Reflecting on Life

When I look back on my childhood, taking the time to evaluate my life, or maybe I should say the areas that I wrapped my arms around and embraced and those that I didn’t, it brings great joy and in some cases a level of sadness. Turning the clock back to my childhood, growing up on the farm during the 50’s and 60’s with little spare cash, just enough to get by with and sometimes not even that much, I had a good life that taught me more than I ever gave it credit for.

Graduating High School in 1968 while the Viet Nam war was in full swing, seeing many of my friends serving there and returning home not the same person, some in a box, some missing limbs, but mostly changed personalities due to the effects of the war, was a difficult time.

Getting married at age nineteen, building our first house at age twenty, becoming a father at age twenty-one, were huge steps in life for me.

The foundation learned as a youth growing up was never lost, only forgotten for many years. Saddened by so much I had witnessed as a youth and my mid-teenage years in the religious arena, set my life path in motion. Determination set in, a drive to enjoy life, to become financially sound, to take a stand against all that didn’t fit into my version of faith, all began while still in high school.

Working my way up the ranks of my first job, I worked hard. I took on two jobs in those early years trying to earn what I felt was required to be a good provider. Then becoming licensed in the electrical trade and eventually starting our own company my life was very busy. Between work, family and fun, I had my hands full. Then my eyes were opened to the rest of the world when I took a new job in 1986. Being able to travel to many parts of the world, I began to see and feel the effects that war really has. To be close to war, hearing how others dealt with war both old and new, grasping the many religious faiths and beliefs including those that have no belief in God, it kicked in motion my past and the emotions caused me to re-evaluate my understandings of life.

So what does this mean in the grander scheme of things? It shows that from childhood on, our lives and personalities are set in a direction and become altered as we continue to age, grasping new information, learning about others we cross paths with. The real question is; do we allow ourselves the freedom to open our mind and explore what we see and hear? Or do we remain set in our ways determined not to allow change? Do we even recognize that we are closed to anything that may disrupt our desires and beliefs in life?

For me, I spent the time to re-evaluate my past, examine what I had learned and experienced, and to wrap my arms around what I believe this life is all about. I worked hard to eliminate the mental blocks that so often accompanies our attempt to truly understand, disabling any rational outcome. What I found was that I could make a decision for myself, placing my faith in what I had come to understand. While it was influenced by many, it was in the end, my choice, my decision, my beliefs.

So there’s this lingering question

When was the time you slowed down long enough, shoved the distraction aside, threw out the external influences of those that educate with an agenda whether religious or non-religious or educational and dug deep enough that you allowed yourself the freedom to choose where you have placed your faith?

One of the biggest things I learned along this adventure is that it takes faith to believe in life, it takes faith to believe what it is all about. It takes faith to believe in God or to not believe in God. It takes faith to believe in the direction we choose for our lives.

Where is your faith placed?  


No God? – God? – Allah? – What God?

I’m not a Theologian, Pastor, Rabi, Priest, an Iman or any form of religious leader including any form of leader in this world that believes there is no God. I’m just a regular person that does not let skin color, race or anything else enter into my ability to ask questions and think for myself.

The asking of challenging question can be a difficult task especially when we are asking ourselves. Many time we do not wish to hear anything outside of what we believe to be true. To truly understand we must open our minds if we truly desire the truth.

Please read on, give this some thought and you draw your own conclusions.

Is the God of the Muslim belief, is the God of Islam and the God of Christianity the God of the Bible the same God? There are many debates on this, but for just this instant let’s say they are.

If God is who He said He is and God sent or enlightened his Prophets to inform each of us how to live our life, then He cared for everything he created which includes all men, women, and children around the world. If Jesus said to love your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself and Muhammad said to kill everyone that does not believe as I do, then who do you want to believe?

Remember it takes “Faith” to believe either way.

So who do you want to believe? Where do you place your faith?

Do I believe the One that teaches love everything I have created including all men, women, and children – or – do I believe the one that teaches kill men, women, and children that don’t believe as I do?

This is a hard question for some to answer because of the abuse so many have encountered in their lives. However, does it makes any difference who you are, what country you live in, what color your skin is, or how you were raised. All abuse has been handed down by the “hand of man.” If you are a Christian or a Muslim, if you hand down cruelty and hatred, you are not doing what God wants you to do.

Only “WE” can make a difference. It starts as an individual then to our family then to our friends then to the rest of the world.

Breaking it Down – “Evolution” or “God”

Did we Evolve? Who is God? Is He Real?

