January 2005

The sound of thunder, loud and in full stereo, woke Sam. I’d better get back up to the house. It sounds like it’s going to bucket down. Sam stirred from his foetal position, but something felt very different. This wasn’t the cool, well-polished feel of his rock. Sam opened his eyes. In the darkness he could still make out the table and chairs, thanks to the orange glow from the light on the freezer, and the ghostly green of the microwave clock. He was back in Max’s house.

He lay there, very still, trying to put the pieces back together. 

How did I get here? I went to sleep on my rock. And now I’m… Was the whole thing a dream? If so, it was the most amazing dream I’ve ever had. Then he felt the warm glowing in his inner man. His fingers tingling as if they were alive. I remember that happening in the dream. The rain began to hit the roof with some force. It’s just as well I’m not still down on my rock. It gets really slippery, and I would have a hell of a job getting up the track. Did I…? Did God…?

How could he explain going to sleep on his rock, but waking up in the house? He couldn’t remember walking up the track in the darkness with only his pocket torch to light the path. There’s only one explanation. God must have moved me up here. What else could it be? Was this all some weird fantasy? No, I still have the warmth inside. Could I have walked up and not remember doing so? But even if I did, why would I go to sleep in exactly the same posture in the middle of the floor? It doesn’t make sense. And wouldn’t I be wet? I’m wearing the same clothes…

“Thank You,” he said aloud. “I take it that was You? No one else can do anything like that, so it had to be You. You really are amazing, but I guess You already know that.” The warmth glowed a little brighter within. Was that a yes? “Man, this is so cool! You can just move people without them even knowing. You must have been really gentle because You didn’t wake me. Thank You again. You stopped me from getting a wet hide.”

The impact of what must have happened began to slowly dawn on Sam. Who’ll believe me? Would I believe me if I was someone else? They’ll think I’m nuts! They’ll say I’m losing my mind and shouldn’t spend so much time alone. But that’s the point; I wasn’t alone. And I’m not alone now. I can feel Him even now. How could I explain that to anyone?

Where did that leave me? A man alone, deliberately living out of contact with most of the people he knows, has a major religious experience, and…

As that thought ran down the main street of his mind, another one came out of a side street and rammed into it. “Why do you call that religious? It’s not a religious experience at all.” Both thoughts ground to a halt. Do I have a definition problem here? Why would that matter? Who cares?

“I care,” the answering thought came loud and clear. The warmth and the tingles began again, increasing in intensity until Sam felt dizzy.

I’m sorry. I don’t get it. If it wasn’t a religious experience, then what was it?

“Why not look up what a religious experience is?” the voice in his head replied.  

Sam remembered the Oxford English Dictionary on the shelf by the window. He read aloud, “Adjective devoted to religion, devout; of or concerned with religion; of or belonging to a monastic order; scrupulous.”

“Is what happened any of those things?” the thought asked him.

I thought so. I assumed they were religious, and it says devoted to religion.

“So what’s religion?” 

Sam looked up two places to a previous entry. ‘Religion noun: belief in a superhuman controlling power esp. in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience; system of faith and worship’.

Sorry, I’m still confused.

“Are you interested in a superhuman controlling power or a system of faith and worship? Or do you want to know Me?”

I’m still not sure I get it.

“When you met Amanda, were you interested in some system called marriage or in getting to know her?”

I wanted to know her, of course. Marriage is just the thing we have to try and control it.

“That’s true, Sam. But which was more important to you? And which was more important to her, do you think?”

Okay, I get the general idea. Are you saying that is what it’s supposed to be like with You?

“Sure. You read about the way things were in the beginning. There wasn’t any religion back then. We just liked being around each other.”

So you’re not into religion or religious experiences?

“I’m into meeting people where they are, Sam. Some of them find it easier to look for me within what man calls religion. Some think it’s the religion that’s important, and it may be to them. But to Me, it’s the people, not the religion that’s important. You’ve cottoned on to that, haven’t you? But, Sam, do you really think I’m bound to only work the way men think I should? I don’t think we need worry about that where you and I are concerned, do you?”

