital. Oh that really sounds good, replied Greg. I’m starving. Everyone got up and headed off to get ready except for Ann. Sandy carried the empty coffee pot back to the kitchen and cleaned up a little before she headed towards the bedroom to get ready to leave. As she walked by the family room she could see Ann still sitting in the same place with her coffee cup still filled close to the top. Aren’t you going to come Ann? No, I don’t feel the best and I promised Sarah I would call her as soon as I was up and we were going to go visit Tom together this morning.

After Sandy was dressed and ready to leave she walked back into the family room to see Ann still sitting in the same spot. Are you feeling any better now? Are you sure you should go if you are coming down with something questioned Sandy? Can I get you anything? Nothing mom, I am feeling a little better and I am sure it is nothing other than nerves. Sandy looked at Ann and smiled, turned to head out to the kitchen but couldn’t help feeling that something else was going on that she wished Ann would share with her. Ann, noticing her mom’s look of concern quickly added; you guys go and enjoy breakfast and we will meet you at the hospital. Ann picked up her phone and dialed Sarah who picked up after the first ring.

Hi Ann, how are you doing? Well I am a little nauseous this morning and I think I know why. It’s not the flu. Sarah chuckled a little but knew it was not the time to be funny so she offered up; it will pass and you are going to be fine. When do you want me to come over? Anytime you can, Ann replied as she stood up and started to make a quick move back towards the bathroom. I think I am going to be sick again. I will be ready when you get here. Ok replied Sarah as she yawned loud enough that Ann could tell she was still in bed. I just need to get rounded around and I will be over in about an hour. Ok, but I am still in my PJ’s and I have to work around this broken arm and nausea. If you beat me just come on in, have a cup of coffee and I will get ready as quick as I can. See you in a while replied Ann as she tossed her phone on the table, made a beeline to the bathroom just in time to find the edge of the porcelain thrown.

Ann’s nausea passed and she was dressed and waiting for Sarah as she drove up their drive. It wasn’t long and the girls were on their way to the hospital. Arriving early the visitor’s parking lot was mostly empty except Sarah noticed that Joe’s car was still sitting right where it was last night when they left. Sarah’s mind was searching for answers that were put to rest as they entered Tom’s room to see Joe sleeping in the chair next to Tom’s bed. Hearing the door open he opened his eyes as Sarah and Ann walking around the end of Tom’s bed. Did you stay here all night Joe, Sarah asked as she put her hand on the back of his neck and started to rub it a little? I started to leave but I had to come back in one more time and just decided to stay and the nurses told me it would be alright. If Tom woke up and wanted to talk I wanted to be here. Ann looked at Joe, smiled letting Joe know how much she appreciated him and his friendship. Was he awake at all, did you guys get a chance to talk inquired Ann? No one called us from the hospital last night, so I assumed he slept all night. Well he slept most of the night and only woke up when the nurses would come in to check on him. We never talked. He just moved around a little and then went back to sleep. They told me that the pain meds they have him on will make him sleep a lot. They are planning to start a decrease in his meds today after the Doctor visits him. They want to see how he handles the pain from his injuries and not keep him doped up so much. As the sound of Ann’s voice quietly made its way into Tom’s ear he shifted a little in his bed, opened his eyes and smiled in the direction of the sound. Ann moved over towards his bed, took his hand and leaned over giving him a kiss. Joe’s smiled a little as he got up and walked over to Sarah who had made her way to the other side of Tom’s bed and putting his arms around her, he pulled her close and gave her a kiss on her forehead. Joe quickly added, now that your two are here, I think I will run home and shower and come back in a little while. This will probably be the last day I can take off work so I want to come back and spend most of it here. Looking over at Tom who had closed his eyes again, he just smiled saying to himself that you are going to be alright my friend. Joe waved as he headed out of Tom’s room and made his way down the hall towards the door that led to his car.

Before long the nurse on duty walked in and started to check over Tom and he opened his eyes again to see Ann and Sarah standing at the foot of his bed. Tom looked at Ann and motioned for her to come around the other side of the bed. She moved around to the side and he held out his hand for hers and taking it. Ann started to tear up a little. Are you ok Ann? I’m going to be fine. He tugged on her arm trying to pull her close and Ann leaned down to give him a kiss when she heard him say; I love you Ann. With the spark of old Tom he added; you have something special to tell me don’t you? Ann quickly pulled back and looked into Tom’s eyes just as her tears came to a full flow dripping off her cheeks. The nurse had just finished up and left the room leaving only Tom, Ann and Sarah. What are you talking about, Tom. Ann, you know you can talk to me about anything. Yes, but… Ann stopped mid-sentence when Tom smiled and said; the baby – our baby. How did you know about that Tom? Did the nurse tell you? Tom quickly but calmly said no, no she didn’t tell me. Then how do you know? The only ones that knew were Sarah and the nurse. Well I think someone else knows it also Ann. What are you talking about Tom? Well I told Joe replied Sarah, but… He didn’t tell you did he? No – Joe and I haven’t talked. Did you know he stayed the night with you, replied Ann. Really, I had no idea? I must have slept all night.

Tom closed his eyes like he was going to fall back asleep but quickly opened them up again and said; well when I died… Tom closed his eyes again.

“To be continued”

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When one dies what happens to the soul, the spirit, that part of our living body that keeps everything physically and mentally working? Does it die along with the physical body? Who are we anyway?