Great questions and worthy of investigation by everyone even if one doesn’t believe there is a God of any type. It’s always positive to explore open-mindedly something just for the sake of knowing if you’re right in the beliefs and understandings you currently hold.

Breaking it Down

  • If the world and everything we see, feel, hear, and smell happened by way of evolution then it all start “somehow” at “some time” in the past.
  • Something cannot be made out of absolutely nothing? I expect that human knowledge will tell us that we need something to start with.
  • If the evolutionary theory is actually how everything started, it needed something to begin with just to get started regardless of what took place that began the formation of everything.
  • Where did this come from? Just who or what could have provided these things?
  • To find out who or what could have done these things we should, I would think, go back as far in time as humanly possible.

Food for Thought

When the sciences are exploring and working to find the origin of time, when and how things originated, or how old things are, they go back as far as they can to identify the age and origination. With no documentation available that is dated millions or billions of years ago, it leads one to speculate. Experiments and testing must be done based on the assumption of what we believe things were like when it all began. However, something must have been in existence if we believe something cannot come from nothing. If we have any documentation, we should utilize it and prove or disprove its truth and not just say yes it is or no it isn’t.

Breaking it Down a Little More

  • The oldest book that ever was written was/is the Bible.
  • Who wrote it? It was written by man as all books are written by some man or woman. So human desires and human error can come into play.
  • If the oldest book that was ever written tells us that God created everything from the very beginning of time, then how do we know that the Bible is an authentic book inspired by God?

Food for Thought

If you were to read a novel or some story that has several books that tell the complete story, like a trilogy, would you read only the first book or first couple books and make up your own ending? Most of all, would you know the real outcome of the story? No, it would be your version of the ending.

Breaking it Down Again

  • If one should be of some faith that believes in God (i.e., Muslim, Jewish, Christian, etc.), or even an atheist who believe in no god, then wouldn’t it be a good idea to read the entire book to see if there are truths written in it? Shouldn’t we want to check out every reference noted in the book exploring to see if it has the possibility to be factual? If we place our lives outcome in what we choose to put our faith in, and it does take faith to believe in God, some god or no god, then we should desire to know the truth and there is only one way to find it.

A little more Food for Thought

If one was to write a scientific paper on any topic in the science world, would you read only part of a book and complete your paper? Would you read the entire book and finish your paper? Would you research other writings on the subject and complete your paper? If your desire is to convince people from all walks of life to take what you have written as factual, then you need to address all possibilities showing that you have done research on each area.

So what is this all about?

If God is real and he started everything regardless of how it started, then there is only one God, the God that started it all regardless of what you call Him. If the Bible is truthful and it states, “In the Beginning God Created the Heavens and the Earth,” then science should always take this into consideration. If the Bible is real, regardless of the fact that it was written by the hands of humans, then one should utilize and research the complete story. We should look at everything that was written in the Bible hundreds and even thousands of years before it actually took place. One should not stop at the end of some chapter and write conclusions based on one’s own desired outcome.

My Conclusions

I believe that science works very hard and has so much to offer. I also believe that God is real and that there is only one God. I believe that if science would utilize what is written in the Bible as a possible foundation for how everything started, using all available technologies and findings, they will find that it offers an explanation that can be proven scientifically. I believe that man, religious man, and scientific man, has made many rules and regulations just to satisfy their desired outcome. The only reason I can comprehend is that they crave power and control over people. Maybe it’s just to add some level of comfort to themselves based on something that someone else has told them they were wrong about or something someone has told them they had to do, someone’s rules and regulation.

While I will not tell you what you should believe, I can tell you what I believe.

I believe that God is real, that there is only one God, that He created everything and that He made a very excellent place for each of us to live. I believe He created man and woman with a mind and gave us the ability to make decisions for ourselves. I believe that He never planned or wanted to be a dictator of how or where we place our faith. I believe that what is written in the Bible is truthful, factual, and it can be proven when one seriously looks at all of it. Everything that was predicted within the Bible, excluding the single last prediction, has been proven to have taken place including the story of Jesus. I believe that man has taken it upon himself to mess up this world for his own reasoning when it was so very simple right from the beginning. We were told to love God and to love our neighbor as ourself. If we would just do this, we would not kill because we love our neighbor as ourself, regardless of where our neighbor lives. We would have no need for additional man-made rules because the ones we have been given are enough to make the world live in harmony with each other.