What are you saying? Are you saying you want to… Sam didn’t know what to think.

“I don’t want you to do anything, Sam. I just want you to get to know me.  And you have some things I can help you with if you’ll let me.”

No, there’s more, right? I mean this sounds too good to be true. If it’s so easy, why aren’t we all doing it? I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but where’s the catch?

How can a thought laugh at you? But the thought laughed a huge deep belly laugh, with its owner clearly enjoying it. Sam felt decidedly uncomfortable. Why are You laughing? Did I say something funny?

“It depends on how you look at things, Sam. I’m not laughing at you; I’m laughing at what you said. More often I would rather cry when I hear it. It’s one of many things with a grain of truth, but it’s not the whole story. It very rarely ever is. It’s amazing how creative man’s mind can be.” 

But You still care about us, in spite of all that, don’t You?

“More than you will ever know, Sam. And I always want the best for each and every one of you. Do you believe Me, Sam?” 

Sam didn’t know what to say.

The voice was a step ahead of him. “You’re not sure about that, right?”

Yes, I suppose I do. But I don’t want to lose what I’ve just found. It sounds a bit limp…like a teenager talking to his girlfriend or some guy caught cheating on his wife.

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay in someone’s good books, Sam. I’m a great believer in reconciliation. But I do have some thoughts about the best way to go about it. There’s quite a bit about it in the Bible you’re reading. But what makes you think you and I might have a problem, just because you may have some doubts?”

I guess I thought I have to believe You are always right, or… you know…  Sam desperately tried to understand, but it was so big, too big, and constantly changing, expanding. 

The voice inside continued. “What, a lightning bolt? Eternal damnation? Believe Me or else? I’m not laughing again because they’re incredibly serious and should be avoided. But I don’t want people to believe Me out of fear of the possible consequences. Did you believe Amanda only because you were afraid of what she might do if you had some doubts?” 

But You are not Amanda…You are…

“Yes, I am. Some people see it as good news, and others see it as bad news. I’m also the manufacturer. Things work a lot better when people accept I know what’s best for them. But I didn’t create people to be My robots, Sam. Where’s the fun in that? No, I made them to be My family, and you know how dysfunctional families get sometimes. Kids can do wild and foolish things, especially if they’re hurting. But I still want them to be My family and to restore them to a full and healthy life. And I can do that, Sam, if they will let Me.”

Yeah, I know. The Church does great work, helping people to….


Sam could almost picture the thought with his hand held up like a cop on point duty. Sam stopped.

What’s wrong? Was I speeding or something?

“You were going too fast and in the wrong direction. You may not have jumped the lights, but you were jumping to conclusions. I’m not talking about the Church. I’m talking about Me helping people if they will let me.”

Sorry. Isn’t the Church the tool You use to help people? You know, sending out missionaries, running soup kitchens, and all that.

“They’re good things, Sam. But do you think they’re the only things I can do?”

Well, no. I mean You saved me from getting a wet hide just now. If You made all this, then I guess You can do anything You want to help people.

“…provided it is what is best for them.” The thought finished his sentence. “And that’s where most of the struggles begin, Sam. If people believed I knew what was best and let Me help them, things would be very different. But most people have strange ideas about who I am and what I want. They think I want to make their lives miserable. They think I’m waiting for them to mess up, so I can punish them. A few years back, they would speak of Me wanting to smite them!” 

Why would they think that if it’s not true?

“For a great many reasons. We could spend a long time looking at them, but what’s the point? I’m not all that interested in where it went wrong or who’s to blame. I’m more interested in how we can get back to the way it should be.”

What do you mean ‘the way it should be’?

“You read about that the other day. I wanted man to choose to be like Me. But to give him a real choice, I had to give him the option of choosing a different path. And man must still choose, even if it hurts Me to see the choices he makes. 

