The Casket in the garage
Over the years of fighting cancer, it kicked my butt. I wanted to hear the testimony of a lady who was visiting our synagogue during the week. I sat in the back row with my wife and was going to tough it out. Half way through her wonderful testimony my wife says I was turning ash gray.
“Are you okay?” said my wife Sarah.
“No, we need to go I am very sick.”
My wife called our friend over. He took one look at me and called his son over, and they took me to the car. I could see the concern on the faces of my friends and my wife.
Sarah drove me home and talked to me on the way. I began craving sugar and ate all her mints and the hard candy we had in the car. I felt like I was going to die. The pain was overwhelming, but I insisted to go home. I told her if I am going to die, I will do it at home. My ez-chair became the world where I would sit and fight the pain which was ripping my body apart. I filled my mind with prayers and calling out to God.
“God, if you are going to take me, this is a good time... But I know you have plans for me... Help me!” this was my mantra for three days and two nights.
Months earlier, I was working on updating my final arrangements. I did not want to leave my wife with a mess to deal with when I die. Over the years, I have kept all my important documents in a two-inch ring binder. It sits on my desk in a pigeonhole.
The agreement I had made earlier at a local funeral home would no longer honor our agreement and want way too much money.
The next Shabbat during our Oneg I brought this up with the Rabbi and the elders. Rabbi assured the fellow ship would perform the service. Randy, one elder, stepped up. He is a veteran and has a wood shop. He has the specification the VA requires for a Jewish casket and he would make one. He has a friend in Old Town who owns a funeral home; I was to call him to make the arrangements.
I call Randy’s friend and gave him the information and He will honor the burial insurance I have. Now my wife can have the other life insurance to help her when I am gone. I worked all the details out.
It has been three days wanting to die in my ez-chair and Sarah talks me into going to the Hospital. Before leaving, I called Randy.
“Sarah has convinced me I should go to the hospital, and the pain is so bad I just want to die.”
“You have put quite a scare in all of us. I am just about done with your casket, and everyone at the synagogue is praying for you,” said Randy.
Once we arrived at the County Hospital, the ER Doctor came in. He asked, what is the problem?
“The pain is overwhelming. Can you help me?”
“You’re a junkie, and I have nothing to offer you... you can leave.”
I called the patient advocate; I explained I had been going through treatments at the hospital for my cancer. And how the ER Doctor treated me and I need some help. I called the Doctor’s office in the same hospital and told him I was there and I had called the patient advocate.
It wasn’t long before the Doctor who had been treating me for cancer sends his PA down to check on me; He was in surgery.
Later the ER Doctor returned and apologized. He gave me the hair of the dog and the pain left slowly. After looking over my medical records, he said they addicted me to opioids. I had been on 45 mg fentanyl and taking oxycodone 10mg. When the Doctor had reduced the Fentanyl to 35mg to wean off the drug, I went into with drawls.
I requested to be admitted to their program at the hospital to help me off opioids. His response was he would check into it. The VA in Spokane was full at their mental facility. The ER Doctor admitted me to the Hospital there. After three days, they transferred me to the VA. I spent twenty-one days in rehab, in the mental ward.
During that time God present me with several opportunities to serve him. I started a Bible study and my wife brought me my harmonica. Couple of guys had their wives bring their guitars and in our free time we played music and praise God in our Bible studies.
The Doctor planned to release the five of us; she told me before I left. Hope you know you have made a great impact on the surrounding people.
“It is not from me, but who lives in me. For to live is Christ to die is gain.”
“It has been an honor to know you and you and your friend will leave this afternoon.”
When I returned home Randy called and said do you have a place for this casket, it is taking up a lot of space in my shop.
“Sure, bring it over and I will put it in my garage.”
As we unloaded the casket in to my garage, I told him the story.
“You know if I take a turn for the worst I will have Sarah bring the casket and lay it by my bed. That way, when I know it’s my last breath, I will roll over into the casket and save you all the trouble. “
“I can see you still have your sense of humor, all the fellowship has been praying for you.”
This was three years ago. I have since been through fourteen months of treatment PRRT. And the result has given me a new lease on life. The cancer has been reducing in size and it has stopped growing. I account this to the continuous prays of my brothers and sisters and the doctors and nurses who used their gifts to heal me.
Till god calls me home I have a full schedule, to seek his plan each day.
If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
Instruction Manual for life
Today most people do not believe there is a God, or if there is, he has abandoned us.
This cannot be further from the truth. The other day I was at a stoplight in traffic and the car next to me had his rap music turned up so loud, even with my windows closed it vibrated my whole car.
The world is this way; we stick our fingers in our ears and pretend that we don’t hear the truth. I know today truth is only relevant to who is speaking. But, I am old school you are telling the truth or you telling a whopper of a lie. Some believe lies, because they have not checked out the facts.
There is nothing new under the sun, people will believe what they want regardless of the facts. They stuff their ears with their fingers and blindly go their way.
But life came with a manual. Yes, mostly it is almost 6000 years old, and they gave the second volume to a man about 200 years ago. Some say man wrote it, others say it is a folklore or myths.
