PART FOUR– Bernalillo to Moon River (cont.)
While visiting Fred and Delores, I had a vision wherein I saw a great tree, cut off at the top and bottom, trimmed, and split in two down the center. I saw half of it come slamming down on top of Fred’s log house, crushing it. The second half of that log fell, landing on top of the first, matching the splits (the first with split up, the second with split down). I interpreted it to mean that Fred’s house was finished.
Delores wanted us to visit her friend, Ivah. Ivah’s husband was in prison, and her daughter, Leah, was living with her. Ivah was in her fifties, very thin, and professed to believe, though she seemed quite confused. Scars on her neck evidenced her having undergone surgery for cancer.
Leah was in her early twenties. While Leah had gone along with her mother’s religious activities, she was now dating a Catholic fellow, drinking, and generally living contrary to her mother’s wishes. When I asked her about it, she said she wasn’t interested in following after God, that she had tried it and gotten nowhere. (Of course, it was a case of the blind leading the blind and having fallen into the ditch.)
I had thought that the vision I had was of them. The strange thing, however, was that Leah’s hair wasn’t thick, long, and black at all, but medium brown and short, and her skin wasn’t dark, but very pale, almost a light cream.
Then I saw a picture on their piano of a young woman with dark complexion and long, thick black hair. “Who is this? I asked.
“That’s me,” she replied.
“How different!” I exclaimed.
“Yes, that was before I was on drugs. Drugs (LSD?) changed my complexion and hair,” she replied.
I said, “That’s the girl I saw in my vision.”
I told them what I had seen. As the vision showed, Leah had abandoned her mother’s religious activities and beliefs, disgusted with them. She went unapologetically into the world. Her mother had never had anything to offer her by way of spiritual truth. Ivah’s truth was dust.
Who says there’s no God?
Bob Gregson called me up some time in 1984 or 1985, saying he had a peculiar dream one night and then again the following night. In the dream, he saw Marilyn and me leading a young, wholesome little girl. He said we seemed to be at a restaurant.
He didn’t know what to make of it, but seeing it was repeated, he thought he should tell us. I told him that Paul had recently had a similar dream, the only difference (a minor one, yet with similarity) was that Paul saw us at a banquet, while Bob saw us at a restaurant. I also told him that seeing it was repeated, it signified that it was of God.
I thought this to be quite significant, seeing that both Paul and Bob had it. Were we going to have a little girl?
A young woman student came to our door selling books. I was given to speak things to her of the Lord. With credulity and dismay, she tearfully cried, “Then I’m not His?” She concluded by what I was saying that she wasn’t in a right relationship with God, as she had thought she was.
She was going to church in Calgary and assumed she was saved. She had been deceived by the counterfeit gospel being preached everywhere, which says, “Accept Jesus into your heart as your Savior, believe He came, and that’s it! You’re saved!” This watered-down salvation message has duped many. I believe I gave her the Scripture from Jeremiah for hope: “You shall seek Me and find Me, when you shall search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
In 1985, I wondered about publishing my poetry, so I decided to call the English department at the University of Lethbridge to get some advice. It was a mistake. The professor I spoke to was Martin Oordt. As you may tell, most, if not all, of my “poems” may not be strictly classified as poetry, not having the conventional form or elements. However, I saw my work as poetry in general, simply expressed in ways not normally spoken or written, yet in some artistic style, perhaps like mild abstract in art.
Calling it poetry, I was surprised to draw Martin’s immediate scorn. “This isn’t poetry!” he exclaimed. There was but a thin mask over his attitude, thin enough to see his contempt.
My response was, “Call it what you will. If I have the wrong terminology, fine. I don’t care. I don’t need to call it poetry. I just want to know if you think it has any publishing value and how I would go about publishing it.”
Because they were my first works, they were anything but an expression of conventional literary skill. However, God inspired the truths and some of the expressions. For that, there ought to be no apology.
Even so, is there no allowance for the “cheep” of a chick? Is there no beauty or validity in its sound, because it doesn’t crow like a rooster at sunrise, or squawk like a hen after laying an egg? I love the sound of cheeping chicks; don’t you?
Or is there no pleasure in the yelp of a pup just because it can’t bark like a full-grown mastiff? There! How’s that for waxing poetical? Martin was downright contemptuous. He could hardly contain himself. I suppose that, in order to keep up his appearance of scholarly status, he had to try to present some semblance of social grace, though it was hardly visible – certainly not poetic.
I hit a stone wall. He had no appreciation for the material, no tolerance for my “ignorance,” no respect of my humanity. I had struck on someone crass, someone who contemned the spiritual, someone proud and full of himself.