31 – Searcing for Answers – The Awakening


Ann had been home for two days and Tom had been off the drugs that had kept him in his induced coma and everyone was on edge, like sitting on pins and needles waiting for the first sign that he was going to wake up. Ann had spent every day going back to the hospital in spite of her need of rest to be with Tom. Sarah was generally with Ann and Tom’s mom and dad, Jill and Randy, were always close by. Joe would come and go throughout the day and into the evening. June would stop in a couple times a day to check up on Sarah and to see how Tom was doing and to support Ann as she was still struggling to sleep and was having nightmares about the accident.

Everyone including the doctors was beginning to worry about Tom. At one point about 24 hours after they removed the drugs that induced the coma from Tom, he opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling. He held them open for several minutes but then he just slipped back into his comatose state. He had been restless and the doctors could tell he was in a lot of pain so they administered some pain medication to help Tom relax which appeared to work. However, this also slowed the waking up process that was so important. Joe was talking to the doctor and the nurses down at the nurse’s station as he was searching for anything that could help bring Tom around. If you know anything that Tom likes or something that could possibly stimulate his mind might work, replied the doctor. I have seen times when just having a pastor praying next to someone will snap someone back, or talking to him about things that he really enjoyed to do. But I don’t know what is really important to Tom so maybe you could think of something. After a little thought Joe told the doctor that one of Tom’s favorite things to do was to build a bonfire out in the woods. He always likes when I play my guitar and sing while we all sit next to the fire. He always told me how much he enjoyed it and how it relaxed him. Yes, something like that just might help replied the nurse behind the desk but I don’t think we can take him to the woods. But some good music around here would be nice.

Joe walked away and headed back to the waiting room and found Ann drinking a cup of coffee. After explaining what the doctor and nurse told him he stood up and told her he was going to get his guitar and try it. Before long he was sitting in Tom’s room playing softly and quietly singing a couple songs that Tom always liked to hear. Everyone left them alone in hopes that this just might do the trick and Tom might wake up. After about an hour had passed and several songs had been sung, Joe leaned back in his chair and quietly said a prayer. Dear God, I am not sure why this had to happen, I am really new at this but I know you can hear me. Please help me help Tom. I can’t do this by myself. I need your help. Show me what to do next. Please help me. Please wake Tom up and heal his body and be with Ann in this time as she waits for Tom and the issue of her pregnancy. She loves Tom and Tom loves her and they need to be together. Thanks in advance for all your help and for having such patience with me.

Joe sit up in his chair and was about to walk out of Tom’s room when he had an idea. He hurried down to the waiting room but it was empty so he headed outside and found Sarah and Ann sitting on a bench just staring at the tree and the baby birds in the nest above them as the mother bird would fly out and find food and then bring it back and feed them. He could hear them talking as he was approaching from the back. Joe stopped giving them privacy he sensed they needed. Ann this is why I believe you need to be happy about the pregnancy and just wrap your arms around being a mom. When two people fall in love and share together what you and Tom shared, this can be the result which is beautiful. You maybe didn’t plan it to happen, or even want it to happen right now, but it is still real, this baby is real, it is alive, its little heart is beating, it is in your body soaking up your love and it is part of you and Tom now. This baby needs to have your love, the same love you have for Tom. This baby became a living part of both of you the moment it was conceived. I know you didn’t plan it to happened, but it did. I know Sarah, but it is such a big step and I don’t even know if Tom will be happy about it and we are not married and I am still very young and… Yes Ann you are but you have to wait until Tom is out of the woods and recovering. He needs you and you need to wait until you both have a chance to talk about it. I will Sarah.

Joe walked up to them once he knew that had stopped their conversation and told them his idea. They both thought that if anything would work that just might be it. Joe headed back to his car and fired out a text message to every one of their friends and set a time of 7:00pm so everyone would be able to make it. He walked back in to the hospital and told the nurse what he had planned and she told him to have everyone as quiet as possible but she was sure it would be alright. The rest of the morning and the afternoon seemed to drag with no response from Tom. He was just lying still in his bed and only on occasion would he move his eyes just a little. No one knew what he was going though, what his mind was thinking if anything. All they knew was they wanted him to wake up.

Around 7:00pm Joe made his way from the waiting room with Ann and Sarah back down to Tom’s room. After a few minutes had passed Randy and Mary walked in together and before long Pet and Nancy, Cal and Connie and Carol and Paul were all standing around Tom’s bed. Paul had brought his laptop with him and he set it on the rolling bed table, fired it up and pushed it around so Tom would be looking at it. He turned up the volume and the soft sound of a crackling fire filled the room. Carol reached over and took Paul’s hand and leaned her head on his shoulder thinking where did this man come from? After a few minute of small talk, Joe picked up his guitar and Sarah and Ann walked up next to him and he started to play one of Tom’s favorite songs. Ann and Sarah started out singing and harmonized with a sound that quietly echoed down the hall putting smiles on everyone that could hear them. Before long everyone joined in and the whole group was singing just like they did at the campfire. The nurses and doctors stopped what they were doing long enough to listen, hearing the sound of love pouring out of the room. Other patients were listening and some who knew the songs joined in as the gang continued to sing. Randy and Jill had arrived and could hear them as they approached Tom’s room and were joined by Greg and Sandy. Before long even Sarah’s mom and dad, June and Carl, were standing outside the door of Tom’s room. Pastor Dan was in the hospital visiting one of the other people from the church that had surgery a couple days earlier when he heard the sound and made his way towards Tom’s room. As they all sang and Pastor Dan stood praying outside the door Tom unexpectedly opened his eyes. He turned his head toward the voice of Ann and Sarah and squeezed out the best smile he could. Then Ann who had been holding Tom’s hand bent over giving him a kiss and said; welcome back my love. As soon as Jill and Randy realized what had just happened they made their way to Tom’s bedside with tears rolling down their cheeks. Joe keep playing softly as the gang continued to sing and hum along. Pastor Dan quickly headed to the nurses station and told them that Tom was awake. Jumping to their feet they quickly went to check Tom’s vitals. One of the nurses paged the doctor on duty to inform him to come to Tom room.

