HOME, SWEET HEAVEN INSTALLMENT #5

Chapter Five

“Hello, Earl,” Wisdom said gently, Her beautiful face radiant in the bedroom of the late Jimmy’s and Millie’s motor home. “I know it’s a bit dismal here, but believe Me, this will work out to Our good and to yours as well.”

“How did our country get into such a mess?” he groused.

“You know full well how it did. In the years after 2008 there were many legitimate protests over how the government was being transformed. Even before that there was widespread concern over how the security issue following the 9-11 disaster was making inroads into the liberty you’d come to take for granted. These issues were real, but they were very far from the most basic one – your having allowed the removal of Jesus Christ from your national consciousness, causing Us to politely step back from interfering in your political affairs. The other issues were peripheral to that and had no chance of being solved while the main one was ignored.”

“I guess we’re kind of unique in that regard, having so much given to us and turning away so thoroughly from You – the Source of all that goodness.”

“Your thought is well founded, but you’re far from unique.   We’re proud of your knowledge of Scripture, Earl, but it’s far from complete. One area you’re weak in is the history of the Israelites in Samuel, Chronicles and Kings. America is following the pattern of Israel rather closely, from the glory of the kingdoms of David and his son Solomon to the rapid descent into apathy toward God and political ruin that ended in their captivity and destruction. It wasn’t all downhill at first; there were several ups and down, but, like in your America, the trend was generally downward. I’ll quote a typical passage from 2 Kings 3, which is part of an all-too-familiar litany:

“Now Jehoram, the son of Ahab, began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and reigned twelve years. And he wrought evil in the sight of the Lord, but not like his father and like his mother; for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless, he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin; he departed not from them.”

 

“I hear you, Wisdom,” Earl responded. “Collectively, we’ve dug our own grave by casting You out of our lives. But on a personal level, isn’t Joyce and me being here kind of double jeopardy? Even our human laws prohibit hanging twice.”

She laughed, a rich, full-throated burst of colorful music. “Don’t make it any worse than it is. If you maintain your faith, I’ll help you get over the negatives. With the right attitude you can view it as an adventure, even a thrilling one.”

“Okay,” he said reluctantly, then brightened as he started to visualize their situation as under the control and supervision of their loving God.

“Good,” She replied, picking up on his change of attitude. “Now, down to business. As you can see, there’s not much for you here. In fact, you need to get somewhere in a hurry, and it’s too far away to make the journey by ground transportation. You need to go by air.”

“Oh, right,” he shot back. “Like we’ll breeze right through the officials at the airport, even assuming that we’d have the means to pay for the trip.”

“What did I tell you about faith? And who said anything about a commercial flight? I’m going to leave it up to you to do the detailed planning and execution – as a much-needed exercise in faith – but I’ll give you a hint. Not far from here are some very wealthy homes. Some of those homes have little airfields on their grounds, and many of those private airfields have little airplanes on them. You might want to “borrow” one and take it for a ride. That is, if you can remember your pilot training.”

“What about my missing arm?”

“What about it? I’ll say it one more time. Have faith. She softened the rebuke with a loving smile and gave him a warm kiss on the forehead and turned away to depart.

“Please don’t leave yet,” he pleaded. “I have a question, Wisdom. One that’s been nagging me for some time, even before this latest dustup. Why is it that we have gotten so intimately involved with You instead of with Jesus?”

“Oh, but you are involved with Jesus, more intimately than with Me. Look around you. Everything you see is the revealed will of God, is it not? That is Jesus – the Living Revealed Will of God. When you read the Bible, every word you take into your heart is the Word of God, also the Living Revealed Will. When you see Me, you interact with the Mother of that Revealed Will, the Holy Spirit who Jesus promised to you after His work on the cross and His subsequent resurrection. Everything that happens in our interaction is Me saying lovingly to you – ‘This is my Son’s world. Everything in it belongs to Him and everything you do with Me happens in His name and to His glory.’”