In years to follow, I would find his poetry in his magazine, Lethbridge Living. Call it smarting from his contempt and consequent resentment (I hope otherwise), insight into his person or whatever you will, but I can’t help but share the following with you. This poem was in the summer 1997 issue, on page 38.
I squint curious
to see how
the camera eyes both of you
in this intimate moment
focuses for all pupils to widen
wonder in your angles
of love as you Bombas
and you Minarda
spread petals rigid
while you both claim
in this age old transfer
of pollen and juice.
Then I put on my glasses.
Now this image is not
About either of you.
Blushing I lower my eyes.
I thought, “Okay, he calls this poetry; I’ll take a crack at it too.”
My crack (or wisecrack) at it:
I squirm delirious
how in the world
does the public stand
to view your focus
and your wonder
on anglo angles
while your pupils widen
wider than a wide lens
in love of you Pompous
sucking in delicately
as you perceive all
spreading petals loosely
while you claim
the shutter and spotlight
in this old practice
of poppycock and claptrap?
Then I come to my senses
This image really is
All about you.
How could I ask
Such a stupid question?
I blush, too.
Years down the road, we would again be exposed to this man’s grotesque, unapologetic contempt and arrogance; an amazing spectacle, considering that one with presumed intelligence, education, and social status should know enough to realize the consequences of such an attitude.
I had no particular desire to publish my works. However, for all those aspiring artists, writers, or whatever kind of beginner you may be, don’t let arrogance or contempt from “above” belittle your humble beginnings. The greatest in this world in many fields had to overcome the criticisms of those who thought so highly of themselves, filling so much of the head table, they couldn’t possibly imagine there to be any room for another. Take courage; persevere; never lose hope.
Brian Bickerton informed us that he was offered a real estate management position in Calgary. It might have been with Royal LePage. Somehow, I just didn’t feel like he qualified for it. I said to him, “I could be wrong, Brian, but I don’t think you’ll get the job.” He did get the job, and I believe he remained with it for a time.
When mentioning to him what I had expected, he was gracious about it. “You did qualify by saying you could be wrong,” he said. (He did know his business, didn’t he?)
“Christian” books, for the most part, are quite troublesome. Trying to go through them, looking for truth, is most often a case of rummaging through dumpsters to try to find a decent morsel of food or clothing. The greater amount of the content is useless, putrid, and even toxic. Back in 1976, the Lord instructed us to put away all books and concentrate on the Bible, which we did.
Occasionally, Delores would recommend a book to us, and we would read it. But Delores had a closet full of books, many of which only contributed to her darkness and confusion. I asked her to surrender them, which she did.
Among those books was one with a handwritten message in it. When I inquired about it, Delores told me it was a prophecy Lois had written out some time back. They had no idea why it was written or for whom. When I red it, I knew it was for me. While I don’t recall the words perfectly, here’s the gist:
“Behold, the time is coming when you will hear blasphemous things spoken about God. You will be tempted with fleshly allurements, but stay on the path that is hardest to endure, for you will know Me only on this path. Be prepared to speak the truth to the beasts, and to declare your position and power in the Lord Jesus Christ as the day draws near.”
These words would come to pass.
In the winter of ’84 -’85, while we lived at Bluefox Blvd in Lethbridge, I believe I was watching 101 Huntley Street or some other religious program. David Mainse and another religious TV personality, Ralph Rutledge (David’s brother-in-law), were competing with each other for public recognition and honor. It was obvious, and disgusting.
Later, I had a vision of a great and fearful roaring wall of fire (coming from the north, it seemed). It was a very high wall, a hundred, or hundreds, of meters high and very wide, so that nothing could pass over it or go around it. The roaring noise could be heard many miles away as it approached. It looked somewhat like a huge ocean breaker or tsunami coming to shore. It devoured everything in its path. I heard that all these works of men would be utterly destroyed. I also heard the words:
“Just as the false shall be exposed, so shall the true be made manifest. ”
Not long after, Rutledge was exposed and discredited because of immoral or illegal offenses of a sexual nature. He never returned to his so-called ministry. I knew those words would be fulfilled in many other and much greater and widespread ways – indeed the fire would cover the earth.
As Bob Gregson was visiting at Bluefox, I commented on how the Lord was protecting me and had done so in various situations. Curiously, he seemed offended and said, “You know what? I felt like driving you as hard as I could to see if He would protect you.” (I believe what Bob was really saying was, “I felt like hitting you as hard as I could just to teach you something. I don’t believe that crap!”)
