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My Introduction

(Written December 1994, updated in 1998, updated in 2011, updated in 2020, and again in 2021 )

This is my first post of the St. Joseph’s Blog rebirth. It is a little long, but lays the foundation for a lot of what I’m trying to accomplish. If you want to see a biographic sketch about me, look back in Bill-Beeler . com “About Me page”

I plan to post lots of articles and poems that you may find of interest.  Feel free to offer your own articles or poems about pretty much any subject that might be of interest to our readers.  Use the contact page to submit your work.  Comments are always welcome.  Flames will be ignored.  I want to add more audio prayers and maybe some videos as things develop.  Any suggestions are welcome.

This darned virus has gotten to all of us.  Stay safe and wear a mask.  I am way over 65 and have my share of comorbidities.  Most of my friends are in the same boat.  If you don’t wear a mask for your protection, wear one for mine.  As Tiny Tim said, may God Bless us, one and all.  Stay safe!

You might wonder why I am sporadically writing this blog . I’ve asked myself the same thing several times since I started. in the early 1990s. All I know is that I can’t stop. God knows I tried, I got to a point that was very uncomfortable. Starting out as a book, it went into a corner to collect dust. It kept eating at me, gnawing at the back of my mind. I could not leave it alone. Maybe God would not take “no” for an answer. He kept whispering in my ear until I picked up the task again, and again.

It is a compilation of my persona. It is not meant to have a point, an objective, or maybe even a sense of direction. It is instead a collection of my, and my readers, thoughts. Maybe a little like Mark Twain’s autobiography. I, like him in his lifetime, go in so many directions it is impossible to develop a coherent commentary.

I will, sometimes, try to stay in a more or less chronological order – maybe – if not too sidetracked by other impulses. Well, Let’s see where this goes.

I have tried to make this collection a personal account of my search for God. Much of what I describe might be questionable. The people I talk about are real. The descriptions and incidents are real. A little research on the reader’s part could verify most of them.

Any illegal acts I describe have exceeded the statute of limitations. A few incidents will only be suggested because old ghosts deserve to rest in peace. Innocent people do not need to be embarrassed.

When I talk about the church, I will try to be objective and clear. Like Jesus said, “Judge not lest ye be judged”. I will try to avoid placing responsibility or blame. I will describe the events as they occurred. Who was responsible? Was it the Catholic Church? Individual Nuns or Priests? Maybe it was my inability to grasp the obvious.

Were the actions described wrong, inappropriate, or downright malicious? You must assess each situation for yourself. I try to be fair in my description, but realize that my emotions may still blind my judgment.

I will also try to capture the product of my communication with God. An integral part of these communications has been my meditation and research. The effort to understand what I am hearing in my heart. Sort of translating a conversation of the heart to a conversation of the mind. In my first draft, I left this research out. This was simply a personal book that I wanted to share with you.

According to my theologian friend, that is great if I am writing about little green men. It does not fly in this type of book. I need to provide a warrant for my statements – a basis for your judgment.

Yes, I questioned the word “warrant” too. I looked it up in the unabridged. A warrant is not necessarily a proof. Much about God, emotions, and morality is unprovable. A warrant is something that serves as a reason or ground for a belief, opinion, or action. Not only have I included these warrants from before, but I have continued my research as I try to address my friend’s questions and suggestions. I will provide the warrants for my statements as they occur where possible.

I have attempted to recapture my communication with God as accurately as possible, but they are not quotations. By their nature, they are not quotable. They are recaps of the communication, understandings. These understandings have occurred while driving, lying in bed, walking, sleeping, talking to friends about heavy matters, and even while sitting at the computer. I have included where possible footnotes and a bibliography of all references cited. I invite you to check and verify my references to further your understanding as you also strive to know God.

– – –

This blog is burning a hole in me. I have to get it written, even if just one person is helped by sharing what I have discovered over the last 77 (2021) or so years, so let us begin.

 

 

A Snapshot of Bill Beeler

(Written in Spring 1997, updated Spring of 2021)

My name is William P. Beeler. My Mother, my employer, and the taxman are just about the only ones who call me that much more than once. I see myself as Bill Beeler. As you read these essays – it’s important that you have a feeling for who I am, and the basis for my conclusions. As you follow my search, you must make your own decisions. Is what I’m saying logical? Full of crap? You decide.

I was born into a Roman Catholic family on the 28th of December 1943. We were always active in the church. Mother was a pragmatic Catholic and zealous mother. Dad was a somber soul who saw himself as the provider and guardian of his family. Mother willingly dominated him. Dad faithfully followed and supported her in everything for fifty-five years. We never knew how much he loved to talk until Mother passed on, then he rarely stopped talking.