Breaking it Down: if we could just…

If we would allow ourselves to step outside our current life, dropping for a moment our inner thoughts, forgetting what we have been taught in our schools, our homes and step back from any religious beliefs we have, opening our mind to all we see, what would we like the world to be like?

With everything that is happening around this world, many times in the name of God, or some god, or Allah, or in the name of progressive evolution, one should wonder why. Why does man take something so simple to grasp, add his desires and then drive his agenda?  What is it that makes man’s desire to do evil, to hate, to murder?

If you are a Christian, you say you believe in God. Why do those that kill in the name of this belief, kill at all, when to be a Christian you are to love one another.

If you a Muslim, you say you believe in God. Why do those that kill in the name of this belief, kill at all, when to be a Muslim you are to love one another.

If you acknowledge that God exist, then you should show love to everyone.

What makes man behave as he does? What makes humans make up their own rules just to satisfy man’s own desires?

One of the most basic needs in life is to be loved by a mother or father, a brother or sister, a son or a daughter, a friend or a foe. Yes, even our enemy. If we loved our enemies and we were loved by our enemies, we would no longer have enemies. It makes no difference where in this world you live or what your beliefs are. Love enables each of us to grasp our desired happiness and defeat evil, to stop doing evil, to stop being evil.

Coming back full circle, we step back into our world realizing that love is drastically missing in so many places. We recognize that some force is driving man away from this simple principle of life. Is it intellect and a belief man has evolved and that some levels of man are greater than others? Is it the man-made rules in some religious belief that pits one against another? Is it a form of arrogance, conceit, pride or superiority that separates one from another? Is it aggressiveness versus laziness? Is it an evil force driving the wedge of hate and deceit into our lives?

This is a question we should ask ourselves?

To be loved one must show love remembering that real love is unconditional and real love expects nothing in return. If your religious belief, which includes all religions, (i.e. Christian, Muslim/Islam, Atheist, Buddhism, etc.) includes evil, hate, murder, then maybe you should rethink your religious belief and take a stand for “Love your neighbor” and bring this world back to what it was designed to be from the beginning.

46 – Searching for Answers – Sharing the Dreams

Joe and Sarah were walking back to Joe’s car when he carefully spun her around and looked her directly in the eyes with a very concerned look. Are you sure you’re alright. I’m fine. It really was nothing physical Joe. Everything is ok. But your body just went limp and you were not responding to anything we said and you didn’t even flinch when I slapped your cheek trying to get a response out of you. Really, you slapped my cheek, responded Sarah. Joe quickly responded saying, well not very hard. Sarah started to open her car door when she looked back at Joe and said; I really am happy that you worry about me but really I’m ok. Ok, I believe you Sarah. Hey, if you’re up to it, how about I come over and pick you up around six and we can go out and have some something to eat at the pub, suggested Joe. That really sounds great, Sarah replied with a big smile and feeling like she had found the most wonderful guy in the world.

It wasn’t long and Joe and Sarah were sitting at the pub when Carol walked up to take their order. The Pub wasn’t too busy so Carol sat down for a couple minutes asking about Tom and Ann. After they gave Carol an update, Carol looked at Sarah and Joe with a slight smile saying; you two look exceptionally happy today. Sarah held up her beautiful opal ring for Carol to see and then announced that they were engaged. Joe was smiling from ear to ear when Carol offered up her congratulations, adding you two are made for each other and I’m very happy for both of you. You take good care of this girl Joe. She is really special. I know, replied Joe. It’s crazy how we met and even crazier how everything has unfolded in our lives. It’s quite a story. You’re going to have to give me details sometime, Carol replied with an inquiring smile. We will Carol, replied Sarah. You’ve been a good friend and I have a feeling we are going to see more of each other in the future. Carol smiled as she walked away not knowing exactly what Sarah meant, but knew she was happy to have her as a friend.

Carol had walked behind the bar and over to the computer to place their order when Sarah turned to Joe saying; we should find a time to tell Carol that she was included in our dreams. I am not sure how she will… Just then Joe phone rang stopping the conversation as he checked to see who was calling him. Its Dr. Bob was the comment coming from Joe’s mouth as he hit the answer key on his phone. Hi Dr. Bob. What’s happening? Hi Joe, I only have a couple minutes to talk right now, but I took a chance you might pick up. I was wondering if we could find a time to get together. I have a couple things that I think you will find interesting. For some reason I feel like I need to share these with you. Is there any chance you could meet me down here in Denver next Saturday afternoon, let’s say around 2:30? You should bring Sarah with you and maybe we can go out to dinner after we meet at the University. I think we can, but I need to ask Sarah. Hold on for a couple seconds. Sarah, Dr. Bob wants to have us come down to his place Saturday afternoon. Do you think you can go? As far as I know, replied Sarah. Ok Dr. Bob, we will be there. Should we come to your office? That would be great, replied Dr. Bob. I will send you the direction via text. It’s been great talking to you were his last words as Joe heard the phone go silent. Dr. Bob was gone before Joe had a chance to ask what he wanted to show him.