“I get that. But still, we’re supposed to be His Bride in the spiritual domain. How do we get to the point of loving Him to the extent that is implied by this marriage?”

“Everything that you do to His glory gives you much more than your personal nobility. It gives you insight into His noble nature as well, as you’re acting on His behalf in those matters. When you assume your future role within the spiritual Church, you’ll be amazed at the depth of intimate love those acts will endow you with.”

“Thanks, Wisdom. I’m not sure I fully grasp the implication of what You said, but I trust You that this is so.”

.

“It’s time to move,” Earl said to his wife as he arose from the bed. Joyce agreed with alacrity. Being in their friends’ home while they lay dead outside was extremely depressing. Besides, the corpses were beginning to ripen. While the stink was still bearable, it wouldn’t be before the day was over. Joyce took some cans of food out of the cupboard and was about to open one, but Earl stopped her. “Not here,” he said. “I couldn’t manage to eat, knowing what’s right out the door.” Joyce agreed and went into the bathroom to take care of a few morning necessities while he retrieved a small backpack from a closet and started loading it up with food and water. When she came back out he went in and shaved. They hit the road when he finished.

“What do you have in mind?” Joyce asked as they headed northwestward up Bandera Road, a highway that connected San Antonio with the towns of Helotes, Bandera and, eventually Kerrville in the midst of the Texas Hill Country. “Let’s stop for a bit and grab a bite to eat,” he said, eyeing a bench in front of a rural store. They had moved outside the killing zone and away from the high-density housing closer in to the city. The fresh air delighted Joyce and she enthusiastically reached into Earl’s backpack to extract a can. “Got a knife on you?” she asked him.

Earl fumbled in his pocket in increasing desperation until his fingers finally found a pocket knife. “Reminds me of an old Gary Larson cartoon in a Far Side book. The view was a cutaway one showing a couple inside an underground room filled with cans while the air above was littered with mushroom clouds. The enraged wife is yelling at her husband “How many times did I tell you, Harold? How many times? Make sure the bomb shelter has a can opener!” Joyce snickered at the joke as she punched into the can. She turned serious. “Amazing that we find ourselves in this situation.”

“Buck up, my lovely,” he replied. “We know now that we have a better home awaiting us, so whatever happens is kind of a don’t-care. Think of it more as an adventure.”

“It seems like every minute that passes I forget another aspect of it. I wish that I could remember it more. It was a beautiful place, but I can picture just a couple of things. It’s frustrating.”

“It’s a blessing. If we remembered it more, we’d be spending all our time yearning to go back. We still have a job to do, and it must be pretty important.”

“You didn’t tell me what your plans are,” she said, chewing on the last of the canned stew.

“Well, we’re heading over to the town of Helotes. From what I remember when we came down this way, it’s an upscale place. People here are rural gentry – big homes, lots of acreage. They probably have important jobs in San Antonio. I’ll be willing to bet that they do a lot of commuting, and that some of them have private airstrips.”

“Can you fly? I mean something besides a hang glider? I’ve never flown with you in a real airplane.”

“A hang glider is a real airplane,” he sniffed. “The realest of them all, as I see it.”

“There, there,” she said, patting his head in a mockery of his offended tone of voice.

“Yes, I can fly a real airplane. At least I could. I was certified as a flight instructor, in fact. With commercial, instrument and multi-engine ratings.”

“Oh. Now I feel that I’ve missed out on something in our marriage. Why didn’t you ever take me on a flight?”

“Joyce, that was a long time ago. It’s been years since I last flew in something besides my glider. I would have had to go back and get a medical certificate, while my hearing is much worse than it was back then, and I’d have to redo ground school, and then I’d have to get some familiarization air time with an instructor, all on a limited budget. There were just other things that seemed more important at the time. And time itself, unfortunately, just slipped by. Anyway, if things work out, you’ll be flying with me very soon.”

“Great. I’m looking forward to it. I think. Maybe”

[to be continued]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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