One year ago, life was good. Very good. Or so I thought. An
award-winning Creative Director for a renowned global entertainment
company, I was esteemed by my peers in the film and television
industry. My job paid handsomely. I drove nice cars, lived in a
beautiful house in the Connecticut countryside and dined wherever I
wished. And I was fortunate to be blessed with a small circle of true
Then I quit my job and walked away from it all. Just like that. Without
warning, and with very serious doubts, I turned my back on the world I
had created and knew so well. Was I scared? Absolutely. Did I have a
clue as to what I wanted to do? Absolutely not! What I knew for certain
was that, like many of you, I was suffering from the soul sickness of
We live in an age where there is premium placed on the material. Our
culture emphasizes youth, appearances and possessions. Our house is
never big enough; we can always use more money and a new car. Each
morning we awake, leap out of bed, and frantically jump right back into
the never-ending rat race. Our minds still spin like mice in a wheel
when we sleep. If, that is, we can truly sleep. What we lack today is a
profound belief system of enduring value like generations past.
I had reached a point in my life where this world of pretense and superficiality lost its appeal. I felt empty. My life was lacking purpose. I no longer saw the world through the eyes of a child, awed and inspired by the simple wonders of life itself. My soul needed to embark on a journey of discovery. My spirit longed for adventure. I was determined to find the true joy of life.When I walked out of my office for the last time, it seemed the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders. Immediately I felt lighter, energized, liberated. I sold my house and most of my belongings, packed what few mementoes I decided to keep in my Jeep, and headed west. I didn’t have an agenda. There were no grand plans or roadmaps for this next phase of my life. Eschewing logic and reason, ignoring the advice of friends and the compassion of family who thought I was merely “burnt out”, I began a spiritual journey using trust as my guide and intuition my navigational system.
Journeying through old western towns and exploring the majestic wilderness of this great country, I was in search of depth and meaning. I knew there was more to life, some profound purpose as to our existence. I spent a week in solitude in The Badlands of South Dakota, hiking by day, sleeping out under a canopy of brilliant white stars by night, completely removed from the world of cars, cell phones and satellite TV. Alone with earth, sleeping amidst the coyotes and the bison and the prairie dogs, I sought to come to grips with my fears of imaginary demons lurking in the bushes and the shadows of the night. Far removed from the cacophony of modern technology, I hoped to experience an epiphany, or at least make a deep spiritual connection with all that is real.
With a mind still calcified from years of societal conditioning, deep insight at first eluded me. It wasn’t until I stopped searching, stopped trying so hard to find, that the divine force of Life, the Universal Source itself, found me.The eternal wisdom I discovered - or perhaps more appropriately “rediscovered” - from a timeless place long ago, but not so far away, is set forth in this fictional tale. It all unfolds one magical night in a small-town bar in the middle of nowhere. It’s a rather modest place. Or so it seems... Until the gods show up.
EXCERPT – CHAPTER ONE
What was so scared about this land? What hallowed secrets did she
reveal to the Native Americans, but not to me? I momentarily withdrew
from the game and the ambience of this strange yet comforting bar and
once again ruminated on life’s great mysteries. And I was
frustrated with my lack of knowing.
Suddenly, the music brought me right back to the present moment,
as if someone in the bar had screamed my name, snapping me out of a
trance. I looked around. The jukebox bellowed the melodic song,
“Personal Jesus.” And then amidst the crowd I beheld an
I coughed up beer in shock and disbelief. My eyes widened and my
heart nearly stopped! Wiping my mouth with eyes wide open, I stared
with amazement at the odd fellow sitting halfway down the bar dressed
in a beige cloak with blue tassels and a white linen tunic
underneath. He looked like the very embodiment Jesus Christ! And no
one else seemed to notice.
“Your own, personal Jesus,” crooned the voice from the
jukebox. “Someone to hear your prayers, someone who’s there.”
He sat amidst a glow of a bright white light, as if he was an
actor starring on a Broadway stage. I had the strange sensation that
the light emanated from within.
“Feeling unknown and you’re all alone, flesh and bone, by
the telephone,” the song decreed. I couldn’t believe what I
“Pick up the receiver; I’ll make you a believer.”
There was no denying the fact that he had an immutable presence. I
continued to stare, trying to ascertain who or what I was really
seeing. Was it an apparition? A strange trick of the light? Some
mislaid soul performing a magician’s tricks of illusions? If you
are indeed Jesus Christ, acknowledge me right now! At that precise
moment, he turned toward me, made deep, purposeful contact with
penetrating eyes, and winked.
I left my seat and walked quickly to the men’s room. This can’t
be happening! But, hard as I tried to rationalize the seeming
apparition I just beheld, something deep inside told me an
extraordinary event was going on here. I just knew it.