Getting back to me, I was a late Christmas present – three days late. The baby of the family. Sue beat me by 6 years and Lucia by 3 years. I probably would have been a junior. With three years between Sue and Lucia and ongoing uterus problems, Mother & Dad decided Lucia would probably be the last – so she was the junior. Dad’s name was Lucian, her name was Lucia. That is how I got all my grandparents in my name. William Patrick Henry got them all (William Henry Telker and Patrick Henry Beeler). Maybe that is why I enjoy family history so much.

I attended Parochial schools through junior College. Elementary school in St Joseph’s was a terrible experience. High School at St Joseph Prep wasn’t bad as long as I stayed on the edge and out of sight. I enjoyed the brothers and the male environment. St. Catherine was a non-experience that I knew I had to escape. I’ve never been religious in the traditional sense. When the Priest said, “The Mass is ended, Let us go in Peace,” everybody answered “Thanks be to God.” I always thought we were thanking God that mass was over and we could get the hell out of there. I still feel that way sometimes.

Sounds kind’a dumb that I, bi-sexual, rough-around-the-edges trainer of Soldiers should be sharing with others my search for God. What I am saying in these essays sounds at least suspect, if not down right heretical. Maybe I am a heretic at heart. I won’t try to convince you of the truth or validity of anything. I’ve been honest. I’m no prophet. I don’t pretend to be anything but me. You have to open your heart and make your own decisions. As I open my heart, I find that conversing with God is very simple. Believing is the hard part.

Albert North Whitehead, a noted Theologist, gave us good advice when he said that our effort to understand the philosophical is puny at best. The minute we start bringing in the idea of dogmatic certainty, then we are talking pure folly.

I was married to a really great woman for 49 1/2 years. We had three children. John David died soon after birth. That leaves two grown children with three grand children. Vennie and I had a good marriage. We lived in central Kentucky. We were members of a small country church where my father was raised – St Ignatius Catholic Church in Harcourt area of Hardin County. We have finally put down roots – Vennie and I have purchased a family plot of eight lots in the St. Ignatius cemetery. I am related to about half of the graves there.

Teaching and counseling has always been my first love and main activity over the past 30 years. As an Instructional Systems Specialist for the Army at Ft Knox, I taught teachers to teach and training developers to develop training. As Dr Jackson, the assistant commandant of the Armor School use to say, “I teach people how to teach other people how to kill large numbers of the enemy efficiently”. I loved my work.

I gave numerous workshops & seminars each year. My hobbies included Toastmasters International, computers, fishing, and writing. I enjoy watching sports from a distance.

Presently Things are different. I am obviously retired. My hobbies are computers, reading, and learning to be a better cook. Vennie and I separated in 2016 and divorced in 2018. She divorced me so that I could live the life I have always wanted to live. It was a friendly divorce and I am happy to say we are still friends.

As you read the posts labeled “Bill’s Musings” You will lean more about me, so I’ll stop here.

My Young Years

 
 Only the Troubled are Saved
 by Bill Beeler
  
 I started out proud and glad.
 I was good, I was loved.
 This I knew, they told me so.
 Mother loved me.  This I knew, she told me so.
 God loved me.  This I knew, Mrs. Walls told me so.
  
 I met people who were going to save me.
 I was bad, I wasn't loved.
 This I knew, They told me so.
 Only then would I appreciate their effort to save me.
 Please God, don't let anybody else decide to save me. 

=======

My first real awareness of God as something awesome seemed to be from, or through, school. Strange, I know we prayed at home. My Father got down on his knees beside his bed every night. Mother must have said prayers with us, but I don’t remember.

We talked about God at home. Not in a formal way, but casually, like you would talk about anything else. God was there. You knew he was there and watched out for you. No big deal, just an accepted fact.

One Advent or Lent, Mother and Dad tried to get a thing started where we said the Rosary together each evening. It must have been out of the blue. I don’t remember the details. I was probably about eight. That would mean my sisters, Lucia and Sue, were about eleven and fourteen. We all threw a fit at having to stop everything and pray. It didn’t go over very well. They abandoned the idea pretty quickly.

At the same time Mother was always talking of prayer. She approached God, Jesus, Mary, and the saints in the same matter-of-fact way that she discussed what was for supper and how you dressed to go to a party. It was all very normal. It was just something you took for granted as fact. She would talk about religious topics when they were in context. That was the way she taught us everything else about life.

