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?  

 

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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21 – Searching for Answers – Can Love Blossom


Where will Joe and Sarah take their relationship now that Joe has some answers and made his decisions on evolution, creation and God? Will Carol mess up the works and send Joe tumbling backwards putting tension between them?

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Joe and Tom split the bill throwing enough cash on the bar to pay the tab along with the tip and Tom added enough extra while Joe wasn’t looking to make Carol smile when she counted it. Keep the change Carol. See you next time Tom said with a smile and a raised voice making sure she heard him. Carol smiled back but was looking straight at Joe and said I hope so and quickly adding; call me when you get a chance. Joe just smiled as he turned and walked to the exit. Walking out the back exit they headed to their cars. See you later Joe. And Joe, you better be careful or Carol just might have other ideas for you. Oh come on Tom. That is just not going to happen. Tom chuckled out loud as he opened the door to his car. We’ll see Joe, we’ll see. My money is on Carol.

 Joe jumped into his car, fired it up and turned left on to the street and headed back to his place when his phone rang. He left it lay next to him on the seat not answering it but could see it was Sarah. A few seconds later he could see she had left a message which would wait until he made it to his place. Joe hung a right and before long he was walking into his apartment. He quickly opened his phone, hit voice mail and heard Sarah say; hi Joe, just wanted to give you a call and see how your day was. Call if you have a minute. Nothing important, just wanted to say hi. Talk to you later. Still thinking about everything that happened during the day and how Tom was egging him on and then there was Carol flirting with him, too much to process right now Joe told himself. Heading over to his favorite chair he sat down and closed his eyes just to rest his eyelids and possibly shut down his mind enough that he just might be able to get some sleep. After some time had passed he began to relax, so he headed to bed and before long he was sleeping like a baby.

The alarm began to ring and Joe quickly rolled over and hit the snooze button. I just got in bed. Why is this alarm ringing already he asked himself subconsciously? Glancing at the clock he could see it was telling him it was 6:00am. It can’t be. Maybe this should be another hooky day. No – I better get up and head to work before the boss gets upset with me. Rolling back over he forced himself out of bed and headed for the shower.

Before long he was in the parking lot and walking in the door. Tom was a little bit early and was already sitting on a chair in the area they both worked. Good morning my man, Tom blurted out. It would be if it was Saturday and I could have slept in Joe said as he rubbed his eyes. What’s making you so smiley this morning? I had fun last night watching you try to ignore Carol and all the flirting she was doing with you. Oh yah, picking up right where you left off last night. I already told you that Sarah….. Ok let’s just drop it Tom. I am tired and don’t want to play this game right now. Sorry, just having some fun Joe. What else is there in this craze life if we can’t have fun? Yah, that’s true, replied Joe. Tom chucked as they both strapped on their tools. A few seconds later the buzzer sounded, hammers started making noise and the workday was in progress none too quick for Joe.

Joe was working along when his mind went back to what Carol had said about giving her a call. Should I call her, should I tell Sarah about her first or should I just leave it alone he asked himself? I really need Carol to get the message that I am not interested and I sure don’t want to screw up anything with Sarah. Maybe I should start with the most important person first. Sarah.

The buzzer sounded and it was break time so Joe headed to the door and quickly opened his phone and hit the speed dial to Sarah. Sarah picked right up startling Joe. Hi Sarah, I’m surprised you were able to answer. I’m on break for just a couple of minutes and was going to leave you a voice mail. Do you have a minute right now? Sure Sarah replied, but let me close the door first. Joe could hear the door close and then Sarah said; what’s up? Well I…. I really need to see you today sometime if I can. I need to tell you about what happened last night. Remember I told you my old girlfriend was back in town? What did you do Joe? I didn’t do anything Sarah. I just want to talk to you first before I do anything. What do you mean, before you do anything? You told me it was history and I believed you, Sarah blurted out. Well that is just the problem. She doesn’t get it. I guess I need to tell her about you and… well I think you know what I have to do Sarah. No, I don’t know Joe. History is history. Yes it is and it sounds like you are taking this wrong Sarah. All I wanted to do was ask if we could get together tonight. I want to tell you the whole story. Could I come over and see you after we are out of work later this afternoon? Sure, but why don’t you come over around 7:00 tonight? I should be home by that time. Ok. See you at 7:00 and don’t worry about anything, Joe added. Joe flipped his phone closed and walked back inside shaking his head saying; Women!