After a few minutes had passed, the doctor arrive and the nurses requested everyone to leave for a few minutes except for Tom’s parents so they could give Tom a through checkup. They all made their way to the waiting room. It wasn’t long and Pastor Dan asked Sarah and Joe if he could lead them all in a prayer of thanks. Everyone stopped in their tracks as Pastor Dan prayed a prayer of thanks that would stick in their minds for a long time. As soon as Pastor Dan said amen, Ann headed towards the door. She couldn’t stand being away from Tom, so she told Sarah she was going back down to be with Tom and his parents. As soon as she arrived at the door Jill grabbed her by the hand, pulled her close and through her arms around her and hugged her as the tears flowed down the cheeks of both of them. The emotions were flowing so strong in Tom’s room that even the nurses had tears in their eyes.

The nurses and doctor had finished checking Tom over and told Jill, Randy and Ann that they could stay for a little while but they needed to let Tom rest as much as possible. Tom looked over at Ann and with a slight movement of his fingers they could tell he wanted to have her close. Ann walked over and taking hold of his hand she kissed him again. Tom tried to speak but it was hard. They had just removed the tube they had placed in his throat and things weren’t working very well but he managed to say; are you alright? Yes you craze guy, replied Ann. You are the one we are all worried about. With that Tom smiled, closed his eyes and appeared to slip back into a sleep. Everyone stood still as concern welled up inside each of them waiting for Tom to open his eyes again. Ann looked at the nurse and she tried to reassure them this is expected. A few minutes later he opened his eyes again and Ann was still standing holding his hand and as he looked to the other side he could see his mom holding the other with his dad standing alongside with his hand resting on his leg. Just than Joe and Sarah walked back in. Tom tilted his head and looking straight at them and smiled his special grin that let them know everything was going to be alright. Joe walked over to the bed saying; you had us all pretty worried. Sarah put her arm around Ann and then Tom closed his eyes and slipped back into a much needed sleep. The nurse that was staying in the room told them that it would be better if they could let him sleep for a while and that she would be staying with him and would let them know if there was any change.

The five of them made their way out the door and down the hall towards the waiting room. They could hear all the voices of cheer and laughter coming from inside as they opened the door to join them. Several of Tom’s friends still had pretty red eyes as they updated them on Tom’s condition. Jill spoke up telling everyone that the doctor said that because when he woke-up and appeared to recognized everyone, that it was a great sign and over the next 24 hours they would have a much better idea if there are any issues with this memory. The songs you sang were what he needed to hear. You guys are the greatest. Tom is blessed to have such wonderful friends that care so much for him.

Over the next fifteen minutes most of Tom’s friends made their way towards the parking lot and headed out. Joe and Sarah and all the parents lingered behind along with Pastor Dan. After a few minutes had passed Jill spoke up telling Pastor Dan how much she appreciated his prayers. I’m not even sure how you know Tom. I haven’t had a chance to even ask. But I am really happy you have been here for him. Ann smiled at Jill and told her that was a total other story and she would tell her all about it when they had some time. Pastor Dan just smiled his peaceful smile. That would be great Ann, replied Jill. Ann smiled saying I think we will need Sarah and Joe along so they can fill in between the lines. Let’s just say the last few weeks have been interesting to say the least.

Joe picked up his guitar and Sarah took hold of his hand and told Randy and Jill they would be back in the morning but to call if there was any new news. June and Carl and Greg and Sandy were making their way towards the door of the waiting room when Greg stopped long enough to pitch his keys to Randy and said I am riding home with Sandy. The front door will be unlocked. Come back anytime you want. Pastor Dan looked at Randy and Jill and told them he would check in on them tomorrow and he would keep all of them in his prayers. He handed them a card with his number on it and said call me anytime if I can help. Outside Joe and Sarah were standing close, embraced in a kiss when Sarah’s mom and dad walked out. Joe looked at Greg and Sandy and could only smile. That’s alright Joe we love her too, offered up Greg. They all laughed a little as Sarah looked up at Joe and smiled saying; I think I will ride home with mom and dad so you can get home and get some sleep. Joe really wanted to take Sarah home but his mind was also on Tom so he quickly agreed. Sarah gave Joe one last goodnight kiss as her parents were making their way to their car and turned and ran to catch up with them. You really like this guy don’t you Sarah? Oh mom replied Sarah as the smile gave it all away.

Randy walked over to Jill and put his arms arm her pulling her close. It was only a few moments when they both just slid down in a chair. They looked at each other and smiled. Randy we are so lucky our son is going to be alright. Look at all the great friends he has that care so very much for him. I can see just how much Ann is in love with him and I could see it in his eyes as he looked at her when he first woke up. Both Randy and Jill leaned their head on the back of their chairs, closed their eyes and enjoyed the moment, thankful for the peace they finally found after such a stress filled week.

“To be continued”

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22 – Searching for Answers – The Bonfire


How will Sarah handle all of Joe’s friends and her first party hanging out with them? Does Tom have anything special planned to spice things up a little?