Sarah looked at Joe and Joe’s expression was a state of excited confusion. What do you think he wants, inquired Sarah? I have no idea. He sounded excited but reserved. It didn’t sound like he wanted to go into any details on the phone. Maybe he was just really busy Joe. I guess we’ll find out Saturday.

It wasn’t long and Carol arrived with their meals asking if there was anything else she could get them. Joe and Sarah replied in unison; I think we’re good. As they sat eating their food they exchanged ideas about the talk they had with Pastor Dan and then the impromptu call from Dr. Bob. Sometimes I feel like things are moving too fast Sarah. So much has happened and I or maybe I should say we have so many loose ends and things we don’t understand hanging around our necks. Tom is getting better and it won’t be long and they will be married. I will tell you one thing Sarah; I wouldn’t want to be going through this with anybody but you. I just wish we could fast forward a little and that we were already married and some of this was behind us. Sarah reached across the table and took Joe hand and smiled as she told him she was having the same feelings. I love you Joe and we are going to spend the rest of our lives together. I have this feeling that it is going to be quite an adventure and I am looking forward to it. Joe leaned over giving Sarah a kiss and added; I love you Sarah.

After they had finished their meal and the table was cleared, Sarah looked over at Joe and said; I have an idea. What would you think about getting the whole gang together and have a bonfire Friday night and we could tell them all about what has been happening? It might be nice to update everyone and Ann and Tom should be able to join us now. That might be a great idea, replied Joe. With everything that has been going on, we haven’t had a chance to see some of them for a long time now. We could tell everyone about us, Tom and Ann can update them on what happening in their lives and we could tell them about… Yes we can tell them Joe, interjected Sarah. I think they should know. They are our friends. Ok, let’s talk to Tom and Ann and see if Friday will work.

After a quick call to Tom, Joe fired out a text to everybody letting them know that Friday night they were going to meet at the old camp site just after dark for a bonfire. Before long they had a response from everyone confirming they would be there.

Joe and Sarah arrived a little earlier and had the fire looking good before the rest of the gang arrived. Ann and Tom arrived shortly after dark and Joe, Sarah and Tom cracked open a beer and Ann opened a Coke as they sat staring into the flames. Joe let his mind flash back to his dreams about the fire pit as he pulled Sarah close and they sat silently. Sarah looked up and could see all the stars in the sky as they sparkled and winked at her making her smile as she gripped Joes arm a little tighter. Joe leaned over and picked up his guitar and just as he was about to start into a song the rest of the gang arrived. Before long everyone was talking and laughing and having a good time. Joe was playing one of Sarah’s favorite songs and Ann and Sarah were singing along as all the rest started to join in. After a couple of songs, Tom and Ann updated everyone on the events in their life including about the baby. Paul had just added a couple logs to the fire when Carol asked if Joe and Sarah could tell them the rest of the story they started back at the restaurant.

Well it’s kind of a long story, replied Joe. Are you sure you want to hear it all? Well maybe you better just give us the Readers Digest version came a quick response from Tom. You know how long winded you are and we only have so many logs. Everyone started laughing as Tom was getting gently ribbed by Ann. Ok Tom, we will try to give the short version, replied Joe as he looked over at Tom and grinned.