I am here to tell you that too is a crock, check out the history and facts. But, why that would take some research and time. Maybe so, but would you bet your life on the fact you are right and the manual for life is wrong? It’s your life!
The manual I am referring to is B.I.B.L.E. Basic instruction Before Leaving Earth, a good read and you might learn something. Many times I have asked people have you read the Bible. They always say yes, and then I ask them about the book of Adam or the Book of Eve. They tell me I read it. But, I tell them that is not in the Bible, If you had read it you would have known that.
There are sixty-six books in the Protestant Bible, more in the Catholic Bible Why? That answer for another time.
Leave you with this: the Bible is a Jewish document and God use Jewish people to write it and keep it for every generation to understand and have a manual to live life.
Not a place that holds to boredom. In the small corner of the world, in my living room, is a desk. This desk has my monitor connected to my computer and a keyboard which I transport thoughts of my heart.
I am surrounded with fine artwork, reminders of family and friends. So much to write about, Lord grant me time and ambition to publish another book to be superior to the first.
Life has been a challenge, war, trouble more than I can number and cancer. But God has been with me through them all. I have seen changes mostly bad, but that does not hold me back. This gives me even more reason to write at my little desk in the corner.
Writing at my little desk, I can remember friends who gave their best. For family I will see some day when God says it is time to leave this world and go to the next.
Life is an adventure. Once a soldier, then a police officer has seen over half the world as an engineer and missionary. I have taught the Bible as a pastor to many congregations, once a dean to an online Bible College. But my most rewarding is to be married to my wife Sarah as we live our lives for God together.
Yes, there are times I get bored, but once I look at the artwork and pictures on the wall. Stories come to mind sharing with a new generation of writers and storytellers.
Life is what you make about it. You can make many choices, to be bored, waste time on the internet, watch movies, making love or write something that might just change the heart of a person.
I filled my room with stories to write, leaves little room for boredom.
Buck is lying in his bed, restless from the pain which ravages his body from the cancer treatment. His body trying to heal, it filled his mind with the trauma of the past. Fighting to get some rest, he focuses on his fishing trip.
One in the morning he gives up on trying to sleep and get dressed. He goes out of his apartment in the fresh cool air, fills him with renewed life. He organizes the car to make room for his fishing gear. He returns to his apartment and gathers his things, placing them in care and order. He takes inventory in his mind and everything is there.
Two in the morning he goes to fill the car with gas. Then with renewed vigor he enters his car and points it to the Mountain Lake some forty miles away. His thoughts are no longer on the pain and trauma of the past events of his life. But hope enters his heart as he escapes into the night on the drive to his fishing spot.
Watching for deer on the road he sees several; the sight of the deer brings back healthy memories of going deer hunting with his father. It was always a time for a family adventure.
He arrives to find another like himself escaping the bounds of everyday life. Buck introduces himself and makes a new friend Bill.
“Bill, you arrived first. Pick your spot on the dock.” Buck can tell Bill is having a tough time getting his gear out of his car. He sees the pain, which he too is accustomed.
“Buck, you are a true fisherman. Today, most people would walk right by me. Leaving me here to fend for myself,” as he shakes Buck’s hand.
Buck looks to the sky. The twilight has not yet arrived, and the sky is full of stars.
“Bill, look, you can see the space station traveling crossed the sky.” Bill is still struggling with his gear.
“Buck, I will take the west end of the dock; I think I have my stuff together. You know I am sixty-six years old. I just recover from back surgery. This will be my last fishing trip for some time. I go under the knife again next week.”
“I am sixty-seven years old, and I understand the pain.” Bill now smiles at his newfound friend as they head to the dock.
The twilight is a deep gray, making out the water from the dock. With flashlights glowing in the dark, both anglers prepare their lines and casting them into a void of darkness.
Bill continues his conversation about his surgery, and it migrates to his trauma. They share their stories as the reel of Bucks pole sings a song of a big fish on the line. The water comes alive with the splashing and movement of a fish of epic size.
Buck has his pole in one hand and the other rustling through the dark dock for his net. Buck, unable to retrieve his net in time, tries to stop the fish from going under the dock. The fish shows his under belly dives under the dock. Disaster set in motion as singing of the reels drag lets line out. The line finds a sharp edge of the dock, frees the fish. The pole reels back into Buck’s hand with great disappointment it is the big one that got away.
“Buck, that was the biggest fish I have seen it these parts. I like to tell you about the time I caught a state record...” Bill realizes this was not the time. “Buck, I am your witness that was a record fish... Sorry it got away.”
“Bill, no worries the day has not started. It is a good sign that fishing is going to be good.” Looking up as he repairs the damage and cast his line back out in the water. The twilight has begun, gray light turning to a steel gray with blue. The sky to the northeast, the small whisked of clouds show a light pink crown, and the lake is alive with fish moving in for the meal of the freshly hatched insects hovering above the water. Hundreds of bats take their fill of the flying food. The sound of an osprey waking cry, and wild turkeys awaking and the fresh air giving life and hope for the day.