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Joe drove up to Sarah’s place and quickly headed to the front door. Just as he was about to ring the doorbell, the door quickly opened and it was Sarah’s mom. Hi Joe, Sarah’s heard you drive up and is not quite ready and asked me to have you come in for a couple minutes. She said it wouldn’t be long. She was a little late getting home from work today. No biggie replied Joe. We are not on any type of time schedule. It’s not like we had to have a reservation for a bonfire. June laughed as she smiled at Joe. You have a great sense of humor Joe. I like that. It is what makes life fun. Too many people get all serious and loose what this life is really meant to be about. God wanted us to have fun and enjoy what he created not be some stick in the mud. Just then Sarah walked around the corner. Well you two have fun, Sarah’s mom added as she turned to make her way towards the kitchen. We will mom. I won’t be too late. I plan to go to church in the morning. Hey Joe, are you still coming with me? Sure am. That’s great, replied June. Hey, I was planning to get your dad to take me out to lunch after the service. You guys want to join us? What do you think Joe, Sarah added as she smiled at Joe? Sounds like a winner to me as he took Sarah’s hand in his. Oh super, June replied with a sound of approval on her voice. I will tell dad to make a reservation for four so we don’t have to wait too long. You know how those Sunday after church crowds can be. Yes mom, Sarah replied as she smiled at Joe with a raised eyebrow. See you later if you’re still up. Ha, ha Sarah. You two have fun, replied June as she turned and walked back into the kitchen with a smile on her face telling herself how nice it is to see Sarah so happy. Joe must be good for that girl.

Joe and Sarah made their way to the car and found themselves standing next to the passenger’s door when Joe pulled Sarah up close and gave her a kiss which didn’t just last a couple seconds. Sarah responded with a huge hug as she kissed him back. I hope your mom and dad know how much I like you Joe added once the passion of their kiss slowed down. I think they already know Joe. Joe opened the door and Sarah climbed in and before long they were on their way to the location where the party was already underway having small talk about the day as they drove along.

Joe pulled into an open spot off to the side of the other vehicles and shut the engine off when Sarah said; wow, there are quite a few cars here. I hope I know somebody else or you are going to have to hang with me all night. Well I know Ann will be here and you know Tom, so you will know at least three of us. But beware of Tom. You just never know what he will say especially after he has loosened up a little. He just loves to start something or just make some off the cuff comment just to keep the party interesting. He really is a nice guy and I have always got along with him. I would call him one of my best friends. He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. Joe opened his door and reached over the seat and grabbed his guitar. Sarah latched onto the cooler with pop and beer in it and they made their way to the bonfire. I see they saved me my favorite tree to set next to, Joe told Sarah as he smiled to himself. Joe walked Sarah over to his favorite spot and had Sarah set next to the tree so she could use the trunk as a backrest as he would normally do. Oh I see what’s going on here Joe, Tom piped in. This must be serious if you are going to give up your special tree trunk to Sarah he continued as he pointed his finger waving it back and forth between Joe and Sarah. Yup, you got it Tom, responded Joe as he sat down on the log next to Sarah. We are very much together added Joe as Sarah looked at him with a surprised look on her face but also a smile of approval that everyone  could see. Joe looked around to see who all has showed up as he began to play a few note on his guitar making sure it was tuned correctly. Only a few seconds had passed when he noticed Carol sitting on the other side of the fire. Oh boy. I didn’t see this coming. Worry and concern started to rattle through his mind when he looked over at Tom just to see him smiling like he was the one that invited her. Joe started playing and a couple other guys joined in as the music began to add additional life to the flickering flames of the bonfire in front of them. The first song had lead into a second when Joe leaned over to Sarah and said guess who’s here? A lot of people I don’t know are here I can tell you that, responded Sarah. See the girl with the pink scarf as Joe motioned with his head. I think so. You mean the girl on the other side of the fire, questioned Sarah? Yes – well that is Carol. The “Carol”, Sarah whispered in his ear? Did you talk to her yet? No! Well she should know by now since you just announced to everybody that you and I were together and not just as a date. Well – one way or another she was going to find out about you, commented Joe as he picked up the pace of the song and rolled right into another one. Several of the girls stood up and started dancing around the fire. It was only a short time when several guys joined in after a little prodding by the girls. Others just relaxed and watched the flames dance in spectacular colors as they bounced off the logs and swirled in the air. The others were still playing their guitars when Joe stopped long enough to lay his down and ask Sarah if she would like a beer or a soda as he leaned over to open the cooler. A beer sound good right now replied Sarah. Joe fished out two beers handing one to Sarah.

Ann was sitting a little off to the left of Sarah and smiled as she waved when Sarah reach over to take the beer from Joe’s hand. Hi Ann. Joe told me you would be here. Do you know everybody here? Yes, most of them are friends we hang out with everyone once in a while, replied Ann. They are all a lot of fun and you will fit right in. If you can get along with Tom who is the biggest pain here, you will like everyone else, Ann said with a big smirk on her face. Oh come on Ann, replied Tom with a big grin. Me! You know you love me for it. You really think so Ann fired back. Well, I guess maybe sometimes I do. You do keep a party lively. You can say that again added Joe. Joe picked up his guitar again and the music continued for the next hour as the three players exchanged song ideas and those that knew the words to the songs sang along. Sarah was having a good time singing the songs she knew when Joe leaned over saying; wow, you have a great voice. Where did you learn to sing like that? You shouldn’t hide something that sounds as good as that. Well thank you Joe replied Sarah with a slight blush on her face not knowing how to reply to the compliment. I guess I did sing in choir at school and I still sing in the choir at church. I have actually liked to sing since I was a little girl. Ann overheard Sarah and Joe’s conversation and came over and sat down striking up a conversation about old times singing in the choir at school and the couple times they sang in church together. They started following along with the next song and before long were harmonizing taking the song to a new level, something that also surprised Tom. He just never realized Ann could sing that good either. Before long everyone was joining in, even those that couldn’t carry a tune if their life depended on it. Everyone was laughing and having a good time as the fire started to dwindle down. Joe leaned over to Sarah and said; I need to visit the rest room. I will be right back.