“I’m glad family isn’t about the bad choices people make, Sam. It’s so much bigger. And there’s always an opportunity for reconciliation. That’s the way it should be—My family, all of it, restored. But reconciliation and restoration aren’t things we can force upon people, Sam. People have to choose them. They have to want them, and that means being willing to work towards them. Look around you, Sam, or listen to the news. Your world is full of people who are not willing to do that. Things like pride get in the way, and so their pain persists.”

But sometimes innocent people get hurt. Look at Amanda.

“Yes, Sam. Sometimes the innocent get hurt. And that’s a big issue for many people. But the issue won’t be solved by denying My love or refusing to believe I want what is best for them. Nor will it be solved by hurting other hurting people. That just perpetuates the problem. 

“Hardly anyone deliberately sets out to hurt people, Sam. They just don’t think about the wake they’re creating. You saw that from your rock. Not many people have a rock like yours.  But they all need one, Sam—a place above the waves, created by life and stirred up by other men. I can be the rock in their lives if they let Me.” 

You make it sound simple.

“It can be. I made it simple enough for a small child to understand. You’ll find that in My book too.”

So how come we just don’t get it?

“Let’s not go there, Sam. It’s like wondering why your computer doesn’t work. A few people may know or think they do, but most people accept they don’t know and go to a technician or send it back to the manufacturer. You accept he or she knows something you don’t, and you trust them to repair the problem. But when it comes to repairing their lives, suddenly, everyone’s an expert. They ignore the manufacturer’s warranty that says not to abuse or misuse the product, otherwise, the guarantee is null and void. The warranty also says not to use pirate parts when fixing it. If you want your life to work properly, you’re better off following the manufacturer’s guidelines, not relying on back-street mechanics who offer you quick fix solutions.”

So what do you want from me?

“Nothing more than a chance. I want you to find out something of who I really am, Sam. That’s all. Wasn’t that how things worked when you started out with Amanda?” 

That’s it?

“Sure, why wouldn’t it be?”

I don’t really know, but I assumed You would want more.

“There may well be, Sam. But let’s take one step at a time. Think of your grandson, Tim, when he was learning about life? Did Jack and Sylvia demand anything from him?”

No, of course not. He couldn’t do anything anyway. They just accepted him and loved him, even when he was naughty. He knew it and relied on it. I think I see what You are getting at. That’s how family should work; the newborn doesn’t have to do much except learn as best he can. No one expects him to stand on his head or wash the dishes or work an eight-hour day.

“Right. After he has grown a bit, he will do things. First with his parents, then for his parents, and then by himself.”

So You are saying I’m like Tim?

“Of course you are, Sam. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’re on new ground for you. But remember, you’ve been a baby husband, and you grew out of that. Then you were a baby father, and you learned about fathering. Sure, other people helped, but they couldn’t do the job for you, could they? 

“It’s the same now, Sam. Other people can tell you about how they see Me, and who they think I am, and even how they think it’s all supposed to work. Some of that may be helpful, and some may not—just like the people giving you parenting advice. But it’s not about them, Sam. It’s about you and Me—like you and Amanda, you and your kids. It’s personal. Like all good fathers, I want what’s best for you. And when you’re ready, I want to help you grow up and achieve great things.”

You want me to be one of your kids. Is that it? Is that what You’re saying?

“Yes, yes and yes. In that order.” 

What can I say?

“What do you want to say?”

I want to say yes, yes and yes in that order, but…

“But you’re still not sure. You have doubts.” He heard no rebuke or antagonism in the thought. The tone hadn’t changed.

I don’t know if I can…You know…

“Here’s a clue, Sam. I don’t mind how much you doubt your ability. In some ways, it’s important you do. So don’t let them worry you because it’s not about how good you are or can be. 