While the thought occurred to me that he was possessed with a demon, and I was tempted to tell him to go for it, that God would protect me, I thought I might be tempting the Lord by so doing, so I said nothing. There was a spiritual enmity, a contempt for me in Bob. Little did I know how complete it was, but years later, I would find out.
It wasn’t until February of 1985 that we were led to visit Lois and the boys in their home in Stettler, about 60 miles away from the Molnars in Camrose. When we first visited there, I tried to talk to Howard. I saw that Lois was domineering and demanding, and I could sympathize with him.
I saw a casual family snapshot of them, and in it Lois had her arms around Howard’s neck from behind as he sat in a chair. I could see her spirit of control stifling him. She lacked patience, understanding, consideration, empathy, or any other good thing, it seemed. I could understand why Howard wouldn’t only have a hard time of it, but would rebel in desperation.
We advised Lois that she needed to look to herself as a cause of the trouble between them. On February 24th, in her abrupt manner, she demanded Howard’s attention and apologized to him for the way she had been! The apology went nowhere. In essence, it really wasn’t worth anything.
The writing seemed to be on the wall. There was no changing Lois, and in my talk with Howard, it was apparent he wasn’t interested in anything other than an unconditional compromise on Lois’ part to meet his demands and desires.
While I couldn’t blame Howard, the Lord was already showing me something else happening, above and beyond what appeared on the surface. As rough and crude and blameful as Lois was, she was being called to faith, in spite of herself, and Howard was not. Such a division could find no compromise or mending, any more than water and oil could mix.
Having tried to reconcile them and failing, I began to tend to the duty of ministering spiritually to Lois and her boys as the Lord gave me. The concentration was on the Kingdom of Heaven and the will of God, in law, principle, and truth.
Lois was warned that it wouldn’t be easy, and that she needed to face herself. God’s will for her was to repent, to change her ways and to learn of His way. She was emphatically informed that it wasn’t a matter of religion, but of reality, that God wasn’t interested in service and sacrifice, but in truth and obedience, every day, in all things. In this, there could be no compromise.
In June of 1985, the Lord gave me another poem: The Twice Dead.
(It’s bad enough to watch a dog vomit, but bad is bad when one sees the dog return to its vomit and lick it up again. I don’t know of a much more disgusting spectacle to witness.)
My mother contacted us, telling us Dad was in the hospital with his heart problem, quite ill, and that we should come to see him. At first, it didn’t sound that serious. It almost seemed that either she didn’t want to alarm us, which was likely the case, or she wasn’t that intent on, or hopeful of, our coming, which would be sort of strange, but that’s the feeling I had about it.
Regardless of our impressions and feelings, we went to prayer. I ended up writing three letters to Dad. In those letters, I specified my grievances to him; I expressed everything candidly. I also called on him to repent in those things, and not only those, but in all things necessary. It took three letters, each of which had a different stage or theme, and when done the third, I was settled that I had expressed all that was needed to be expressed, the way it was expressed.
(Those letters were written by hand with the only copy sent to Mom. I have no record of them.)
I believed that my mother was handling the mail, and I waited painfully for replies, so that I could make a decision to stay or go, but the replies were slow in coming. I thought, “If things are so serious with Dad, why is Mom apparently without a sense of urgency here?” I even wondered if she was withholding the mail from him.
As I write over two decades later, it occurs to me that she didn’t wish to disturb him, lest he should be overcome and die. Nevertheless, I earnestly believed that the truth expressed in my letters was Dad’s ticket to peace and reconciliation with God. I also believe that regardless of whether she shared the letters or not, the truth was spiritual, invisible to our senses, but influential nonetheless, even as prayers change things, and Dad would have what God ordained.
Mom wrote back once, I believe, saying that Dad accepted what I was saying, asking forgiveness, and just wanted to see me. I was torn. I wanted to go, yet I knew there was much more at stake than met the eye.
At that time, I had a vision wherein Dad and Mom were in an armored vehicle with tracks, like on a tank, and stuck in a bog. The bog was elevated above ground level, as a mound and not as a hole or pit. Marilyn and I were in another similar vehicle, hovering above them, and letting down a cable and hook to pull them up and out. We knew that if we were to go into the bog to tow them out, we would get stuck and perish with them.
In the three letters, I told Dad his sins against God and against me, hoping that he would repent. That was the letting down of the cable and hook from above. I knew that if we had gone to Dauphin to see him, I would have been overcome with sympathy, grief, and sorrow, and would have lost my soul. We would all have perished. I had denied the Lord back in 1977 in Dauphin in a similar way, and He had told me, “You have denied My Name.” I wasn’t about to repeat the error and perish with them.