If she lost something, she said a quick prayer to St. Jude and just assumed it would be found. When starting out on a trip, there was a short prayer to St. Christopher. No doubt, she just accepted that he was there in the car with us. She encouraged us to pray as we went about our lives. Mother kept a number of rosaries and holy cards. Going to Catholic schools and Mass every Sunday and Holy Day was important. After her death, I found many written passages about God, his goodness, wisdom, and mercy. These were written on the borders of calendars, in notebooks, and tucked in her nursing books. She always took a large rosary to bed with her.

Dad was in the background. He was the strong silent type. When he spoke, you listened, but he did not speak very often. Dad and Mother were very traditional, yet not. He worked hard and long hours as Manager of the Kroger store in Bardstown. At home, he took care of the house, stoked the furnace, maintained the car, yard, and things like that.

Mother was in charge of the home front. She managed the money, wrote letters, planned social events, and raised the children. Propriety and Amy Van Buren’s Book of Etiquette were made for her. She was the hugger, supporter, talker. There was nothing that she could not or would not talk about. She was also the adventurer who loved to try new things. She insisted that they ride the mules down the Grand Canyon when they were in their late sixties.

Dad was not a hugger. He was terribly embarrassed by any open expressions of emotion. Even the mention of pregnancy, and especially S-E-X, would make him cringe and lose his appetite. At the same time, he thought it was funny the first time I got crabs. In junior college. I’m sure he thought I had a girlfriend somehow that they did not know about.

He refused to fuss at me and could not keep a straight face when mother was fussing at me for my indiscretions. She finely told him that if he thought it was so funny, he should just go into the other room and read the paper. He did. I think he was proud of what he perceived as a symbolic “coming of age” type thing. I tried to bring up the subject to him a few days later, but he was just too embarrassed. Or – maybe he really didn’t want to know the details.

On the morning of my wedding day, Dad was embarrassed, but told me the only risqué joke that I ever heard from him. It was a prelude to telling me that I should have a little jar of Vaseline handy in case things were a little tight. That is also the only sex related advice he ever gave me. Don’t misunderstand. Dad gave me a lot of other advice and support over the years, but not about sex.

Obviously, I don’t remember much about kindergarten. I remember that Mrs. Walls and Mrs. Pash were nice people. I liked to draw. We would sit in a circle and sing songs. I especially remember singing “Jesus Loves Me”. I love that song. Even at fifty-one, I still sing it sometimes.

I can still picture Sr. Reperata. She was my first grade teacher. I was almost as tall as she was. When we prayed, I would keep my eyes open. That way she would come by and place her hand over them. It was wonderful. I do not know why those hands were unique, but I can still feel the cool specialness touching my eyes.

I do not remember Sr. Reperata teaching anything in a formal class type situation, but she probably did. She always seemed to be at her desk or standing between two towering novices. Remember, I was only six. They must have been teacher aids or teachers in training. They use to work with us in reading groups. Sometimes we were called over to Sr. Repartee’s desk. She would look over our work and talk to us. It was special.

That first grade room at Bethlehem Academy opened onto a large porch which overlooked the playground. There was a big clock on the wall. I am not sure whether I could tell time of not. After prayers we would sit at our desk and do our papers. I would pretend that I was a riverboat captain. The clock had a key part in my daydream, but I’m not sure just how. The people around me were my crew. This did not help my schoolwork, but it made the time pass. I would pretend that we were on a cruise until the next recess or lunch. When the ship landed, we would go out onto the deck (porch) and down the gangplank (stairway).

This was where I got my first taste of classification. I was a blackbird. Yes, you guessed it. The reading groups were the Bluebirds, Redbirds, and the blackbirds. Visual problems, hyperactivity, and a very short attention span made reading difficult and earned me blackbird status.

I have always associated Sr. Reperata with the almost holy experience of that year and the novices with the grouping. Even at that age, we all knew the significance of the groups. As a teacher, I realize that the “birdy” style grouping was an accepted practice in the fifties. A twenty-five year high school reunion showed that those groups were not very predictive in the long run, but they were a burden at the time.

When I was the teacher, I remembered this labeling experience and use rotating numbers for my groups. I changed the numbers every week or so. The good ole blackbirds might be the first group this time, second next time, and third the time after that. Just a little thing, but nobody had to say that they were a blackbird.

My second grade teacher was a big woman. She had at least one novice also. I do not remember a lot about that year, except that they discovered that I was terribly near sighted. It was such a shock to see the detail in life. Now I understood what people were talking about in the distance. I could see the ball coming. I couldn’t catch it, but I could see it coming. My school work improved too. I do not recall getting into trouble at school those first two years.

I assume that she was a sincere and understanding teacher. I must have had a good two years. Human nature forgets the good things, the comfortable memories. We remember the trauma, the sadness, the pain. Even when we forget the little details, we remember the events.