“The doubts you need to work on are the doubts you have about Me. Don’t believe you can—believe I can. Young Tim has doubts about his ability to walk and to talk, but they don’t matter as long as he has no doubts about Jack and Sylvia. Tim believes what they tell him. So it is with you. As you learn to trust me, you will learn to believe what I tell you. And when you see it happen, you’ll get just as big a kick from it as young Tim does.” 

Okay. So what happens now?

“One step at a time, Sam. Why don’t you sleep on it and see how you feel in the morning?”

But what about, you know, all the other things I want to know?

“Tim wants to know all sorts of things too, some he doesn’t even know he’ll want to know. Right? But he’ll find out when the time is right. Right now, he needs to know only one thing; Mum and Dad love him. The same goes for you. Your spiritual Father loves you. You could dwell on the words for a lifetime and still not get all of it, but why not start now. Get to like it, Sam. It’s all yours.”

Ideas and thoughts continued to cross track and compete for space and attention in his head. But the clarity had gone. Things had gone back to what, until now, he saw as ‘normal’. But the glow in his gut was still there—the sense of something more, the instant sense of tingling at his fingertips when the focused on it. Yes, it might seem weird, but it was also incredibly real. He headed for the bedroom.

* * * * * * *

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Max’s lounge looked the same as it had every other morning. Sam really loved the place. Max had encouraged him to use it often enough that Sam felt like part of the furniture. But right now, Sam couldn’t relax there because of a question in his brain—a question that wouldn’t go away.

Why do you come here?

The answer was obvious. He looked around the room again and then walked out onto the balcony to absorb the grandeur of where Max had chosen to build.

“Why do you come here, Sam?” Again! It’s a crazy question. It’s obvious.  I love the place. I mean just look out there.

“There are lots of beautiful places in the world, Sam. Why this one?”

Well, because Max lets me use it. And I couldn’t afford to go to most of those other beautiful places.

“Why do you think Max chose here?”

Probably because the section was for sale? He realized there had to be more to the question, so he thought some more. It’s always been the Kiwi dream to have a place you can escape to and get away from the pressures of life—a place where you can revive yourself without the world constantly demanding more.

“You’ve been farther out in the Sounds, Sam. If he—and you—wanted to get away from things, you’d be a lot farther away from things out there.”

But here, he has road access. There’s power, so he can enjoy some creature comforts. Sam looked around the room again. Electric light, electric fans, sound system, TV, DVD player, dishwasher, phone, and a power lift for lowering the boat to the water. He couldn’t have these comforts if he went farther out.

“So you’re not really escaping from the world; you’re choosing which bits to bring with you. If you really wanted to get away, then why not leave all of it behind?”

Sam began to recognise the voice in his head. Is that the same voice I was ‘talking’ with last night? In reply he felt like he’d been kicked gently in the stomach—but from within. The tingling returned. Yep, that’s what it felt like last night.

“Is that you again, God?”  He felt a bit stupid saying it aloud when he was obviously alone in the room. Another kick, and the warmth spreading, radiating outwards from his belly. I’ll take that as a yes.

The thought responded, “Are you surprised, Sam?”

I don’t know. I guess so. But I’m not sure why. I mean I’d love to say no; it’s exactly what I expected. But You know what I’m thinking, don’t You? I can’t pull the wool over Your eyes? Telling it straight ain’t easy, but that’s what You want, right?

“You catch on quickly, Sam. You’re right. I’m not interested in window dressing.  Do you think Amanda wanted to hear only nice things? Do Jack and Sylvia want to hear only Tim’s thanks and what good parents they are?” 

And that’s in Your book too, I suppose?

“Sure is, Sam.”

I thought it might be. So why do so many people feel they have to dress up and speak in strange ways when they go to church?

“Many people think I want them to. They’re on their best behaviour when they come to My place as a show of respect for who they think I am. Some people do it in case I might be upset with them if they were too casual. There are many reasons, Sam. Different cultures respond in different ways. But you’re right. I’m a lot more interested in dealing with their struggles than how they dress and act.” 