One evening, Marilyn and I were in the bedroom, on our knees, praying concerning Dad and how we should respond. I saw the Lord stand up behind me, holding up His right hand, looking off into the distance, as if to say, “Enough!” It seemed He was protecting us from the enemy that was fighting us.
The next morning, Mom called, saying Dad had passed away. I don’t recall what I said to her on the phone, but shortly after hanging up, I burst out wailing aloud, such as I had never done before. It seemed like a great pent-up sadness was giving vent.
I also had questions of conscience. Had I done the right thing, not visiting him all these years, and not going to his bedside at this time? Was I a selfish, calloused, self-righteous, religious idiot? How could I refuse a father who was practically begging me to come to him, saying he was sorry for all he had done to me, asking my forgiveness? But somehow, I knew I couldn’t have done differently.
I then saw Dad’s face as he was entering the next world marveling. He discovered that I was the Lord’s, as I said I was, and that the things I had been saying to him were true after all. He wasn’t shocked or chagrined, but elated. Apparently, Dad was saved! Didn’t Mom say he had repented?
If we weren’t to go to him while he was alive, what would be the point of going to him when he was no longer there? As though there were some sort of message in it, they buried Dad on April 1st, my birthday. He was 68 and I was 39. I recalled the Scripture:
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6 KJV).
While I knew what happened was not the essential meaning or intent of the Scripture, I saw a parallel between my earthly father and the old man, my own carnal person. Both had had a mighty tug on my spirit. Both were an obstacle to walking with the Lord by faith. Parting with both meant a death to me in real terms, though not physically, yet manifest physically in various ways. Even in the world, wasn’t a father referred to as the “old man”? My “old man” was dead.
Not because of any of these thoughts, but well beyond my thinking, I experienced a release. Perhaps I could describe it as though another stage of a rocket was fired in flight, discarding a former shell, boosting the satellite more powerfully into space. I marveled that at such a time of sorrow, I would experience the breaking of some kind of power over me, which had been there all my life, though I hadn’t been aware of it.
Genesis 11:29-32 LITV
(29) And Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai. And the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.
(30) And Sarai was barren; there was no child to her.
(31) And Terah took his son Abram, and Lot, Haran’s son, his grandson and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife. And he went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan. And they came to Haran and lived there.
(32) And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.
Genesis 12:1-5 LITV
(1) And the LORD had said to Abram, Go out from your land and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.
(2) And I will make of you a great nation. And I will bless you and make your name great; and you will be a blessing.
(3) And I will bless those who bless you, and curse the one despising you. And in you all families of the earth shall be blessed.
(4) And Abram went out, even as the LORD had spoken to him. And Lot went with him. And Abram was a son of seventy five years when he went out from Haran.
(5) And Abram took his wife Sarai, and his brother’s son, Lot, and all their substance that they had gained, and the persons they had gotten in Haran. And they went out to go into the land of Canaan. And they came into the land of Canaan.
There have been numerous parallels in my walk to what took place here with Abram.
The Lord spoke to Abram, directing him to go to the land He would show him. Terah set out with Abram, but they stopped in Haran, and Terah died there. Abram was required to go alone, leaving behind his father’s house, but Lot, his nephew, went with him.
God spoke to me in Bernalillo, New Mexico in the spring of 1984, saying we’d be returning to Lethbridge and there He would begin the work He had called me to (I didn’t realize at the time it was to be my life’s work). A year after the Lord had spoken, my father died and was buried on my birthdate. I experienced a surprising spiritual release I had no idea I needed.
(I wonder whether Abram experienced this kind of release when his father, Terah, died.)
It’s interesting to note that while Terah purposed in the flesh to go to Canaan, he never made it. After his father’s death, Abraham was led by God and by faith arrived at that same destination (Hebrews 11:8). This is similar to what took place to the children of Abraham in the wilderness. The first generation was not allowed in the land, and the second entered.
Abram still had some of “his father’s house” in Lot, his nephew, his father’s brother’s son, which caused much grief in the days, years, and generations following (from Lot came some of Israel’s enemies, the Moabites and the Ammonites – Genesis 19:30-38). Six months after my father died, my brother, Archie, arrived on our doorstep seeking to join with us. As much as I cared for my brother as did Abraham for his nephew, the 11 years Archie and his family remained with us were full of trouble.
One more interesting item of note: Abram and I both had infertile wives. Marilyn was unable to bear until the Lord gave us a promised child in the seventh year after my father died. How wonderful is that?