I remember dying once by suffocation. I can't remember if it was by drowning or if someone tried to kill me. I don't remember details of any of my past lives other than what presents to me in dreams. Yet I do know that I met Abraham Lincoln and Tye Cobb too at some point, in previous lives that is.
While my last life may not have been the most tragic, it was the most vivid. Things that I did in that life occur to me over and over in dreams, especially dreams I had as a kid, perhaps because when I was a kid I was closer to that life. Now my brain (or soul if you wish) is full of memories from this life that clutter up the memory process.
Now I don't know if I don't remember past lives because I don't want to or because I can't. Between lives were we given a vaccine to prevent us from remembering, or is it, as I wrote in the last paragraph, because we simply forget; that the current life takes precedence and past lives don't matter so much.
Or is it an accumulation of things that happen in life that matter. Or does none of it matter, as clesiastes wrote in the Bible. To sum up his writings, the sum will also rise regardless tomorrow regardless of what happens to us. And, therefore, what is the point of our existence?
So I'm not sure what the meaning is of my transfer from one life to another. Am I the only one this is happening to, or is this the way with everyone. I suppose the quest will be ongoing, and may only be answered in some future life.
And when does it end? When do we end this life and move on to the next. I think I obtained my best theory on this during the funeral of my father in law. It was a Lutheran funeral, not a Catholic as have most of the funerals I've attended in this life -- now for 40 years, and the family was quite outgoing, so many of the six brother in-laws got up and gave eulogies about their father.
Todd was six feet tall with scruffy beard and mustache and looked like a giant up there on the stage. He also gave the presentation of a sage. He was the taciturn member of the family, the one who didn't talk much, and other than his height, he gave the countenance of a wise Mark Twain. He was young, only 27, and yet his hair and beard were white as snow.
Yet he got up to the podium, up in front of the congregation of 30 or so friends and relatives of the man who dropped dead of a supposed heart attack, and he pretty much broke down to the point he couldn't speak. So his brother Mathew came to his side, gave him a hug, and guided him back to his seat in the front row.
Even though I barely knew the dead man, as this event took place only a few months my marriage to Christie, my feelings about him was that he was a cool guy, and so were his kids. I especially hit it off with Todd, the one who broke down. The only one I wasn't to familiar with was Matthew, because he came up all the way to Shoreline from Detroit. And here he was, trying to be the leader; trying to hold up amid his brother's breakdown. Yet holding up was not something many in the audience did, as one could hear crying and sniffling from the audience, as though it were angels speaking to us all. The few babies in the back of the church squeaked in innocent happiness.
So Charlie got up next and said, "I'll go first." He paused while he composed himself, and said, "Dad gave me a book a couple months ago called, "Being with the Lord." He and I spent many times together talking about Jesus, and how the Bible teaches independence and personal accountability and, well..." he paused a moment to compose himself, "capitalism. The Bible teaches capitalism.
"And then," he continued, "Dad came to me the other day and gave me this book, and he said, 'This book helped me put things in perspective. I think it will help you too.' And I read the book, and it was as though giving me this book dad was kind of putting everything in perspective for me.
"The book talked about how the Bible writes about Heaven as a continuation of this life. In Heaven God needs all sorts of people to do all sorts of work for him. In Heaven we have an ideal world. In Heaven there is a true Euphoria. In Heaven, and only Heaven, will there be peace. And this peace, this euphoia, no matter how hard we try, is not possible on this earth. And that is why the Bible preaches personal accountability and responsibility, and in a way preaches capitalism."
While he spoke there was complete silence. Not even the babies in the back made a sound.
"And it is by this book that, I think, I am able to find solace in dad's death. I think, I hope, that by dad dying, according to this book anyway, God has decided he needs a carpenter in Heaven more so than we need a carpenter here in Shoreline. And that we must not be sad by him leaving this world, we must not be angry, we must not be selfish for our love of him and our need for him too, and let him go to be with the Lord. Let him go onto the next world."
And he stepped away from the podium. And while he did so the silence was broken by sniffles of sadness, and guffaws. And even my own eyes filled with tears. In otherwise sad day, that was the presentation I remembered. To this day I can remember almost word per word what Mathew said about his father, and see the bright look in his eyes as he spoke. Eyes that saw hope and a future in an otherwise bleak moment.
And now as I look back on that moment, that speech or eulogy, I can't help but think he had obtained a message in a way, or the author of that book (Bob Malter) had a vision from God as I have had in my life. Yet when you have a vision, you can't just talk about it like you could in Biblical times. You are treated as a nut and a loon if you do. And so we have to write about our experience in other ways.
So here I am, trying to make sense of my experiences, and I think back on what Matthew said. And I think back on the message in that book. And I can't help but think Malter knew something. That he had experiences as I had, jumping from life to life. And he had come up with an explanation for it all; an explanation I've been looking for for many years.
So at the end of my last life I think I was in Vietnam. I don't know for sure, although that would be my best guess. I can still see the van as it travels alongside a late or stream. Or was it some military vehicle. I'm not sure. In this life I'm not much acquainted with cars and stuff. I can see the boats in the marina, and the overcast sky as though I was right there. I can see the green marine vehicle traveling down the path. And I can hear the whistle coming from the sky. I can se this all as though it were a slow motion movie. And an eerie feeling rushes through the flow of my blood as though it were injected with fear, or the wisdom that you knew you were going to die.
And then there was an explosion, and I see shrapnel buzzing in every direction amid a bust of smoke and flames. It's neat that even while I was inside the vehicle my soul was above the vehicle looking down upon the event as though I were an angel of God. I could see parts of the vehicle, and bodies. I floated down and tried to find someone.
"Bobby! Bobby!" I shrieked frantically. I saw the remains of people lying on the ground outside the wreckage of the vehicle, and as I passed over each body my heart (at least that's the best way of describing it, because I was a soul at this point) sank. It sank because I knew the person who had died, and because I was disappointed that it wasn't who I was looking for. Of course that someone I was looking for I was praying was still alive. Although I had a sinking feeling he (or she) wasn't.
So each time I passed over a body I had that sinking feeling. Four or five bodies lay outside the vehicle, and then as I set to enter the vehicle, my soul is ripped away, and I awake. I turn over and see my wife lying on her back with the pink quilt pulled all the way up so it was covering her neck. Her face so innocent and pure had a faint smile on it. It was almost as though she knew I was safe now. Yet she didn't know. She had no idea.
Another thought that occurs to me often is that there were four people outside the vehicle, and neither of them was Bob. The funny thing is, I have five brothers, and my oldest brother is Bob, who disappeared before I was born. He was five when the kidnapping occurred. Dad told me the story once, and never mentioned it before or since. Now dad is retired and living at a gated retirement facility near Orlando, Florida, where he golfs every day for a living and is quite socially active and very happy. He lives with mom, by the way, in case you were wondering.
So I'll tell you more about dad later, because this story has a lot to do with him. Although, at the present time, I'm not sure whether he knows about my life to life experiences or not. Perhaps he has had a similar experience, or perhaps he has wisdom greater than what I can imagine. Perhaps the reason he talks so little about Bobby is that he is still stunned by the experience. Or perhaps he blames himself. Or, even more eerie, perhaps there is more to the story of Bobby's disappearance than what he told me. Were there other people involved? Or aliens?
As it goes, as dad told me the story, Bobby was swimming in a pool at...
Yet I have another experience I would like to tell you about.