Third grade was a turning point. That is when I found out that I was bad. There are a number of incidents that stand out in my mind. I will share some of the most representative.

I was always full of imagination and action. As a Nurse, Mother recognized that I was hyperactive. This often drove her up a wall, but I was never made to feel unloved or unappreciated because of that hyperactivity. She worked to teach me to redirect my energies. Looking back, I think I inherited my Hyperactivity from Mother, just as my son, Marc, got it from me.

Even today, the worse thing you can do to me is expect me to sit and relax for an hour, would you believe a half hour? That is why I love the computer. It gives me something creative and useful that I can run with while staying in one place with my family.

Mother encouraged my reading, projects and role-playing. One Saturday, during the third grade, I watched a spy movie about China. Mother and I looked into Chinese writing. I made about twenty pages of “Chinese” writing with brush and paint. They were pages of secret scrolls.

Against Mother’s advice, I took them to school. I was proud of them and played with one during recess. Shared it and my game with Stanley. He was not amused. Typical third grader, he told the Sister. I do not remember her name.

She sat the class down after recess and had me bring her my bookbag. I sat there while she took every piece of paper out of the bag. Each scroll was unrolled, held up for all to see as an example of my wasting paper, wasting time, doing foolish things.

“Just what I would expect of you, Billy Pat. “What would your Mother say?”

“She said I could.”

“well, she couldn’t have meant for you to waste all this paper and paint…”

It went on and on, every last sheet had to be displayed and commented upon.

When I got home I told Mother. She called the Nun. The papers were thrown away … need to set example … maintain discipline … he should have told me. You know how talks with teachers tend to go. She never did apologize.

She would fuss at me. I would look directly at her while she talked. Then I got into more trouble for being defiant and disrespectful. No problem, I started looking at her bosom. After all she was always fiddling with something under her little cape (a top piece of her habit that was suppose to hide her figure). She was well endowed, so it did not do a very good job, especially with her hands up there.

Then I really got into double trouble. I could not understand why I was being “dirty”. Seems like she would not want to keep me after school if I was dirty, but I was and she did. Finally she called Mother about my dirty mind. Something had to be done.

I remember that talk very well. I get in trouble for doing something wrong. Sister fusses at me. I get in trouble for disrespect if I look around the room while she is talking. Looking right at her, like we normally do when somebody talks to us, and I get in trouble for being defiant and disrespectful. No problem, I look at her bosom, watch her fiddle with something. Mother found out she fiddled with her pocket watch because I made her nervous. Now I get in trouble for leering. Can a third grader leer? Mother and I decided that I did not dare look at the rosary in her belt. The only safe place was her shoes while uttering an occasional “sorry” or “yes Sister” as appropriate.

Whenever we were bad, whatever that means, she would spank the palms of our hands with a three sided ruler. Three to ten licks, depending upon the offense. I got lots of licks. This was the year I learned that I was bad. I had to stay after school a lot. Writing lines and working arithmetic problems were the most common punishment. My crimes were talking, not paying attention, and being disrespectful. I was not the only one, just the most frequent.

That was the year we learned to use the dictionary. I was not good there either. Our parents provided dictionaries for their children. Mother got me a child oriented dictionary. It was colorful and had lots of pictures. Every time I went to look up a word, I got sidetracked. I would see a new picture and stop to read about it.

Sister made me leave that one at home and use one she got somewhere with no color and few pictures. My time to find a word improved, but it was not as much fun. I still get sidetracked looking up something on Google.

We made our First Confession and our First Communion in the third grade. We had to really study the Baltimore Catechism to get ready. To be worthy. That is when I first became aware of sin. At home and in the earlier grades I had learned that there were good and bad actions. They were passing things, actions, that were to be done or avoided.

Sin being inherent and the soul being dead was foreign to me. At that point, I never questioned the love or justice of a God who punished every living soul for a single act of indiscretion committed millions of years before. Sister and the Baltimore Catechism made sure that I knew that my soul was dead because it had sin on it.

The Bible as a base reference

The Bible is a wonderful anthology with many interesting stories. It contains the message of God. Man has tried vainly to describe the indescribable. To make meaning of that which cannot be understood.

The writers of Sacred Scripture were caught up in their own bias, their limited understanding of the world and universe around them. They also had to communicate with an audience who thought disease was caused by demons and the world was flat, covered by a blue dome separating Man’s home from God’s home. That God sat on a raised throne like the worldly kings of old.

Dr. Manfred Barthel evaluated the Bible as a detailed, literal account. He brings up some interesting facts.