 Sarah hung-up and sat back in her chair thinking about what she had just heard. Men, they drive me crazy. I think we just had our first fight? It’s too early in our relationship to be having any kind of fight. No, that was not a fight. Anyway, what is this Carol up too? No good by the sounds of it. Well I know one thing for sure. If Joe and I are going to have a future he will need to deal with this and show me I am important or it is just never going to work. Come on Sarah, you know Joe loves you. He told you he did and he just made a commitment to God and has found answers to a lot of his questions and you are worried about some old girlfriend? Get your act together girl!

It wasn’t long before Joe was driving up in front of Sarah place. He jumped out and was making his way towards the front door when he heard Sarah. Sarah had seen him drive up and heard him close his car door and shouted; I am out back Joe. Heading around the corner of the house he could see Sarah sitting in a lounge chair next to the table under the tree in the back corner. Opening the gate he waved as he walked on back. Oh this is not good Joe muttered to himself as he made his way towards Sarah. Something is wrong. Joe walked up to Sarah who remained in her chair and bend down expecting to give her a kiss when she gently turned her head so Joe kissed her cheek instead. Joe’s head was spinning with thoughts. Man, Carol has already screwed things up and she didn’t even have to try very hard. That is one of the things I disliked about her when we were dating steady a year ago.

Joe sat down next to Sarah, looked over at her and started to say; Sarah you know I love you and I am sorry if you have misunderstood any of this. I should have talked to you last week about Carol. Sarah jumped in saying Joe, Carol should have been history and that is why I never worried about her. But now it sounds like she is not. Well she is Sarah. I meant what I said. I just need to make her aware of it and she just doesn’t take a hint very well. That is what I wanted to talk to you about. So how am I supposed to help you with this anyway spouted out Sarah. Well you really can’t. I just wanted you to know that I was… that I need to go and talk to Carol and wanted you to know I was. I don’t want anything between us Sarah. I want this to work and for that to happen we need to be open with each other. Sarah turned her head and had a slight smile on her face. I’m sorry Joe. I am not very good with all this. I was hurt by a guy a couple of years ago who let an old girlfriend back in his life and… Stop Sarah, there is no old girlfriend coming back into my life.

They sat quietly for what seemed like minutes and was really only a few seconds when Sarah got up and stepped over towards Joe holding her hand out. Joe stood up and taking hold of her he pulled her close and kissed her on the neck and whispered I really love you Sarah. She turned her head slightly and then they were face to face as their lips came together and they held each other close. Sarah pulled back just enough to reply, I love you too Joe and I am sorry for being defensive. I understand that you need to take care of this thing with Carol and I will help any way I can. Just your understanding is all I need Sarah. I do, replied Sarah as she kissed him again.

Just then they heard the back door open and Sarah’s mom shout out; hey you two, we have pizza if you guy’s would like to join us. Sarah looked at Joe and said have you eaten yet? Yes, but there is always a little room for pizza. They started walking towards the back door when Joe took Sarah’s hand and said; Tom is having a party Saturday night and he is putting pressure on me to come, bring my guitar and he invited you also. Tom is bringing Ann and I am sure there will be several couples there. Will you go with me? Just then the door swung open as Sarah’s dad walked out. I need to get a couple of beers from the patio fridge. Do you two want anything? Yah, get me a coke but Joe may like one of your beers. What would you like Joe. Do you have an IPA? I will bring one in for you.