But they don’t realise that.

“No, Sam, often they don’t.” 

Why not? What went wrong?

“We were heading towards the answer a moment ago.”

You mean the thing about why did Max build here?

“Yes. I said you’re not really escaping from the world; you’re bringing along the bits you want. If you really wanted to get away, then you would leave them all behind.”


An unexpected silence descended.

Are You still there?

The now familiar kick and glow.

You want me to figure it out?  No reply. I guess it is then. But, hey, please feel free to stop me if I’m out of line here. I may not want to put on a three-piece suit to talk to You, but I don’t want to get it wrong either.

The lack of a response could be taken either way, but Sam decided to plough on. If he overstepped the mark, he was sure the Almighty would tell him. Being straight worked both ways, he hoped.

So why didn’t he go further out to really get away from it all? I guess we want to have our cake and eat it too. We take parts of the world along for the ride because the thought of going off the grid with no home comforts is too threatening. Sam paused before starting work on the next part of the puzzle. There has to be more, or God wouldn’t be asking me about it. Then Sam began to see a connection, and he decided to explore it.

I think I’ve got something. You’re saying if I am to follow through on what we talked about last night—we did talk, right?—then I’ll have to leave my comforts and conveniences behind. If I hang onto them, then I’ll never go far enough out to find what You are doing. It’s a ‘how much do you really believe, and how much do you really trust Me’ question, right? You’re saying I have to step out into the unknown and leave everything else behind.

“Great answer, Sam. And yes, I am saying that. If you want to fly with Me, there’s no allowance for excess baggage. You’re lucky really. You haven’t picked up most of the baggage that many Christians carry around. That should make things easier for you. But you still have some things you need to be rid of.”

You’re saying I can’t have a foot in each camp, right? I have to decide which camp I want to be in—the one with the things I’ve come to rely on or yours because you aren’t in both.

“Well, in one sense, I’m in both, Sam. That’s part of the job description. But I don’t operate by the same rules in both places. I couldn’t create all this if I had to do things the way man wants. He wants Me to come down and join him on his terms, but I want man to come up and join Me on mine. Which would you prefer, Sam?”

Well, if they’re the only options, then I don’t have much of a choice, do I? But something inside of me won’t let me get too excited. I don’t know what it is.

“It’s your baggage, Sam. It’s all the conditioning you’ve had all your life. That’s what we have to deal with if you want to come and play in My world. Much as I would love to have you here, I can’t force you, Sam. It’s got to be your choice. Are you ready to leave the TV and dishwasher behind, and come and see what life’s like out there?” 

But what if I can’t…I mean…you know…

“It’s the doubts again, right? Remember what I said last night, Sam. Don’t worry if you have doubts about what you can do. What’s important is you don’t doubt what I can do. That’s all you need to focus on.”

But it’s a ‘crunch question’, isn’t it? I mean there’s no bail-out option, no escape clause, right? You’re saying I should make my choice now because I can’t have both. And it’s for the rest of my life…

“…and beyond. Yes, Sam. That’s exactly what it is.” 

It’s a hell of a choice to have to make.

“Not my ideal choice of words, Sam, but quite the reverse I hope. But I know what you mean. Think of it this way. You’ve seen a fair bit of life so far, and you’ve managed to negotiate most of the minefields. Do you want to keep doing that, or do you want to try something new—a place where you trust Me rather than you to make the right decisions, and you rely on Me to help you through it rather than having to rely on yourself or your fellow man?”

I know you can do things we can’t, but…

Silence again. Sam was left to try and finish the sentence he had somewhat foolishly started.

…I guess I’m feeling painted into a corner. I feel uncomfortable. No, it’s more than that. I feel a bit threatened. I’m like those people who can’t go to the bach without all their toys. Going into the unknown is threatening. What if it’s too difficult and I can’t manage? What if I don’t like it? What if I find there’s a…I hate to say it…you know, a better deal and I miss out? I know I sound like I want to have my cake and eat it too. I guess that’s the way we humans are. If You made us, then You must know what we’re like.