The Bible is an anthology of songs, chronicles, fables, proverbs, and revelations … Written between 1200 BC and 150 AD … The old testament especially is recordings of stories told around the campfire of tribesmen, embellished and transmitted by word of mouth for hundreds of years until written down … Even then, today’s bible is not a constant. There are over 200 translations from many languages, cultures and perspectives.

– – –

It is thought by many Bible scholars today that everything in Genesis from Creation to the Tower of Babel is simply a parable through which the writers were trying to explain the unexplainable workings of God.

– – –

The first two chapters of Genesis give contradictory accounts of creation. Each chapter reflects a very different literary style.

– – –

George Smith, an Assyriologist and assistant curator of the Assyrian collection in the British Museum discovered 12 clay tablets in Northern Iraq, near the ruins of Ninevah. Tablet 11 describes “The Epic of Gilgamesh”. This epic describes a flood almost exactly as it was in the Bible. These tablets were written about 2500 BC, long before the biblical account.

– – –

The Earth’s axis has shifted many times. The last was about 8,000 to 15,000 years ago. This shift resulted in a huge climactic change. As the ice caps melted and the crust cracked, there were huge floods, volcanoes, terrible storms, and much more.

– – –

Moses’ mother set him afloat on the Nile to save him from the Egyptians … Sargon of Akkad was set upon the river Euphrates a thousand years before to escape … Many more narrow escapes by infants spared by God for greater things are recorded. Romulus and Remus, Hercules, and Jesus are but a few.

– – –

The council of Laodicea, under Pope Liberius settled on four Gospels. Originally there were many more.

– – –

The early texts were difficult to translate. Not only were there problems of interpretation as Scripture went from one language to another, but: MANYWORDSWEREABREVIATEDSPAELLINGWASALITTLESLOPPYANDTHEWRITINGWASINALLCAPITALSWITHOUTSPACES

– – –

Sacred Scripture can help us as we strive to understand a rich Judeo-Christian tradition. The Bible chronicles the Judeo-Christian concept of God. But, we must separate theological truth from pre-scientific myths. We must see this wonderful message of God in a way that is consistent with our understanding of reality.

My God

Written December 1996

I’ve come to realize that God, by whatever name I wish to use, is a being, an entity, a consciousness that loves and accepts me. This Divine entity is within all of us. We are within it. We are one with each other. We are one with God. An envelope that encompasses all creatures great and small. My God is a friend. A friend who loves me because I am me – not in spite of me.

My body is a physical thing. I should take care of it, since it’s the only one I’m going to get. At the same time, I can choose to do with it as I wish.

My Soul is a part of the Divine. God in the broadest sense. God encompasses not only all living beings – but all beings. Those who are – those who ever were – those who ever will be. Each of us is a piece of God. It is this soul that links me with my God.

God is in many ways like a parent, a Mother/Father. I am like a child. I struggle to be on my own. My parents are always there to support me if I allow them to do so. I can snuggle up to my God and know that I am loved, protected, and warmed — no matter what.

My God feels my guilt, my despair, and my joy. God feels the depression of my failure and the exhilaration of my success. She shares the warmth of my inclusion and the cold of my exclusion.

Like a friend, God perceives my feelings and decisions and responds to them. He calls me to pull from those experiences whatever good I can find. I can then move in future directions that will present a greater good.1

Like a mother, my God knows even my most secret thoughts, words, and actions. Still, she is there to hold me as I shed the tears I would hide from the world.

My soul, the souls of those who were, and those who will be, are within God. We are like the leaves on the vine that John talks about.2 Our souls are a dynamic, interactive part of God. My soul is within my body. It will remain there until released at my death. Those souls who are without bodies are the angels of God.3 The souls without bodies are the messengers of God that we find throughout history.

The term “Angel” comes from the Greek word for messenger.4 Maybe Angels are the direct interaction with God through souls with whom we can relate. “Eyeball-to-eyeball” contact with God is scary. Maybe Angels are the physical links between those who are and God. It doesn’t make much difference. The relationship is the important part, whatever the details.

A Theologian from Belermine College reviewed my first draft. He taught me several new words. He tells me that this perception of God is known as PANENTHEISM. I was pleased to know it had a name. That I was not the only person thinking this way. I looked up Pantheism and Panentheism. They will help us understand the basis for much of what I an talking about.