The four of them sat around the table talking about their day at work, telling jokes and stories, eating pizza and laughing a lot. Joe felt very comfortable around Sarah’s parents. They made him feel very welcome in their home as if they had known him all their lives. They had just polished off the remaining pizza and were shooting the breeze when Joe checked his watch and realized just how late it really was. As much fun as I am having, I really better get going so I can make it to work tomorrow morning. It was really nice of you to invite me in and I had a really nice time and thanks for the beer and pizza. In just a couple of minutes Sarah and Joe found themselves standing outside the front door trying to say good-by, when Sarah looked at Joe and said; I want to go with you Saturday night. What time does the party start? I will pick you up around 7:30 if that’s alright. But I can’t stay out too late. Remember we have that meeting the next evening with Dr. Bob and I want to go to church Sunday morning. Hey, you want to come with me Sunday morning? You are still planning to go to the meeting Sunday night with me to listen to Dr. Bob aren’t you? Joe stood quiet for a couple seconds and finally said; sure, why not. I’ll plan to go to both with you. We can talk about it a little more Saturday night. Sarah took Joe’s hand as she began walking him to his car. Joe opened his door as he was getting ready to leave when Sarah put her arm around his neck and gave him a kiss that made his head spin. See you Saturday night around 7:30. It will be a campfire so don’t get dressed up Joe added. Ok replied Sarah as she made her way back towards the house. Joe slid in his car, closed the door, fired it up and looked over just in time to see Sarah wave good-by as she walked in the house.

“To be continued”

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As the love grows between Joe and Sarah will Carol get the message? How will Sarah handle Joe’s friends? Will the party be a lot of fun or will Tom stir things up just a little? How will Joe tell Carol that he is not interested? 

To Love or to Feel Love


Do you love what you love, or just the feeling? This question was part of a personality test written by Jonathan-Safran-Foer and posted by my friend David Kanigan. A great question that is worth the time to ponder. Giving this some thought it brought many questions to mind. These are just a few.

Do you love the feeling you get or do you love unconditionally?

Do you love when someone is not there or only when you are with them?

Do you spring into action when something attacks what you love or do you sit and wait for the dust to  settle?

Would you die for what you love or only attempt within reason to help?

Can you show your love or is your love just a hidden feeling you can’t or don’t express?

Can you show your love even when it is not to your benefit at the time?

Can you love and forget the shortcomings of your love or do you let the shortcomings affect your love?

Do you always nurture your love or just when you want that feeling of love?

Would you give up anything and everything for your love or would you sit back and wait until your timing was better for you?

Are you addicted to your love for the right reasons or are you just addicted?

Can you let your love go and still love what just left?

What is true love of someone or something? Love is very precious and should hold a place in our heart that no one can disrupt. Only we can spoil that love. That love does not spoil itself. One can spoil love for the other but it was not love that spoiled it. If we could all choose to love unconditionally then love would flourish! The hurts would disappear. The lives of everyone in this world would be affected in a positive way allowing God’s plan for each of us to be fulfilled. The golden rule comes to mind. “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Do to others as you would want them to do to you as my Grandmother always said. True love would change our lives and those around us. My resolution for the future is to attempt to always love unconditionally. What will be yours?

 

20 – Searching for Answers – Influences of Others


Where is Joe’s head at? He admitted he is falling in love with Sarah but will Carol disrupt his feelings? Will his decisions stop all the dreams? What will Sarah’s reaction be the next time they are together?

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Joe’s head was still spinning as he leaned back against his pillow. All he could think about was how he had just placed his faith in God and that he told Sarah he loved her and she had told him the same. I am ready to move on. I feel great! Life is changing and I am ready. No one will ever again make me doubt myself and the things I have decided to place my faith in.