Well first of all I think you all know by now that Sarah and I are engaged. Sarah held up her ring for everybody to see as the gang hooted and hollered for them. Tom quickly added; I tried to talk to Sarah about this but she just won’t listen. Laughter erupted as Ann put her hand over Tom’s mouth. Randy spoke up quickly saying; well one thing is for sure, Tom is just about back to his old self. Amen was a quick response from Sarah as the gang continued to laugh and have a good time. Ok Joe, let’s hear the story came a shout from the other side of the fire. Joe started by reminding everyone about how he had met Sarah and how he felt about the church which led him into his story about his first dreams. Before long everyone was silent as Joe continued telling his story. Joe finished telling about the story about how he had seen the fire and how people just disappeared into it but left out the part about Carol being in the dream. Sarah looked at Joe and could tell he wasn’t sure if he should tell that part. Well interjected Sarah. There is a little more to the dream but… Joe stepped back in adding; Sarah had something happen to her the other day. We were sitting talking to Pastor Dan about these dreams when she fainted or something. We called 911 but before they arrived she came too and started telling us a story of her own. So what happened Sarah, inquired Carol. Are you ok? What did the paramedics tell you? I’m fine replied Sarah, but it was really weird. All I remember is that this lady came up to me and started talking to me and Joe and Pastor Dan acted like she wasn’t there. Come to find out, she really wasn’t there. I had some type of a dream or vision or something myself. And Carol, it included you. What! came a quick response from Carol. I can only tell you that for some reason that I don’t understand, you are going to be a part of something that I also don’t understand, continued Sarah. Joe looked over at Carol whose mouth was open but no words were coming out. Carol its true and you have been in both of our dreams. Silence overtook the gang as they tried to comprehend what Joe and Sarah were telling them. After what seemed like forever came a question from the other side of the fire. Ok, so where was I in your dreams Joe, asked a cautious Carol. Joe tried to tell her about how she had walked out of the trees and how she had talked to Jesus who was talking to this group of people. How he was looking up her name but Joe left out the part about how her name was not in the book. What book are you talking about Joe, inquired Carol as her anxieties continued to grow? Well, it was the “Book of Life” Carol. The one we read about in the Bible. Well was my name in it Joe? Well, not really Carol. That is why he didn’t know your name when you walked up. That can’t be true Joe. I believe in Jesus and I try to do things the right way and help people. So if that doesn’t work just how does one get their name in this “Book of Life”? What does it mean if it is not, inquired Paul as he gently rubbed Carols back while she was sitting in surprise at what she was hearing? It is easy Paul, replied Sarah. It’s all about if you believe in Jesus, but you have to confess your wrong doings and ask for forgiveness and accept him into your life. If you do, then you go to Heaven and will be with Him forever when you die and if you don’t you go to… Sarah stopped short of saying Hell. Tom quickly interrupted saying; I have been there. It is real. Heaven is real. I saw it when I died. What are you talking about Tom, inquired Pete? When I died, I went there and I met my Grandfather who talked to me and then I met someone that told me I had to go back but not before he told me about our baby and that it was a boy. That is how we know that our baby is a boy. He told me I had things to do down here and that it wasn’t my time yet. Ann spoke up telling everyone that she hadn’t told Tom about being pregnant. Only Sarah knew about it. But when he woke up he knew the whole story. I don’t know how to explain it except that it happened just like we are telling you.

The entire gang was silent as they soaked in everything they had just heard. After what seemed like forever, Sarah spoke up and added that she could only explain this as if God was taking control and was leading them down a path that they still didn’t understand. This is what we wanted to tell everyone about. It’s pretty scary and also exciting all at the same time.

Joe picked up his guitar again and started to play it as everyone sat staring at the fire. Carol was deep in thought as Paul sat still lightly rubbing her back. Cal and Connie along with Pete and Nancy sat to the side talking about this “Book of Life” while Randy and Mary continued to stare into the fire as if it had them in a trans. Sarah leaned over and put her head on Joe’s shoulder while Ann and Tom were cuddling off to the side. After Joe had finished playing a couple songs the fire was dying down as everyone relaxed allowing each of them to drift deep in their own thoughts. So Sarah, I want my name in the “Book of Life”. Can you help me, inquired Carol? Anytime, replied Sarah. Carol leaned her head over on Paul’s shoulder as she looked across the fire at Joe and Sarah still deep in thought about what she had heard.

45 – Searching for Answers – The Monday Visit

Monday afternoon had rolled around and Joe was walking into Pastor Dan office when he noticed Sarah sitting at her desk with a stack of papers in front of her. Quickly he changed direction making his way towards Sarah. She looked up just in time to receive a gentle kiss. Sarah quickly stood up as they both embraced each other. Hi Joe was the sound they heard coming from Pastor Dan’s office. Come on in when you’re ready were his words as he chuckled loud enough for the two of them to hear. You’re coming in with me aren’t you, questioned Joe? Only if you are sure you want me too, replied Sarah? Joe reached down and took Sarah’s hand, smiled and said; I will always need you with me.