I splashed cold water on my face, wiped it dry, and looked
directly in the mirror. Everything seemed OK with my appearance.
There was color in my skin, too much perhaps. My eyes weren’t
dilated. My tongue wasn’t swollen. There were no visible signs of
heat exhaustion or dehydration, and I knew I wasn’t drunk. Pinching
myself for good measure, pretending to make sure I wasn’t having a
dream, I anxiously decided to return to my seat at the bar. As I
regained the courage to leave the bathroom, the hair was raised on
the back of my neck and goose bumps were spawning on my arms.
When I returned he was gone. So was the bright light under which
he sat. The song was still playing on the jukebox. It must be an
extended play. I breathed a large sigh of relief. Perhaps it really
was just an illusion, a trick of the eye. I sat down and resumed my
place near the corner of the bar next to Budd. He gave an innocent
nod of his head and smiled. Feeling calm once again, I took a healthy
swig of ale.
“Is this seat taken?” asked a voice to my immediate left.
I turned and instantly my eyes widened and my breathing stopped
and my heart tried to leap out of my throat.
It was He!
And now He was sitting directly beside me!
I dropped my glass. The beer spilled all over his garment. He
didn’t flinch, nor get the least bit annoyed. Surprisingly, the
glass did not break. Instead, it bounced off the floor, and, like a
rubber ball, bounced back high into His waiting clutch. Gently, He
handed it to me. I looked at the stain on His clothes. As I watched
in awe, the beer on His garment dried within seconds and the stain
For what seemed like an eternity I couldn’t articulate a single
word, much less a thought. All the while He just looked at me with
calm countenance and smiled. Oddly, I was no longer frightened. Now,
I was bewildered, deeply in awe, trying to grasp the truth before me,
trying to make sense of what was happening. Finally, my voice found
its courage and I was able to speak.
“I am,” He quickly answered.
“You are who?” I asked with a voice still trembling. I didn’t
want to appear foolish and invoke the name Jesus, lest He was a mere
mortal and thought I was crazy.
“I am that I am.”
“The actual Son of…”
“We are all sons and daughters of God,” He kindly interjected.
In the very marrow of my being I knew it was indeed He, Jesus of
Galilee, the Holy Messiah, the one who died on the cross for the sins
of mankind. He was tall and lean with long brown hair and eyes of
yellow-green. His skin was weathered and bronzed. His nose was bigger
and His lips fuller than most modern depictions of Christ. I smiled
faintly at the random notion that He bore no resemblance to Jim
Caveziel, the actor who played Jesus in Mel Gibson’s film, The
Passion of The Christ.
“That was a lousy job of casting,” He quipped, obviously
reading my thoughts.
Around His being was a discernible blue-white glow, as if, like a
human firefly, He radiated light. His bright aura seemed to stretch
and envelop me as well, bathing my spirit with deep, soothing
feelings of calm and warmth, filling me with a great sense of peace.
I looked at His hands. The center of His palms bore the scars
where metal spikes had once bound him to the wooden cross.
“Kind of ironic, isn’t it?” He said.
“What’s that?” I asked not knowing, my mind still mesmerized
and awed by His presence.
“Do you know what I did for a living?”
“You were a preacher,” I answered.
“Before that. I didn’t start my ministry until I was thirty.”
“Were you a shepherd?”
“Good guess. Most prophets were. But not me.”
“What did you do?”
“I was a carpenter. And I died nailed to a wooden cross. Do you
see the irony?”
“Now I do.”
“Now you’ll never forget it.”
I resumed my examination of His physical appearance. Atop His head
was the proverbial crown of thorns. Scabs of dried blood were present
at the points of impact where the thorns penetrated His scalp. Why
was He wearing it now? Perhaps it was just for effect.
“It is for effect,” He replied, again reading my thoughts. “I
tend to be a little dramatic from time to time. It always gets one’s
He removed the crown from His head and flipped it like a Frisbee
toward the front door. It whistled as it flew through the air, gently
landing on the hat rack. No one in the bar seemed to notice what He
just did. Not even the stranger beside me, who continued to stare
admiringly at his beer. It seemed I was the only one who was aware of
this divine presence.
“How can this be possible?” I asked.
“Anything is possible.”
“As I’ve preached many times, with the power of God nothing’s
impossible. Or to use a twenty-first century colloquialism,
‘Impossible Is Nothing!’ That is the new Addidas slogan, is it
not? Quite a clever twist on the old adage.”
“Why are you here?” I asked.
The smile vanished from His face. He looked down, then away. His
shoulders dropped and His head hung low. The whitish glow that
emanated from His being momentarily diminished, as if someone had
lowered the fader switch on a lamp. He appeared distraught. Then He
let out a deep sigh and raised His head to speak.
“I am saddened...”