As Joe got up and walked away, Carol could finally see her opportunity to introduce herself to Sarah and find out just what’s really going on between the two of them. Walking around the fire she approached Sarah and sat right down in Joe’s spot, looked right at her and said hi, I’m Carol. I don’t think we have ever met. Well hi, I’m Sarah and no I don’t think we have. But it is nice to finally meet you. So you do know who I am, quickly replied Carol. Well Joe pointed you out and told me a little about how you two dated in the past. All good things I hope, replied Carol. He just said you guys dated for quite a while until you moved away. That’s true replied Carol. I take it that you two are an item now? Yah, we have been dating for the last couple months, replied Sarah as she offered up a smile that should have let Carol know she really liked Joe and that they were more than just ships passing in the night. Too bad for me I guess. Joe probably told you I was trying to get together with him again, added Carol, fishing to see if Sarah was totally interested in only Joe. Yes he did and he told me he was going to talk to you about us. He just hadn’t had a chance yet, Sarah responded with a look that should have sent a message to Carol that it was hands off Joe. Carol still wanting to check for any possibility that Sarah and Joe were just really good friends offered up; I was hoping Joe was unattached and that maybe we could get back together. But now I can see you two are a little bit attached. I think he was trying to tell me that the other night but I was not hearing what he was saying. Sorry if I caused any issue between you two. You know how guys can be though. A little wishy washy! Yes, you can say that again, Sarah added. Tom had been listening in on the conversation between Carol and Sarah and quickly replied with an; oh come on girls, guys aren’t like that. They sure are replied Sarah. Sarah, it was nice to meet you and you got yourself a real nice guy Carol added with a smile that let Sarah know any pursuit of Joe by Carol was over. Carol stood up and looked again at Sarah and added; if he treats you as nice as he did me you will be very happy. Joe walked out from around the corner and could see Carol standing next to Sarah and all he could think about was; oh boy, this night just went down hill. What is she up too? As Joe walked over to Sarah, Carol moved to the side making room for Joe to sit back down. Hi Carol, Joe responded as he looked down to the side to see Sarah looking directly at him with a smile. I see you met Sarah. Yes I did Joe and why didn’t you just tell me right out that you had a girlfriend? She is really nice and… well I like her and you better be good to her. Joe stood silent not knowing what to say. Carol just turned and started walking back to her seat next to Paul on the other side of the fire.

Hey, didn’t you and Joe date a couple years ago Paul asked Carol after she sat back down next to him? Yes we did, replied Carol. When I moved away I wanted a little freedom so I broke it off. I made a mistake I think. He is really a nice guy. Hey, what am I? Just a… oh stop replied Carol. I like you just as you are and I’ll bet you are as nice as anybody here once I get to know you. Paul smiled to himself thinking he would never have a shot with somebody as good looking as Carol. I try replied Paul. Carol smiled and gave Paul a peck on the cheek and no more reply was needed.

Tom looked over at Joe and smiled saying; guess that problem is gone. No thanks to you Joe replied. Ann hit Tom in the arm and Sarah laughed a little thinking back to what Joe told her. Hey Tom, sometimes things don’t turn out like you plan them Sarah said as she laughed at him? Ok, I guess I had that one coming, replied Tom as he grinned back at Sarah. Everyone broke out into a laugh and Sarah added, Tom I still like you and anyway I don’t have a choice if you are one of Joe’s friends. Ha, ha and that’s not going to end Sarah. We have been friends forever. We were neighbors while we were growing up and most of what Joe knows came from me. Well we can tell that none of his music talent ever rubbed off on you Tom! Wow, you’ve got quite the wit about you, don’t you Sarah? I try Tom. Joe just sat quietly listening and think how much he liked Sarah and how easily she handled Tom. I think Tom has met his match don’t you think Joe volleyed across to Ann? I think so Joe.

“To be continued”

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16 – Searching for Answers – Influences


What will Joe do with the information Dr. Bob gave him at their chance meeting? Will he hang around and wait for Carol to take another break?

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Joe sat at the bar and took another sip of his beer letting his mind continue to analyze the comments Dr. Bob had made when Carol walked up and asked if he would like another beer. I don’t think so. I need to go back home, get some sleep and be ready for work tomorrow morning Joe said smiling back at Carol. Well I thought you were going to update me on what has happened in your life Carol added. I would like to but I really need to get going. Well here’s a rain check with my new number on it, Carol smiled as she slid it across the bar to Joe. Give me a call if you ever want to get together. It would be fun. Joe tossed a twenty on the bar to pay his tab, picked up the paper Carol gave him saying it was great to see you again, stuffed it in his pocket and headed to his car.

Joe got in his car, sat back in his seat, turned on the radio and turned his mind loose trying to understand everything that just happened. He smiled to himself remembering how much fun he and Carol have had but then he remembered Sarah and how she made him feel and Carol never had that effect on him. What am I doing Joe mind snapped?