They walked in to Pastor Dan’s office, Joe pulled up a second chair and was about to sit down when Dan spun around in his chair and stood up saying; let’s go out back and sit under the big oak tree. The weather is great and I have been in this office most of the day. I would love some fresh air and God can help us out there just as much as he can in here.

The three of them walked over towards the tree with Sarah and Joe sitting together on the one bench and Pastor Dan sat across from them on a small chair complete with a back rest and legs that had been made out of a short tree log by one of the members of the church. Well Joe, I have really been giving each of your dreams a lot of thought and I am not sure I have all the answers and I am not sure all your dreams are… Pastor Dan stopped for just a couple seconds trying to gather his thoughts when he said; I think God is talking to you Joe. I think he has had his eye on you for a long time. I think he has a plan for you that only time will allow it to be revealed fully. Joe sat quietly trying to take in every word that Pastor Dan was saying and Sarah was trying to look at both of them as she wondered what she would hear next. I have prayed about this and believe that Sarah has been part of a plan for you before either of you had any idea each of you existed. Sarah started to feel the emotions of where this was heading when she felt Joe reach over and brush a tear from her cheek that had tricked down from the corner of her eye. All I know Pastor Dan is that I love Sarah and if it was God that introduced her to me then I believe you that these dreams are from Him. I will do what He wants. The problem is I don’t understand what He is trying to tell me, Joe added as he looked up towards the sky. Everything went silent for a few moments as Joe stared up through the limbs and could see the sun flickering on and off as the leaves flowed back and forth with the breeze. It was then that he noticed Sarah pointing up at something. Both Pastor Dan and Joe finally noticed what Sarah was so intently pointing to. Just off to the side of the tree was a cloud that had a shape like a cross. As the three of them stared up they noticed the bright light from the sun as it settled over the top of it as the cloud continued to move. No one was saying a word. It was as if they were each hearing something special spoken directly to each of them. Then a strong wind came up and they quickly looked at each other. Sarah said; do you guys see that? Both Joe and Pastor Dan replied in unison with a yes. The three of them again looked back towards the sky and the cloud had changed to a new shape and the sun was so bright it caused each of them to cover their eyes with a hand.

Pastor Dan had waited for his eyes to refocus when he looked over at both Sarah and Joe where the emotions were running high and suggested that he would like to say a short prayer. They both just bowed their heads as Dan started by saying; Dear Lord, we are sitting here not knowing exactly what You are trying to tell Joe, what the involvement of Sarah is and what You need me to tell them. I ask You to help us understand what You would have each of us do. I ask You to reveal to us the meaning of these dreams. In Jesus name, amen.

Joe griped Sarah’s hand tight as he looked over at Pastor Dan. I have so many questions that I don’t know where to start. I want to do what is right. I want to marry Sarah. I want to follow God’s direction for me. Just where do I start? What do I… Joe stopped midstream and went silent as both Sarah and Dan looked at him. Sarah closed her eyes and quietly started to ask God to help Joe when she felt something happen. She reached up and put her hand over her heart, leaned her head onto Joe’s shoulder and drifted off into a state of sleep. Joe felt her body go limp as he put his arm around her. Joe looked at Pastor Dan with eyes that were about to jump out of his head when Pastor Dan realized that something had happened to Sarah. Joe tried to wake Sarah but she didn’t respond to anything. Pastor Dan quickly helped Joe lay Sarah gently on the grass. Joe took a cushion off the bench and slid it under her head. Pastor Dan pulled his phone from his pocket and dialed 911. This is Pastor Dan at …. Before long the emergency crew was on their way to the church. Pastor Dan started to pray for Sarah when all of a sudden she opened her eyes. She had a smile on her face but could see the terror in Joe’s eyes and could see Pastor Dan saying a prayer with his eyes closed. She realized she was lying on the ground with Joe holding her hand when she heard Pastor Dan say her name in his prayer. Hey, what happened, Sarah asked. Pastor Dan opened his eyes and Joe snapped out of his state of shock as he asked; are you ok Sarah? Yes, but can you tell me how I ended up on the ground? Sarah closed her eyes again and went silent as she remembered everything that had happened to her. Just as quickly she opened them again saying; it was wonderful. What do you mean wonderful, inquired a very concerned Joe.