Pantheism is the belief that God is the universe. Everything in the universe is God. God is the eminent force or soul. This is sometimes called absolute pantheism. If we ARE God, if God IS US, then there is no free will, no choice. We simply are divine. What ever God does is “Godly (?)”, Perfect by our definition of God. Therefore we are committed to being perfect. We cannot do otherwise.5

Panentheism is the belief that the universe, or its animating force are a part of God, who is also transcendent. There is a subtle, but very important difference. From a Panentheistic point of view, God is within us. Our soul is a direct connection to God. At the same time, we are a unique entity from which God is transcendent.6

Even the most conservative Christian definition states that God is transcendent. God is an unclassifiable entity. God is beyond the limits of experience and knowledge. God is beyond what we can perceive with our senses.

You may already be blowing off this whole idea. I’m saying. That’s your choice, but Ephesians says One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.7 Corinthians tells us “Now Ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.8

The Baltimore Catechism told us that God is all present, that he is everywhere.9

Paul Tillich, a 20th century theologian and philosopher, stated that “God” refers to the source and ground of all being and that all other statements about him are symbolic. The picture of God constructed by men participates in the ultimate reality but is not in itself ultimate.

1 Mesle. Pg. 15.
2 (KJV) John 15:5.
3 Baltimore Catachism, Saint Joseph Edition, 1964. #19.
4 Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1966.
5 Encyclopedia Britannica, 1994.
6 Encyclopedia Britannica 1994.
7 (KJV) Ephesians 4:6.
8 (KJV) 1 Corinthians 12:27.
9 Baltimore Catachism #11.

Mother’s Passing

Alfreda T. Beeler, my Mother, died on July 16, 1991. She was suffering from Alzheimer’s, a broken hip, collapsed lung, and a cracked rib. I thought she was gone. Maybe I would see her when I too passed on.

We moved her and Dad to our home and made our living room into a hospital room with the help of Hospice. Several times she’d tell Vennie to look at the light. The beautiful light. There was no special light that we could see. The first time, Mother was amazed. The other times it was more enjoying an expected beauty.

Vennie would reassure her. Tell her it was OK to go toward the light if she wanted. Vennie would ask what she saw.

Once she answered, “a man, a woman, and a little child, waiting there in the light”. She either didn’t know or couldn’t say who they were. Maybe they were her Mother and Father with John Javid, the son we lost at just after birth. The inevitable happened and she passed peacefully.

Over the next few months, Mother made her presence known. I kept finding the aspirin bottle top loose. I’m the only one who uses the aspirin. Everybody else uses Tylenol, Advil, and other stuff. I close the safety cap all the way. Mother hated safety caps. She’d leave them open. The top just sitting on the bottle. Was she trying to make her presence known as we let the dead sleep within our hearts?

Vennie kept finding the front door open. It should have been closed and locked. No one was opening it. Mother?

Vennie saw what appeared to be a movement. A person in the hall several times. It must have been a shadow. No one was there. Mother?

These things kept happening over the next six or so months after her passing. We’ve even joked about it. Was she still here since she had died in our living room?

One week , Vennie was in Muleshoe, Texas visiting her family. Muleshoe is 18 miles from Earth. Earth, Texas that is. Anyway, I was Doing the domestic thing at home with our son, Marc and daughter, Elaine.

I decided to cook a roast. There were two in the freezer. About 2 inches thick 6 inches by 10 inches. Frozen like rocks. Why not cook both of them.

Use the corning ware. Easier to clean. Won’t fit. I used the good old Ginsu knife to saw them in half. Took over an hour. Instead of deciding there had to be a better way, I got stubborn. Wasn’t about to stop sawing, except to thaw my hands. Success.

All four pieces went into the Corning ware like four slices of toast. Tight squeeze. Hard as a rock. By this time it’s 10:00 at night. Set the oven on 250 degrees. Don’t want to burn them. Half cup of water in the bottom of the pan to keep them moist. Little salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash, and Cayenne for good luck.

10:30 and the roasts are in. Opps, I’ve got to get up tomorrow at 5:50. Workday, you know. Can’t stop now. We’ll see how they look at bedtime.

Come midnight and I can’t stand it. I’ve got to get to bed. What’ll I do. Too hot to put in refrigerator. Can’t leave out all night. Too tired to care. Almost jokingly I called on Mother.

“Well Mother, I need your help. Let’s cook this together, cause I’ve got to go to bed. Don’t let it be too bad by morning.”

I went to bed. 12:15 AM.

1:00 AM. I’m wide awake. I know I have to check on the roast. My “toast slices” are fully thawed. Dark brown for the top two inches. Bloody red from there on down. Not much room around the meat. Juice less then two inches from the top. This won’t work. Get out a flat Corning ware casserole with top. Everything fits. Add half inch of the juice. Cover and put in oven. Back into bed without a thought. No idea what time it is.