Joe fired up his car and headed home arriving just in time to catch the latest sports update. He headed off to bed and after a short time was sleeping like a baby. The next morning came quickly as usual and Joe got up, showered, ate breakfast and headed to work. He was almost there when he pulled over to the side of the road, picked up his phone off the seat next to him and dialed the office number. A recording came on and said; our office hours are between 8 and 5 Monday thru Friday. Please leave a message and we will call you back as soon as possible. Joe looked at his watch and it was only 7:45 am and quickly said; this is Joe. I need to take a personal day today. Sorry for the late notice but I have something that has come up and I must take care of it. I will be back in tomorrow.

Joe pulled a U-turn just as Tom drove by. Waving at him, Tom wonder where he was heading. He must have forgotten his tools or something. Joe headed back home, turned on his computer as soon as he walked in the door, started a fresh pot of coffee, and quickly started his search for answers. He searched the word “evolution” and found so much information he decided to change his search to “evolution vs. creation”. After reading several opinions he came across and advertisement for the book Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction and the statement from  Edward J. Larson, The International Society for Science and Religion Library Project: … “an invaluable resource for those seeking to understand the American controversy over creationism and evolution from the perspective of an eloquent and knowledgeable partisan … offers an insightful overview of the American controversy over teaching evolution along with a representative sampling of short excerpts from both creationists and evolutionists. By reading it, teachers, parents, students and the public can be better prepared to answer creationist claims and defend the teaching of evolution”. Joe quickly logged into the library site to see if they had the book available. After seeing it was on the shelf he headed to the library to pick it up. He found the book on the shelf and taking it to a chair he sat down and started to read through the information. Skipping around from chapter to chapter he began to get a feeling that the evolutionary community had an agenda based on how the book seemed to give a foundation to exclude creationism. Joe sat back and remembered what Dr. Bob had said the evening before about the odds of evolution happening and how the Bible tells us a different story.

Joe got up and headed back to the shelves and located a Bible and opened it up to the first book and read the first few chapters. So this is really what Sarah believes. What if she is right? What if we were created? What if some forms of evolution are real but it really all started with creation by God? This could mean that what we are taught in school is one-sided and we have never been given the rest of the story allowing each of us to make up our own mind on the subject. If I wouldn’t have run into Sarah on the street that day, I wouldn’t even be investigating this.

Joe leaned back in his chair and thought about the talks he and Sarah has had and also Dr. Bob. Then he remembered Tom and how he said you don’t want to become one of those people who can’t do anything fun do you. Joe got up and looked for a research book on the Bible. Finding one he opened it up and a paper fell out on the floor. Picking it up he started to read what was written on it. It was someone’s hand written “Rules of God”. The first is to Love your neighbor as yourself and second is to Love God with all your heart. It went on to say that one should follow the Ten Commandments because these were the rules laid down by God our creator. On the bottom of the paper he could see a note written in small letters that said; why man has made up rules and then claim that they are from God – is wrong. Just follow the simple rules that will make one’s life great and this world would be a better place. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

Joe stood smiling to himself, his heart was racing and all he wanted to do was call Sarah. He wanted to tell her what he found and how he was beginning to understand how she believed and why. That just the simple rules of the Ten Commandments which are really what everyone should do anyway and that he felt that the evolutionary world had an agenda and a desire to teach their side of the topic only he was starting to understand. How the world would be a better place if people were loved and not manipulated.

Joe put his books away and headed back to his car when he realized it was mid-afternoon already. Picking up his phone he called Sarah and she picked up after the first ring. Hi Joe, what’s happening? Well I played hooky from work today and have been at the library again and oh yah I saw Dr. Bob last night at the Pub. I really want to tell you what I have found. Are you free after work today? You played hooky Sarah responded with a laugh? No, not really. I called in and took a personal day to see if I could come to grips with everything Joe quickly replied. Before Sarah could say anything Joe said I need to see you. Can I come over? Well I am finishing up a project and getting ready to leave in about a half hour. Mom is planning on me to help her fix dinner tonight. Let me call her and see if she would mind if you join us. Can I call you back in a few minutes? Sure. But I don’t want to intrude on your family dinner replied Joe. I am sure it would be just fine Joe. I just don’t want to spring it on her at the last minute. I will call you right back.

While Joe sat in his car waiting for Sarah to call back, he closed his eyes and said; God if you are real, if you really made everything we see and hear, if you have that kind of ability then why do you let people do the bad things they do. I need to understand what is your plan anyway? If you are behind my dreams then I would like it if you would help me understand why and what you are trying to tell me but most of all just stop them. God please….. Joe phone was ringing and it was Sarah. We are going to eat around six and mom told me she would love to have you come over. If you want to come on over in about an hour, you can help me peal potato’s. Ok, I will see you in an hour at your place.

“To be continued”

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Joe is excited to tell Sarah about everything he has discovered, about his chance meeting with Dr. Bob, but will he tell her about his old girlfriend Carol? 

15 – Searching for Answers – Feelings, Convictions, Deep Thoughts


Where is Joe’s head anyway? Why doesn’t Sarah just give in to her feelings for Joe and not worry about any differences in beliefs? They have a great time together. That should be enough!

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Before long Joe was back at his place still wondering where those words “I think I love you” came from. Man, am I an idiot. I can’t live my life-like this. I’ve never believed in God let alone the one Sarah talks about. I don’t want to become one of those people I generally dislike. Besides, those church goers don’t want much to do with me. I don’t want to become a churchy guy and miss out on all that life has to offer. I really like Sarah but this is crazy. Joe was sitting in his favorite chair when he realized he hadn’t eaten and was quite hungry. He quickly jumped up and headed back to his car and drove to the local Pub.