Joe, I think I have some answers to your dreams. I… Just then they heard the paramedic’s pull around the back of the church. Pastor Dan ran over to direct them to Sarah and before long they were checking Sarah’s vitals to see if she was ok. Sarah insisted she was fine offering up that all she did was close her eyes for a couple minutes to think. One of the paramedic’s looked at Sarah and with a slight smile she added; it looks like you are going to be fine. Everything is stable, but we should take you to the hospital and make sure. Sarah sat up and told them that she was fine. I don’t need to go to the hospital. Are you sure? It really would be good just in case, added Joe. No, I’m fine, replied Sarah with a smile.

The paramedics packed up their things, filled out their report, gave a copy to Sarah and made their way back to their rig and headed back to the fire station. Sarah was sitting back on the bench when Joe looked at her and asked; what really happened Sarah? You started to tell us that you… Sarah interrupted Joe as she jumped in and started tell them what happened.

I am not sure exactly what happened but when the lady walked up, she stopped and started talking to me. She was telling me that the reason behind your dreams was that God wants you to do something for Him, if you are willing. What do you mean a lady walked up, inquired Pastor Dan? Well, both you and Joe were just sitting here when she walked up to me and started to talk to me. But Sarah no one walked up to you, added Joe. Yes she did and you two were just sitting there talking to each other as if you didn’t notice her. Sarah quickly switched back to the conversation with the lady. You remember your dream about how the dinosaur was trying to eat you for dinner and how you found the cave to hide in? Yes, I will never forget that Sarah. Well she knew all about it and it was a safe place for you and… How would she know about it Sarah, Joe interrupted. And she was not even here and… Joe stopped himself when he felt something grab ahold of his thoughts. Joe leaned back against the bench, looked up towards the sky, took a deep breath then turned towards Sarah. Wow was all he could find for words. Pastor Dan just sat silently on his hand made chair trying to take in everything he was hearing. Sarah broke the silence when she added; I have more. She told me that when you were seeing the fire coming out of the ground that you was seeing into the future. That you were seeing that there is good and bad in this world. That the fire represented what we call hell and that people someday will either go to heaven or hell. She told me it is real. She said that you were listening to Jesus talk to that group of people. That is why you felt so comfortable with Him and how He knew your name. That book that had all the names in it is the Book of Life. That is why the people that were not written in it were sent towards the fire in the ground and not allowed to stay. She said those people had their chance to believe in God. But Sarah, one of those people was Carol, interrupted Joe. Yes, that is true and we have to talk to her. We have to talk to everybody we can. That is the key behind your dreams. She said that Carol can be part of it if she wants to. Even Tom and Ann and their little boy are part of the plan. What plans are you talking about Sarah, inquired Joe? I’m not totally sure Joe. She told me we could learn the answers but we need to dig into the Bible to find them.

Sarah, Joe and Pastor Dan went silent as they were trying to grasp what had just happened. The three of them stood up and together they took hands and formed a circle. Joe looked at Pastor Dan and then at Sarah and closed his eyes and began to pray. Dear God, please help me understand, help me find the answers to my dreams, help me to know what you want me to do. Thank you for Sarah. Thank you for Pastor Dan. Thank you for Jesus and everything you have shown me. Thank you for opening my eyes to everything you have to offer. Thank you for never giving up on me. Help me to be a great husband to Sarah. Be with both of us and guide us down the path you are taking us on. I can’t do this without You. Help us talk to our friends and guide our journey. Amen.

44 – Searching for Answers – The Next Day

Joe was up fixing breakfast when Tom walked out the bedroom rubbing his eyes and carefully stretching his injured body in trying to work the aches and pains away. After a quick bite and clean up they were both on their way to meet the girls at church. They arrived just in time to walk in with Sarah and Ann who had arrived just a little earlier and were waiting in the parking lot for the boys to arrive. When the service was over, Sarah grabbed Joe’s hand and they quickly walked over to where her parents were standing. Hey mom, Joe and I would like to take you guys out to lunch if you’re free. Carl looked at June and quickly added; if it’s a free lunch count me in! We’ll meet you guys at that new restaurant on the North end of town, added Sarah.