Bill tells of his battle in the court to pay for the injury which placed him in a hospital when he got hurt at work. The battle with the pain and the court was more than his marriage could handle. She left him after twenty years for another man.
I understand been there and I have the coffee mug and T-shirt. Buck remains silent, not wanting to reflect on his own past, but to look forward to his next fish on the line.
Bill continues his story of his life, loss and pain. The sky is developing into a golden yellow as the pink on the clouds turn red. The light reflects off the lake as Bill’s line races from his reel.
The time is right and they know why they have come to the Lake. The fish are biting and one after another they reel in a nice trout. The day light begins and the fish are biting, the adventure Buck and Bill have been waiting for has arrived. No longer is pain, grief or the trauma they have endured present, it has left them both as the sun’s rays hit the lake.
Life around the lake is everywhere; a new day with hope of life has arrived.
The big question can we prove God does not exist?
Searching for the truth to answer this question, it appears there is no evidence disprove there is a God. Only opinions of people form the answer that there is no God.
In the beginning, God... These four words are the heart of the issue. Most opinions which have been formed, there is no God. Therefore, I am not accountable to a higher power and I can live life as I want. No rules, then I can do what I want.
This idea can account for many of our social problems today. Human race created only man’s problems.
The facts that we exist shows there is a grand designer. Our Biological make up of multisystem with in multisystem, mathematically proves a designer. The magnitude of intelligence required is beyond our own, that a designer created humankind.
Evolution idea has its flaws and circle reasoning to conclude all of this is a cosmic accident. This is a very popular view today. Some opinions of people who believe evolution to be a fact, has not done their research.
Where does this leave us? We need to search out the truth, but how do we find this truth. We will not find it in religion, that is a fact. Even the Bible has only one scripture saying anything favorable to religion. Don’t take my word on it, look it up. That is the Point!
Prove that there is no God.
If there is a God, why does a bad thing happen to good people? This may be the wrong question to ask. How about why does God do good things to bad people?
If there is a God, he wrote the rule book on how to live. Then humankind has broken the rules, then there are no good people. People who do not believe in God are like the fool who says, “I do not believe in gravity.” He steps off a ten story building and gravity, a law of science takes his life.
God made the laws of Nature, Science, physics, even the God particle. All scientific facts... The Spiritual laws or Supernatural laws which are beyond our understanding... They too have a cause and effect not unlike Science. To violate them may cause harm or death.
My conclusion to the matter is life is not an accident. We all have a role and purpose in our lives. This is a fallen world and we should not judge God by his creation. His creation has become corrupted. God is perfect and desired man to be the same. God did not make robots, but humanity with a will of its own. He loves us so much he will let you destroy yourself. God being perfect cannot lie as a man. God is not surprised at what we have done to ourselves.
God desires a personal relationship with everyone. It’s a choice to believe the facts or turn a blind eye. The point is, if you want to know if there is a God, do not take anyone’s opinions, and look for the facts not that hard.
Happy Fourth of July
As a child, I looked forward to public fireworks displays and waving the flag and the parades. Today, we have a generation that disrespects the flag, and everyone has their own version of the flag that they display to shout out their political views.
Even as a child fireworks were not lawful in the State of Idaho. Over time, some fireworks became legal. They were to be set off under the supervision of an adult. A moral code of respect for others has disappeared over the years. Setting off fireworks weeks before the fourth and weeks after seems to be the norm. The time which they set them off is around midnight when some people are trying to sleep.
Sleep, to wake up from fireworks for some may not be a problem, but for the veteran who has been in combat, this is not a good thing. Fight, flight, or fright (PTSD) Post-traumatic Syndrome disorder is not fun to play with. I am transported to my youth 60 years earlier to a place and time I had to fight to stay alive and kill or be killed.
Military training sets up muscle memory and reaction time in combat. We have conditioned each soldier to react to kill, destroy the enemy without hesitation. Just an example cadence we would call out “I want to be an Airborne Ranger, I want to go to Viet Nam, I want to kill a Viet Cong,” and they trained us to be killers! We had a license to kill, we were to use it.
Being suddenly waken from the explosion, a trigger for PTSD brings back the very moment time the trauma was first experienced. Being trained in the military you become hypervigilant, you re-live the event as if it just happened. I open my eyes to what happens for the first second at the event; I re-live my combat trauma, my heart is racing and I enter the Zone, ready to fight, kill, and destroy. Then effect for some wear off within 30 seconds, but at this point, you become very angry if not in rage your body and training are in full force. Three minutes later, you realize your present time and location and your heart is still racing. Sleep is out of the question for the next several hours if you’re lucky.
I know it is a lot to ask for people to understand. The enjoyment of setting off fireworks saves it for the fourth of July. Respect those who gave you the freedom to celebrate Independence Day a break. We lost friends who gave their lives, someone has wounded and lost some limbs with physical wounds. And there are many more who are wounded deep inside, these wound sometimes never heal.