On The Other End Of The Phone My Mother Said Dad Died


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The God Connection

MV Conversation–Future Time


“So what happened?” said MV. “How did you go from a third person to a first person experience?”

“Like I’ve already said,” I replied, “it was a Gestalt thing. In one instant I was thinking about the X/Y form, and in the next, I was inside the X/Y form. From inside, the little history upon which I hang the name David Heyl became a first person God experience. Obviously, that was an emotional event for me, a shocking emotional event!”

“After you left the library,” responded MV, “what did you do?”

“Leaving the library was not an option for me, at least at first,” I replied, “I was in too much shock. Instead, after I had given myself some time to think, some time to feel, I knew I had to talk to somebody, and the only person I could turn to was Mary, the Professor I was doing my independent study with. On the phone, her husband told me she was out of town. That was disappointing news. I was exploding inside, and I had nobody to talk to. Then I remembered a book I had read once, and in that book was a description of a situation that was very similar to what I was feeling. I went to the shelf and removed the book. As soon as I found the part I was looking for, I began to read:

“She brought me my hat, and I knew I was going out into the warm sunshine. This thought, if a wordless sensation may be called a thought, made me hop and skip with pleasure.

“We walked down the path to the well house, attracted by the fragrance of the honeysuckle with which it was covered. Some one was drawing water and my teacher placed my hand under the spout. As the cool stream gushed over my hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motion of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten—a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that w-a-t-e-r meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that in time could be swept away.

“I left the well-house eager to learn. Everything had a name, and each name gave birth to a new thought. As we returned to the house every object which I touched seemed to quiver with life. That was because I saw everything with the strange, new sight that had come to me” (Helen Keller, 1936, p. 23).

Reading through that book passage made me feel better. It was Helen Keller’s description of her first experience with language. She was, like me, alone with her revelation, and she remained that way until, in her autobiographical account of her life, she was able to put that experience into words, something that I am still unable to do.”

“So, when you did get to talk with her, your Professor, did she get it?” said MV.

“I don’t really know,” I said, “I’m sure she picked up on my strong feelings, but that was probably about it. As I found out later, she had other concerns. All her energy was focused on the affair she was having with the professor in the next office. Before our class had even ended, she had filed for divorce from her husband. Before the year was out, she had totally left the university. But, in all fairness, I guess you could say that at that time I had preoccupying concerns also.”

“What could possibly be more preoccupying than God?” replied MV.

“Death,” I said. “While I was writing that final paper, I had a premonition that I was going to die. I hurried the paper I was writing because I knew time was running out. That was a very strange feeling.”

“A misplaced one, though,” said MV, “or am I missing something?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I replied. “Of course I’m still here.”

“So, what’s the point? Nothing happened,” MV responded.

“That’s not quite true, something did happen, and my father and I shared in it.”

“Okay, I’ll bite, shared in what?”

“My father and I weren’t very close,” I replied. “Sure we loved each other, but when it came to sharing common interests, we were worlds apart. It’s not absolutely accurate, but in a word, I was the ‘black sheep’ of the family. My fear of impending death, however, helped me overcome the negative feelings, so I went home to say goodbye.”

“Did you have any physical reason to think you were dying?”

“None,” I replied, “I was in perfect health, but that didn’t matter. I knew I would be dead soon.”

“So, what happened?”

“Nothing happened,” I said. “I took Thursday and Friday off work, and went home. But on my last day, Sunday, it was just my father and I alone in the room talking; he told me he admired what I had done. He was referring to my bicycle trips. Although I am not sure how we got around to it, we ended up telling each other that we loved one another.

“I had done what I had set out to do, and I felt really good about it. It was a beautiful day outside, so I decided to go back to Mt. Pleasant early. Back home, I hopped on my bicycle and took off for Coldwater Lake, a thirty-mile ride. Shortly into the trip, my hand started going numb. That numbness was not unusual for me, but when it moved up my arm, and beads of sweat broke out on my forehead, I knew something was wrong. When the left side of my torso got real hot, I wanted to cut the trip short and head home. But, after a time, all those symptoms disappeared, so I just kept pedaling. After returning home, just as I walked through the door, the telephone rang. It was my mother. My father had died. Apparently, while my mother was at work, he had sat down in his favorite chair, fell asleep, and never woke up. The doctor said it was a heart attack.”


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