3:00 AM. Fully awake again. Know I have to check on the roast. Looks perfect. Put on counter. Two pot holders to protect the counter top. Slice the two thickest in the middle. Nice, brown, tender, and juicy. Put top back on to keep the cat out. Back to bed.

5:00 AM. Wide awake again. Got to check on the roast. Cool enough to put in the refrigerator on two holders. Don’t want to crack the glass shelf. Back to bed.

5:50 AM. Alarm goes off. I’m as groggy as usual. Stagger to the bathroom.

6:00AM. While sitting on the pot, I suddenly remember the roast. Then I remember the cooking events. Finish on the pot, wash my hands, then check on the roast. Perfect. I looked up with a smile. WE did it. Suddenly the warmest feeling came over me. You know that feeling you get as a kid when your Mama gives you a great big hug? Mother and I had actually cooked the roast together. Just like the time we baked cookies.

=====================

The Mexican Wedding Cookies had been one of the few times Mother and I cooked together. It was on a Saturday morning. It was my first cooking lesson. She tried to teach me how to cook. My sister Lucia would refuse to eat anything if I helped with the cooking of that meal. I learned how to cook in Boy Scouts and when I was a bachelor after college.

Now I know that Mother’s with me. So’s Dad. And other released souls with whom I’ve bonded. I know Dad will always be in the background. Silently supporting. Mother will be in the front. She was always so outspoken. Sometimes to a fault. I assume there are no more secrets between Mother and Dad about me. Maybe there never were. Each just played their perceived roles.

Mary Grace’s Last Visit

What happens when we die? I think we rot, burn, recycle. But I also think we continue on in spirit. Don’t ask me for details, but I have had some experiences. This is the one and only time my God mother, Mary Grace came to visit me.

We were all paying attention to the priest. Deacon Jay intoned, “Let us turn now to those around us and exchange a sign of peace.” Vennie and I kissed , turned and began shaking hands with those around us. I turned, to greet the person behind me. I caught my breath as we shook hands in peace. I was amazed at how much she looked like Mary Grace, my Godmother who had recently died of a heart attack. She gazed into my eyes, smiled took my hand while telling me to be at peace. Returning from communion, Vennie leaned over and asked me if I had noticed how the woman behind us at the sign of peice was the spitting image of Mary Grace. We looked back, she was nowhere to be seen. I asked the lady who was there if she had seen where the lady in the trench coat had gone. The lady did not remember seeing a lady in a trench coat.

Mary Grace knew that I felt bad about not keeping in touch over the years. She wanted to reassure me that we were indeed still in touch. Her body may still be in the casket, but not her soul.

Intercession Offered – Intercession Refused

By Bill Beeler

God was there even when I didn’t listen to his messenger.

Sticking my head through the lace like frame that use to be my passenger side window, I was struck more with curiosity than shock. The cab of my two week old pickup was radiant in the morning sun. Sparking diamonds highlighted every nook and cranny. Glasses, maps, registration papers and star mints flowed from the glove box like fruit from a cornucopia. Morning dew clung to the rest of the windows forming a hazy frame like you see in some old tintypes. For a minute, I was struck by the beauty of the setting.

Reality took hold of my consciousness. Stomach spasms sent bile to the back of my mouth. My heart raced. “We’ve been robbed!” Some punk has messed up our vacation for a lark, for pocket money! That reality made everything look very different, very real.

The window framing my head was a useless, gaping hole. Hundreds of glass chunks swarmed over the seat waiting to ravage cloth seats, bare legs and thin clothes. Once neatly stored goodies were scattered without thought of their importance. Glasses critical for driving tossed carelessly. Insurance and ownership papers crumpled and scattered. Candy littered the floor.

My gait was a little unsteady as I went back to the room to tell my wife, Vennie, and call the police. The police ask me what was taken, only them did I think about what might be missing. In all of my fifty-two years, I have never had to endure a car burglary. You know how it is, the OTHER guy gets broken into. Well, this time it was me. Almost everything taken had more then monetary value.

While waiting for the police, I began to realize that we were blessed.

Blessed?

Yes, blessed in spite of refusing to heed my guardian’s warning.

Yesterday had been an exciting day first day for our trip.

Tired, we decided to find a nice place to stop. Just then, we saw a Best Western sign. They are usually nice, so we decided to pull off. Good, It had a restaurant. We didn’t care for the lounge, but they had all night security. We decided to stay. It was our lucky night, we got their last room.

With the pick-up unloaded and Vennie settled in the room, I went to park. Pulling into an overflow lot, I noticed that I was one of only three vehicles in the lot. My new truck and two older cars. To the front of me was the end wall of the motel. Behind me was some major thoroughfare. There were two security lights. One was not working, but the other was okay.