Joe continued thinking about Sarah and could hear the words “I love you to Joe” bouncing softly around his mind as if she was still on the phone with him when his alarm went off. Jumping out of bed he headed for the shower and before he knew it he was driving into the parking lot at work just at the same time Tom arrived and pulling up alongside of him. As they made their way toward the entrance, Tom stopped. Hey, where did you go yesterday? I saw you pull a U-turn just down the street. Well I had something come up and I needed to get it resolved. So I called in and took a personal day. What’s the matter, you couldn’t get through the day without me, Joe said with a loud laugh. Ha, ha replied Tom. I just never see you miss work. You are the one who is always here. Well let’s just say, I am really glad I took the day off replied Joe as they punch the clock and made their way into the shop.

   It’s wasn’t long and the buzzer went off for break. Joe grabbed his thermos and was pouring himself a cup of coffee when Tom walked over and sat down with a Coke in hand and quickly said; so tell me what has made you so happy today. What happen yesterday that put you in such a good mood? It must be good! Well, I am not sure you would understand Tom. Try me, Tom responded with a smirk on his face. Hey, did you and Sarah get together and… No Tom, Sarah and I are not doing that Joe quickly barked out with a disgusted look on his face. Ok, but you did see Sarah again. You played hooky from work to hang out with Sarah didn’t you? You’ve got it wrong Tom. Just as Tom was ready to ask what was so all powered important to miss work over the buzzer sounded saving Joe from any further explanation.

Before long it was noon and Joe headed outside just to avoid Tom and escape all the questions. As he walked around he began to realize that his life was taking a turn that he was not sure he was ready for. I feel really good about my decision to place my faith in God and I really do love Sarah. So what is my problem? I really thought all my issues with life would just go away. Come on God, I need a little more help here Joe said to himself. Joe walked over and sat down by a big tree and started talking to God like he had the night before. Just what am I going to do now? I believe in you and want to be able to tell people that I do. You know me God. I’m generally willing to tell people what is on my mind. I want to tell them about everything I have uncovered while I was trying to understand all this. I just don’t know how I am going to do it. What will I say and how will I say it? So many of my friends still think and believe like I did before You help me figure these things out. They don’t even give You a second thought. Just then Joe heard a voice and looked up to see a stranger looking at him. Hey man, you know you are talking to yourself don’t you. No I am not responded Joe with a startled look on his face. Looking around the stranger replied; then just who were you talking to then? I guess I was talking to God Joe responded. Not believing he just said that, he looked up at the stranger to see his reaction which totally surprised him. I understand was the strangers reply. I talk to him too. I love it when He talks back to me. It’s not always with words, but I always know when He is trying to tell me something. Well I will leave you to your talks and you might want to try not moving your lips or letting out sounds unless you are some place private. Somebody might think you’re a little nuts. Remember, God always knows what you need. The problem is we don’t always listen very well. We let our personal desires, our own thoughts and decisions run our life. So remember to talk to Him and you can talk to Him without speaking out loud and He can hear you just fine. He is always there to help you when you need Him if you just take a moment and let Him. Thanks, I will remember that Joe responded as he started to get up to head back to the shop. Joe took a couple of steps and stopped, turning around he said what is your name just as the stranger vanished around the corner of the building. Joe quickly ran to the corner of the building but the stranger was nowhere to be found.

Joe stood still and shook his head in disbelief at how fast the stranger disappeared, then turned around and headed back to the shop. The rest of the day went by quickly and before long he was headed to his car when Tom walked up behind him saying; so let go grab a beer and you can tell me the rest of the story. Joe could still hear the words of the stranger tell him that God would help him so he agreed and they headed to the Pub to talk.