Joe jumped up on one of the stools at the bar and ordered up an IPA along with a burger and fries. He was sitting there deep in thought when one of the bar tenders returned with his beer, sit it down in front of him and said; some heavy though going on in that head of yours Joe. What’s happening anyway. Joe looked up to see that it was his x-girlfriend, Carol. When did you start working here Joe commented with a startled look on his face. Just the other day. I needed some extra spending money so they hired me back. If you remember, I think that was the very same stool you sat in when we first met, Carol continued. Anyway, what’s your story? Stumbling to find words Joe continued saying – it’s really a long one. More than you probably want to hear. Well maybe you better give me a try. I’ll be on break in about ten minutes. I’ll be back and you can tell me about it or we can just catch up as she smiled and walked away.

Joe smiled saying, see you in a few. Joe was slowly drinking his beer while waiting for his burger to arrive and thinking about what he would tell Carol. They always had fun together but she left town for a while and they just seemed to drift apart. Man, she is still really good-looking. Then he remembered Sarah and drifted back to his thoughts. Next thing he knew someone put their hand on his shoulder saying, hi Joe. And it wasn’t Carol. Before Joe knew it some guy asked if he could join him. Joe was expecting Carol, not Dr. Bob.

Oh hi, Dr. Bob. I am surprised you remember my name. Oh I can’t forget a face especially when that face came to one of my meetings with Sarah. And you have to call me Bob. I really don’t like that doctor title. Ok Bob, Joe replied adding the question; what are you doing in town? Well, I had some business here at the school but it got late and I needed something to eat so I just stopped in for a quick bite. But it’s nice to run into someone I know Bob continued as he pulled up a stool next to Joe. When you travel it can get a bit lonely on the road. Bob sitting his coke on the bar asked Joe how things were going. They had some small talk for a while and before long Carol was back with his burger. Well I guess you found a friend already Carol said with a grin. Oh well, maybe I will see you later. Sure replied Joe.

Bob smiled and asked, are you still hanging out with Sarah? Oh yes, replied Joe. We were together earlier today at the library. The library! Now that sounds like a fun date Bob said with a smirk. What were you guys doing there if you don’t mind me asking? Well to be honest, I was studying up on DNA so I could ask some good questions Sunday night. Trying to stump me are you? No, not really Joe said jokingly. Just really confused on this God thing. Sarah is totally convinced that God is real and that he created everything. I really have a hard time with it. I believe that DNA really points at evolution as being true. Just the proof that it changes based on environment is pretty solid. Bob reach over and picked up his glass just to find it was empty. Joe let me buy you another drink. My glass seems to be empty and I need another one. Bob waved down Carol and told her to bring another round to Joe and that he would have the same. Joe almost slid off his chair. He knew Sarah would have an occasional beer, but Dr. Bob. Thanks Bob Joe finally replied.

Joe let me see if I can give you a little more information. This is what convinced me that God was real and maybe this will help you begin to sort this thing out. It has nothing to do with the issue of DNA or its ability to change based on its surroundings. It has to do with how it got started. It has to do with if it had any chance at all to even get started. We know it is required or nothing would be here and we wouldn’t be sitting here talking. So when I looked at the odds of it happening, my ideas started to shift towards creation. Have you ever heard of Borrell’s Law? I kind of remember it from school and didn’t you mention it a little in that first meeting, replied Joe. It really didn’t sink in for me so maybe you can explain it again. Well it states that for anything to have a chance at happening it must have better odds than 1 out of 10 to the 50 power. So far I have not found any scientist who actually gives evolution or the foundation of DNA that good of odds of happening. It kind of kills the big boom theory or at least puts some serious doubt in it. This is what helped me make a decision that creation is real and this also made it possible for me to believe God may have just really created everything as the Bible say He did.

Joe and Bob picked up their drink and clicked glasses while Joe added, I will tell you one thing, you do put it in a way that raises serious doubt about how evolution got started. I want to know the answers Joe continued. I will tell you one thing Joe. You will find that it takes faith either way. You have not met God in person just like you have not seen the big explosion in person.

Joe sat his beer back down, his thoughts we running wild again. He flashed back to the dinosaur chasing him and Sarah waiting for him. So let me ask you something Dr. Bob. Come on Joe, we agreed no doctor, just Bob. Alright Bob, I have this recurring dream. Please don’t think I crazy. The short story is that it begins with a dinosaur chasing me and then something happens and I see Sarah smiling and waiting for me in some beautiful place and the dinosaur is gone. Ok, I know it sound kind of crazy, but I have had this same dream with some alterations, several times. Some times I am sinking deep in water just to have someone or something pull me to the surface and there is Sarah again. Sarah has tried to help me figure this out, but I am not making any headway. Wow. Sound like an adventure Bob added. Not an adventure I want to continue, added Joe. After a little time passed, Bob looked at Joe and said, can you remember when these dreams started? Go all the way back to the beginning and start there. Joe sit silent for a while and then said. I guess it all started when I was at that party and found myself sitting alone staring into the fire thinking about life in general. Why are we here, how did this all start, how will it all end.

 Let me ask you Joe, do you believe in Angles? Well I am not sure Joe quickly replied. Maybe it is an Angle trying to get your attention and is using Sarah to carry out the task replied Bob. I do know one thing for sure. Things happen in the world that we have no explanation for and we continue to search for answers to them. Some times we have to just let our mind absorb what we hear, learn, see and feel. It is when we let our thoughts explore things no mater what we believe that we start to find the answers we search for. That is the best place I can tell you to start at. Just be open with your self.

