I grew-up in Long Island, NY – about half way out on the Island (not the Hamptons, for sure!). When I was about 2 years’ old, my Father left my Mother and Sister (an Irish-twin 11 mos. older than me). He was an alcoholic and, during one of his fits, he decided to pack-up our entire house and leave without us. My Mother returned home to a rented house with everything gone (including the man that she loved) while holding two toddlers.
Being a devout Woman of Faith, my Mom leaned-into the Lord, her Family, and Friends and worked countless hours as a secretary. My new Dad, an electrician in the union in NYC, starting dating my Mom when I was four (4). And, via their love, hard-work, and Faith, we started clawing our way (together as a Family) out of poverty. That was until my Dad was laid-off by the union for eighteen (18) months. I can still remember my Parents not eating, so that my Sister and I could. I also still remember the cold nights in our rented home where we would all huddle in a front room with a space heater and blankets hanging-over the doorways to keep the cold out (and the heat in).
It was during my Dad’s lay-off that I met Jesus personally. My Sister and I went to bed (brushing past the doorway blanket to the cold beyond). We got under several layers of blankets still clothed in our pants, winter jackets, etc. and laid back watching our breath rise-up through the cold air towards the ceiling. Later that night, I couldn’t breath and was sweating from some kind of heat. I then found myself walking through the clouds of Heaven (up to about my knees). I looked in the distance about 20-30 yards away and saw Jesus clothed in white talking with two other men (who were also clothed in white). After a few minutes, Jesus walked over to me and said my name and then, “It’s not your time. Go back”. I woke up in my bed under the blankets and pillows full of sweat. I had suffocated myself and Jesus had given me a second chance.
Ever since then, I have been on a Journey to be more like Jesus and to Love like He does. Our Family continued to work hard and my Parents would eventually have enough money to move us off of Long Island to the Hudson Valley. Where we lived on Long Island was not so nice back then. Most of the Kids were doing drugs, drinking, etc. in Junior High School, but I was Blessed to have seen both Jesus and what the evils of substance abuse can do. I still don’t drink alcohol because of it. Well, Upstate NY was the polar opposite of where I grew-up on Long Island. I could now get good grades in school without getting beat-up by other Kids for it. I was “free” to soar in Him.
Eventually, I went to college (the first to do so in my Family) and then moved out of State to work as an Engineer. It was while working as an Engineer that I met the Love of my life – another Engineer! My Wife grew-up frugally, as well – living in a mostly farming, rural area. I used to pray to God to just let me stay here on earth until I was 30 years’ old, but He has seen to it to keep me around a bit longer than that. Who would have ever thought that a 7 year old Boy from Long Island who died would still be around with a beautiful Wife and three (3) Children? Who would have thought that He would have Blessed me with the only Dream that I’ve ever had in my life – to be a Dad and have a Family. But, that’s what God does – He’s always Blessing folks. We consider ourselves to be very Blessed.
On a final note, my original Father passed away when I was 15, so I never saw him again. He did leave me one last Gift however; I learned recently that I had two (2) other Sisters who very much were looking for me. One of them found me and last Summer, she and her Husband and Son came to meet me and my Family while staying at our Home. It was Awesome – but, I wasn’t prepared for one story that she would share with me. You see, my Sister had died on a surgery table years prior and she, too, has met Jesus. And, True to Form as He is, He told her the same exact thing that he told me when I was seven (7); starting with her name, He then said, “It’s not your time. Go back”.
Anyway, I hope and Pray for nothing, but the Best for everyone in this world. I’ve seen the next World and have met our God. It’s ALL very real. The God of Infinite Love and Grace continues to Bless us all and keep us in His Good Graces. I look forward to going back Home one day soon with you all!!!