They walked in and found a table off to the side and had just sat down when Carol walked up with a big smile. Hi Joe as she brushed up against him. Did you get my note last night? Tom look at Joe and his mind was off to the races. Yah, I got it. There is something we need to talk about Carol, so we should catch up and I can tell you about things. Sounds like some things have changed in your life Carol replied with a big smile. Let me know when we can get together. In the meantime, what can I get you guys? How about a couple of those IPA’s you have on special replied Tom. Sure thing as she again smiled at Joe brushing his shoulder with her hand as she turned and headed back to fill their order. Tom looked at Joe with a big grin and a chuckle saying; I think she still likes you my man. You little devil you. You better be careful playing two girls at one time. I don’t think you are man enough to handle that. No, no, no replied Joe! It is not like that. I think Carol would like to see if we still have something left, but I don’t. We had a good time when we hung out together, but I never felt like she was the real deal for me. Actually I don’t think she ever felt we would become a permanent item either. Sarah’s my girl and I’m not going to do anything to mess that up. Ok, now you got my attention Joe. What is it about Sarah that is so different anyway. Sure she is cute, ok really cute, but she is also one of those religious types. Are you sure you want to go down that road? Well Tom, she has helped me with a lot of things I have been struggling with. You already know about my dreams that just won’t go away. Talk about real. They are so real I wake up and remember every detail. Sarah has been helping me do a lot of research on the topic of evolution and creation to try to find some answers. The problem was that part of me wanted to find an answer and the other half just wanted the dreams to quit so I could move on with life. But, the deeper we dug, the more real things became. This is the reason I called out yesterday. Oh boy Joe, you really are messed up with this aren’t you? Not anymore Tom. Not anymore. So what is it that has settled your mind, or better yet what have you finally determined the answers are, Tom inquired as he looked at Joe with a bewildered look on his face?

Joe sat silent in his chair as he pondered the question from Tom. How am I going to answer this? He is going to think I am a nut case. He will think I have become some radical believer in God. He will think I am history as a friend. He will never want to hang out with me again. He will tell all our friend that I have turned to the other side. He will make fun of me around other people like he does when he knows someone is a Christian. Tom has a big mouth and loves to joke around and sometimes he get carried away even when he doesn’t mean too. Oh I need some help God. How am I going to handle this?

Ok Joe, out with it. Just as Joe was about to attempt an answer, Carol showed up with their drinks. Hey guys, I thought you looked like you need a little nourishment after a hard day at work so I brought you a small order of hot wings – on the house of course as she smiled at Joe. Wouldn’t want you to waste away to nothing. Wow, thanks Carol Tom replied jolting Joe back to life with the reply; yah thanks Carol. That’s really nice of you. But you didn’t have to and we will pay for them. Tom sat looking at Joe thinking free wings and you want to pay for them. No, my treat as she walked over and put her hand on Joe’s sending him a signal that no one could misinterpret.

   Joe picked up his beer and took a long hard swallow. Sitting it back down he picked up a wing and started to eat it when Tom offered up the comment; you got some problems ahead of you my friend. Not sure how you are going to handle them. Joe just sat quietly continuing to eat the wings and slowly drinking his beer. How can all these things be happening to me all at one time? Why me? Why can’t life just be simple? Go to work, have a girlfriend, go out with friends and just have some fun? Joe jumped when Tom said; hey man where are you anyway? You still alive? You’re sitting there looking like something I never want to become. I got just the solution. You need a night out on the town. How about you get Sarah and I will get Ann and we can go out this weekend and do dinner, have a few drinks, and maybe some dancing at the club. Better yet, maybe we should get the gang together and go out to our favorite camping spot and just have a good old party? Yah, that sound like fun Tom, Joe responded before he realized what he had just agreed to. Ok, it’s a done deal. I will send out a text and let everyone know. You and Sarah show up and I will bring the drinks, my treat. Joe sat back when it hit him that he had just committed Sarah to a party that he didn’t even know if she would go to. Of course I need to check with Sarah to see if she is free Saturday night before I am sure we will come Tom quickly added. Well Joe, I am going to have the party one way or the other. So do what you need to do and I hope you two will come.

“To be continued”

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How is Joe going to handle this? What about Sarah? Will she go to this party with him? Will Carol show up now that she is back in town? Will Tom get a little carried away and decide to have some fun with Joe and bring up some of the things he has told him? 

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?