Well I got to get going Joe. I look forward to seeing you Sunday night.

“To be continued”

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What will Joe do now? Has Carol disrupted his feelings for Sarah? Did Dr. Bob help steer Joe down a road that would in the end help him find the answers he is searching for? Will Sarah get her prayers answered?

14 – Searching for Answers – What’s this all about


Will the evening end with answers? Will Joe and Sarah decide they are a real couple?

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Joe quickly walked around the back of his car feeling a little lite headed as the adrenalin kicked in gear from Sarah’s kiss. His head was spinning so fast he had to slow his walk just to catch his breath and give himself a few seconds to regroup and not look like a total idiot when he climbed in the driver’s seat. Wow – that girl has an effect on me. Still a little in la-la land, Joe open his door and slid into the driver’s seat and as he looked over at Sarah their eyes met again. The fireworks again exploded as their mind’s were racing so fast neither of them could say anything. Reaching across the seat, their hands touched and as they looked at each other they both knew that they needed to get to the bottom of Joe’s dreams if they ever would stand a chance at a real relationship which in each of their minds they both deeply desired even if they had never said the words.

Lets go to the library Sarah suggested. Maybe we can find some books on DNA. I have my iPad and should be able to connect to their internet and do some research online. I think it is important to look at both sides of the question and not just use Dr. Bob’s take on it. And I really want to be ready to talk about this when we get back together with him on Sunday night Joe added. I am sure he will enjoy the discussion Sarah commented as she privately prayed Joe would see that God really did create everything, that Joe would come to know that He is real. Sarah sat back in her seat as Joe headed towards the library when her mind started telling her that maybe Joe would never believe as she does, that they would in the end just become good friends and nothing more. As Joe was driving towards the library he quietly thought that maybe things would be too difficult and maybe impossible to reach a solid conclusion to the question about God and evolution. Maybe he and Sarah could just agree to disagree. Yes, that could be the answer. But, would that be enough? Would Sarah ever agree to that? But there has to be an answer. I have to figure this out before I have another night of dreams. Someone or something is trying to tell me something.

They arrives at the library and made their way to the science section. Joe sat down at the library’s computer and typed in the letters DNA and the screen quickly populated with several books on the subject. Joe recalling what he had heard on the radio, looked for a reference that could add clarity to his ideas. Sarah typed the letters “DNA and God” into her pad and looked at the reference material as it filled her screen. The more she read the more she confirmed her faith in God. She looked over and could see Joe deep into reading information from a book and could see the letters DNA on the spine. Joe sat back in his chair and looking at Sarah said; if everything has its own DNA and it has been proven that DNA can change on its own due to different foods we eat, the environment it is in and by diseases, then does that not support evolution? Sarah felt the wind leave her sail as the impact of what Joe just said set in. Was Joe leaning towards a faith in evolution? After a short silence, Sarah replied with “but how did DNA get its start? How could something so complicated just evolve on its own without totally killing itself off. How could every living plant and animal have its own complex DNA structure evolve at the same time when many of the different plants and animals needed each other just to survive?” Joe looked up at Sarah feeling the hidden impact of what she had just said and smiled saying, maybe I better dig a little deeper.

As the afternoon moved on they bounced different ideas off each other and before long they heard that the library would be closing in 10 minutes. Looking at the clock they discovered it was 7:20pm. Wow time fly’s when you’re having fun they said in unison. After a short laugh they put their books away and headed for the car.

Joe took Sarah’s hand as they made their way to the car when he stopped just long enough to say; Sarah I am trying to find the answers to this God and evolution thing and I can see your side as well as the other side. Thanks for all your help and support. I really like you, actually I think it’s a little more than just like. I just need to figure this thing out. I sure hope you will stick with me no mater what the outcome is. Sarah smiled and with a squeeze of Joes hand she looked him in the eye. Joe I feel the same way. I will help you in any way and please be honest with me about your feelings on everything.

As they arrived at the car Joe asked Sarah if she would like to grab a bite to eat. I would love to but I still have a couple of things I need to get done tonight. So could I have a rain check. For sure Joe offered up with a smile and continued with an apology for keeping her out late and not thinking about dinner.

Joe drove Sarah back to her place and pulled up in front of the house. Joe quickly got out of the car and by the time he arrived at the other side Sarah was just closing her car door. He reach out for her hand and they made their way to the front door saying nothing as they walked up the sidewalk. Joe turned to Sarah, put his arms around her and with a firm but soft embrace he kissed her good night. Just as he was about to let go and walk away he turned and looked Sarah in the eyes and out of his mouth came the words – I think I am falling in love with you. Sarah knew she felt the same but also knew this was leading down a path that she had promised herself she would be careful of. Joe I think I am also, but until we find the answers to your dreams and you are able to draw your own conclusions, I need to make sure I don’t allow myself to sidetrack either of us with feelings and emotions. I promise I am here for you. After one last short kiss, Sarah walked inside and closed the door as Joe made his way back to the car.

Sarah leaned against the wall as she offered up a prayer. Dear God, please help Joe find his answers. Please help me give him support and help me to not get so involved that Joe makes a decision based on emotions for me. Help me keep my emotions and desires in check. Please help me find the information he needs and help him find the answers, please help him find You.

“To be Continued”

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Where will Joe go from here? Will he find his answers? Can Sarah handle the emotions of a continued relationship with Joe while he figures this all out? What will Sarah do if Joe sides with evolution?