Joe and Sarah arrived a little before her parents and requested a table in the corner. It wasn’t long before Sarah’s mom and dad arrived and they were enjoying a cup of fresh coffee, had ordered their lunches and were having small talk when Carl smiled at Sarah and said; so what’s the occasion that you two want to hang out with us old folks and then buy us lunch to boot? June looked over at Sarah and as she did she spotted the beautiful opal ring on Sarah’s finger. June smiled as she reached over and taking her hand she could tell it was something special. Sarah looked up at her mom with a smile and started to say; well mom and dad… Joe quickly interrupted Sarah when he looked at Carl and said I have a question I need to ask you. Sarah had no idea where Joe was going with this, so she sat back and listened as Joe continued. I really like you guys and well I really like Sarah as you must know by now. Joe’s words stalled for just a short moment as he continued sort out his thoughts wanting to say them in a perfect way. He quickly glanced over at Sarah and could see a smile that reminded him how in love he really was. Joe quickly looked back at Carl and spoke up saying; I’m sorry, I am a little lost for words right now. I think I will blame it on a lack of sleep. Well Joe, replied Carl. Just say what’s on your mind. We are all friends and we think the world of you. Sarah was still smiling and was still in a bit of a state of shock not knowing what Joe was up to. She had no idea what Joe was about to ask her dad. Joe quickly cleared his throat a little and finally said; I love Sarah and I want to know if you will agree to let me marry her? Carl looked over at Sarah and knew she was in love with Joe. Looking over at June he said; so what do you think June? Should we say yes? With a big smile on both their faces that looked across the table at Joe and Sarah saying; we would be very happy to have you as part of our family. Sarah held out her hand again to show her mom the opal ring she was wearing quickly telling her the story behind it. June leaned over and gave Sarah a big hug and gave Joe a big smile over Sarah’s shoulder as a tear trickled down her cheek. Carl was leaning back in his chair smiling to himself think about how much fun he will have with Joe hanging around. Maybe we will play a little golf with together, watching football and maybe even doing a little hunting.

They finished up lunch and Joe quickly grabbed the check before Carl could react and made his way towards the register to pay. Sarah stood up and both Carl and June put their arms around her giving her a group hug telling her how happy they were for her. Before long Joe and Sarah rolled up to Sarah’s house. Joe got out and walked around and took Sarah’s hand as they made their way towards the front door when Sarah veered off to the side and led Joe towards the back yard. They made their way towards the two recliners located under the tree in the back corner. Joe pulled Sarah close as they embraced letting the love they both felt flow between each of them. After the electron flow in their bodies had slowed just a little Sarah made her way to one of the chairs and sat down. Joe pulled the other one in close and sat down taking Sarah’s hand in his as he leaned back and closed his eyes. You’re craze Joe, were the words that came out of Sarah’s mouth. What do you mean I’m crazy? Well you didn’t have to ask my dad if you could marry me. And why didn’t you tell me you were going to ask him? Well – it was just something I had to do and now I know everything is going to be perfect. I love you Sarah. Sarah smiled and had no words to add as she leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes letting her mind drift off thinking how happy she was that she bumped into Joe on the street that afternoon.

Ann drove Tom back to Joe’s place after they had stopped off at the local deli and picked up a couple of sandwiches for lunch. Ann was wondering how Sarah and Joe’s announcement went when Tom got up and walked over to the sofa and picked up the information Pastor Dan had given them. Ann slid up next to him, put her head on his shoulder, closed her eyes. Tom, I love you so much. I am so happy. I can’t wait to get married. It is going to be so great. And our little boy will be the greatest son anyone could ever ask for. Tom sat thinking about how he looked forward to playing with the little guy that was still growing inside of Ann. Hey, we aren’t going to stop with just one are we, interrupted Tom? Ann just smiled and said only time will tell. One at a time Tom. But a little girl would be really nice. Tom opened up the folder and they started to leaf through the information. After they came to the last page Ann looked at Tom saying; I’ll call Sarah in the morning and set an appointment with Pastor Dan. That sound great, replied Tom. Can you imagine that in just a few short weeks we will be together forever! Both Ann and Tom leaned back on the sofa, closed their eyes and let the moment soak in as they both slipped off into a much-needed afternoon nap.

Later that afternoon they heard someone at the door when it opened and Joe walked in. He did knock first before opening the door. He had spotted Ann’s car still in the parking lot so he assumed she was still with Tom. As he walked in Tom was still sitting on the sofa rubbing his eyes and Ann was already standing up trying to fix her hair a little. Well you two look well rested, commented Joe. Yah, we both fell asleep after we read the information we got from Pastor Dan. Hey, you need to read this stuff you old dog, added Tom with that devilish smirk that so often hits his face. Joe just smiled not wanting to spur Tom on. Ann walked over and gave Tom a kiss, told him to behave and told him she was going to head home. I’ll call you tomorrow after I talk to Sarah and sets an appointment. It will probably be later in the afternoon. I have to be at work really early and I will be out around two thirty and will call you then. Ann added; love you guys as she closed the door making her way to her car.