Turning off the engine, a rather deep male voice said, “Don’t park here.”

“Why not?” I asked aloud. Then I realized that I was in a closed pick-up cab by myself with the radio and air conditioner running. Laughing, I thought it must have been a part of the song. I just misunderstood the words.

Dismissing that nonsense, I secured everything. Camera, glasses, and extra tapes in the glove box. CB, and Vennie’s jacket in the back. Lock all the doors. With one last check, I placed my confidence in the guard on duty.

The Newport police officer explained just how lucky I was. There were probably three thieves, one in the back, one in the front, and one driving their vehicle.

New pick-ups in that area are usually stolen. It is much easier for the thief to steal the vehicle and then take it to a quiet place for a careful search and stripping. My truck was simply burglarized in the lot.

One thief worked the back. He popped open the topper by hand instead of using a pry bar which would have damaged the topper and tailgate. A bent latch bar costing $3.98 was the only damage. He was a big man according to the smudge mark his knee left in the dust on the tailgate. Reaching in, he grabbed my tool box, the plug-in CB, and Vennie’s wind breaker.

A second thief probably worked the front. He hit the window with something heavy, like a tire iron. The officer pointed out that kids or amateurs would have thrown a rock. It would still be inside. He hit the window hard enough to scatter glass all over the cab, but there was no damage to the window frame.

He took four cassette tapes, flashlight, and 35 mm camera from the glove box, but left four more cassettes in the organizer on the seat. He did not try to remove the stereo system and left my gold framed driving glasses.

The officer and insurance adjuster were surprised at the small amount of damage. I’m not. We were blessed. I think intercession was offered. I refused the offer. Maybe my Guardian Angel or Saint Christopher was there to whisper in the thieves’ ear that the cops were coming just at the right moment to minimize the damage.

There may be a blessing for the thieves too. The main event of that first day was visiting a little Baptist church just outside of Knoxville, TN. Beautiful crosses can be seen in the plain, frosted windows during the day. After dark, those crosses really glow. Our camera had almost a full roll of pictures of the church and crosses glowing in the windows. Maybe the person who has the camera got them developed. Maybe the crosses will have a message for him too.

One thing Vennie and I have learned, we are not traveling alone. The next time we hear a voice, we’ll listen.

Gay

Note: The following is one of several poems I found on a website geared to gay and lesbian youth that I liked very much way back in 1996. As I have started rebuilding the blog, I want to include these poems. I tried unsuccessfully to contact the poets for their permission. If this is your poem, I would love to hear from you.
"G a y" by Evgeny
(it's also name of the boy to whom I wrote this poem).


It's happening just sometimes,
It's happening from the dreams!
You meeting somebody nice,
That you don't want to loose him.
But you loosing him any way,
You can't do anything more.
Any miracle, any chance,
Will not help you to get him for more.
This not tale, this really life,
True life, with hope and shock.
This can put big knife to your heart,
And destroy him so quickly for all.

Passive Sage

Note: The following is one of several poems I found on a website geared to gay and lesbian youth that I liked very much way back in 1996. As I have started rebuilding the blog, I want to include these poems. I tried unsuccessfully to contact the poets for their permission. If this is your poem, I would love to hear from you.
Passive Sage by Roland Thrower

I've been different all my life
yet I've never picked up a knife

I walk naked for the world to see
the person who is really me

They may stare and wonder why
why mustn't he not die!?

I see their bludgeoning words, hit my skin
for I can do little to defend

I have no armor to protect
Nothing but my intellect

Sometimes I wonder: why go on?--
Because of the morning Sun

As I knell down to pray,
Not the ordinary way

I ask for them to understand
I just want to be their friend

Unreachable

Note: The following is one of several poems I found on a website geared to gay and lesbian youth that I liked very much way back in 1996. As I have started rebuilding the blog, I want to include these poems. I tried unsuccessfully to contact the poets for their permission. If this is your poem, I would love to hear from you.
unreachable by Danielle

reach out your hand slowly, not quite aware
moving quickly you surly wouldn't dare
slowly growing closer to the fire
we can no longer contain our desire
the kids in the halls are starting to wonder
your feelings and actions are pushing you under
into their world of harsh words and hate
any kind of hell that they could create
your eyes are cloudy and your mind confused
your body is weak and weary, your feeling used
i feel great sorrow when i think of you
we are both alone and scared... not knowing what to do
when i am with you my troubles melt away
but because of our surroundings our feelings must be put on delay
so sit across the room and smile from a distance
until it is safe to stop this harmful, fake resistance