“Is that how you felt when you got married, Sam? Or when your kids were born?”

Honestly, yes.  I did feel a bit like that.

“But you made a decision and in spite of a few hurdles along the way, you stuck with them in both cases. Do you have any regrets about that?”

No, not really. Are you saying it should be the same here too?

“Yes. But with Me, you won’t have to rely on yourself or your friends to clear the hurdles. Hurdles? Yes, there’ll still be a few of those. They help you to grow.”

Like I said earlier, I’d love to jump in with both feet. I haven’t got many more years here. I have people who I would miss and perhaps a few who would miss me. But I could get run over by a bus tomorrow, and they’d get over it. And Your offer doesn’t remain open forever, right? If I want to make the most of it, then I need to start sooner rather than later, eh?

“You said it, Sam. But all the logic in creation won’t help if your heart isn’t in this. The place I’m offering you doesn’t rely on formulas or systems, or the intellect and reasoning of men. Don’t choose because you think it’s the right thing to do. Only go there if you really and truly, deep down in your heart, want to.”

There’s only one reason I would want to be there. It’s where You are. I mean that’s where You are doing things, not just ‘being everywhere’ like You said earlier. That’s where I want to be.

“You may well find a few more reasons to stay, but it’s a good enough one to start with, Sam.” 

So what happens now?

“Now? Well, it’s a bit like you and Amanda, Sam. We’ll spend some time getting to know each other, and you’ll learn what makes this relationship work better. And we’ll get rid of some baggage. Then we might go out together and see what life may bring. How does that sound?” 

It sounds fine. When do we start?

“Now’s good.”

Sure, I guess so. But don’t You have other things to do. Can You spare all this time with me?

He heard the same deep belly laugh he’d heard the night before. “It’s one of the benefits of this job, Sam. I can be in more than one place at once; in fact, I can be in all of them. So don’t worry, I have all the time in the world to spend with you. You’re very important to Me. But don’t get the wrong idea. I feel the same way about all My children.” 

And all at the same time?

“And all at the same time. So where shall we start?”

I thought that was Your job. I’m new at this.

“I thought you might have some burning questions you wanted to ask before we got under way.”

I do, but I’d rather we came to them in their proper place in the scheme of things. I suspect they will make more sense that way. Except…

“Except what?”

Come on, You already know. He paused hoping for more, but received the silent treatment. Okay, except for where are we going with this? Can you give me some idea of that?

The thought laughed again. “To answer that, I’ll need you to go find that borrowed Bible you have next door. I’ll show you where the answer to that question is.”

* * * * * * * *

Sam had come a long way in a short time. No one would believe just how far, and Sam had no plans to try and convince them. He had gone to a few different local churches to see if anyone else saw things as Sam did. Were there any kindred spirits out there? 

On his most recent sortie, he saw and heard the same things from barely two weeks earlier. He’d watched people go through the same tired routines as if trying to convince themselves of some point or purpose to it all. It’s their version of sacrificing to their gods, hoping it will keep them safe and prosperous. Were they any different to the people they looked down on for doing the same thing with different gods? They’ve bought their divine insurance policy, and now they’re paying it off in weekly instalments every week—or else! And if you do a few extras, the pay-out will be better when the time comes. That drives some into trying to sell policies to their friends and family.

They’re like lost souls who are claiming they’ve been found or saved. Where’s the evidence? Was there anything different? Did they have anything that’s new or meaningful, compared with the rest of us? Who is kidding who? I’ve seen more change in people who’ve taken up surfing—or joined Amway. In spite of all their claims to the contrary, most of them aren’t much different from everyone else in the world. Maybe I’m wrong or blind. But, if they’re so different, then why can’t I see it?

Sam knew he was over-reacting. Some of those people he’d seen or met were very genuine in their desire to help make the world a better place. But they could do only the best that man could do. 

But you don’t have to join a church to do that. Plenty of people feel that way, like greenies, politicians, nurses, journalists, teachers, business people—and hell, even parents. They all want to help make things better. But none of them can do more than man can do.

It depressed him. It depressed him because he would never accept man’s best when he knew there was so much more.

Why should we put up with less than the real deal? Who wants to believe this is as good as it gets! Really? The very book so many of them worship says otherwise, but still they ignore the possibilities and resign themselves to lives as others choose to package them or the way others gift wrap them for us. These days we get to pick only the wrapping because it’s all about image, man! Why can’t they see that? Why do people allow themselves to be led into such places?

“Because they don’t know of any real alternative. No one has ever shown them one.”

The words stopped Sam in his tracks. An alternative. Could there really be one? Why not? I’ve never seen anyone living as if it’s true. Where are the people who can show us how?

“It’s hard to take people somewhere you haven’t been, Sam. It’s like trying to explain something you don’t fully understand yourself.”

But why haven’t people gone there? What’s stopping them? Why can’t we all go there?

“Let’s park that for the moment, Sam. Right now, we need to focus on you. The question I have for you is “Do you want to go there?”

Are you kidding?

“No. For once, I can’t answer ‘I am’, can I? No, Sam. I’m quite serious. Are you?”

Again, Sam paused to think. What do You mean am I serious? Of course I am … I mean … what do You mean by serious?

“I mean do you want to go there, Sam? I’m saying that I’ll take you if you want to go. But it will be a rough ride at times. You’ll have to discover a lot of new things, and you’ll need to leave other things behind. There’ll be times when you’ll want to drop out and go back to life as you remember it. That’s why you need to be prepared—and serious.” 

You mean there’s no turning back?

“Not if you want it all, Sam. Many begin this journey, but not all finish it. Things come up. Things get in the way. Things will come up for you too. Things will get in your way, and you will have to decide if it’s worth going on.”

How can I prevent that? How can I overcome those things?

“By knowing what you really want. Desire will fuel your journey. Your desire will take you all the way to the thing you desire most. You don’t lose desire, Sam. You redirect it, perhaps into the desire for peace and quiet or the desire for the acceptance of men. You have to focus your passion, the fire in your heart, on what you really want. You can’t let it be split or spread around. Your desire may be all you have to hold onto when you have to leave other things, and perhaps people, behind. It needs to be enough to console you when you get lonely or scared. And you will, Sam. But you already know about that, don’t you? That’s how it was with you and Amanda. You both knew what you wanted, and you knew it was worth going through all those struggles to get there.”

Amanda. But she’s gone now.

“But I haven’t. I’m here, Sam. I always Am.”

I have nothing to lose, do I? She’s gone. The kids have grown up and flown the coop. I don’t have many years left to make a difference.

“Come on, Sam? Where’s your passion?  Where’s the desire I was talking about a minute ago?”

You don’t make things easy, do you?

Sam didn’t expect an answer. He rarely got one if he knew the answer already. It’s so one sided when one half of the conversation already knows everything, including what the other side is thinking.

“Seeing a good cause or knowing there’s a need isn’t enough when it all comes crashing down around you.”

It’s my turn not to answer—but I can’t fool You. I don’t know why it’s so difficult to say I just want to go where You are. I found it difficult to tell Amanda that too, but we both knew it—without having to say it out loud. I went places and put up with things because we were in it together. It was enough.

“And it still is, Sam. But you will be tested, just as you were with Amanda.”

Right now, I don’t care. When we got married, we knew it wouldn’t be a bed of roses. But we didn’t care. Being together was enough. That’s the way I remember it. Can’t we be that way too?

“That’s a good place to start, Sam.”

I’m not interested in just starting. I want a whole lot more than a good place to start.

“I’m glad to hear that, Sam, because that’s the way I feel too. I think I’m finally getting the right message here.”


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