"The most important of life's battles is the one we fight daily in the silent chambers of the soul."

Monday, October 30, 2006

I Was Holding His Hands

This post was written the night before Autumn's Birthday. This is her first B-day without her Papaw. But she knows who he is with and that he's watching her.

My father had been in ICU for about a week. His oxygen levels were hard to stabilize and his CO2 levels were becoming dangerously high. The human body can only handle so much pure oxygen. The CO2 is the by product and if it can't all be expelled it builds up in the body like a poison. So unknown to us the doctor had decided to put dad on a respirator. But not the kind you have seen with the tube. This one had a mask with leather straps to the face. It looked like a medieval torture device. It shoved air into the lungs and then sucked it back out. Like inflating and deflating a tire and quite torturous. We come into the room to discover my Dad strapped into this device. He was in alot of pain from the look on his face. The air was blasting his face as it went into his lungs. And then a sucking sound like a gigantic vacuum cleaner as it pulled it back out. It was suppose to be breathing for him. But his oxygen levels were dropping all the way to 20%. He was very conscious and not sedated a bit. He was coherent and could speak. He knew what was going on around him. But strangely he seemed not to be here once his oxygen started dropping. He was getting as close to near death as you could get without dying. He sit up there in his bed with the look on his face of someone here but not here. He held his arms straight out and palms down like his hands was in someone else's.
This continued on for 3 or 4 hours of heart wrenching moments. My mother was very distraught, and we did our best to comfort her while trying to keep it together ourselves. It was painful to watch. He had always been her rock to lean on. Now he was leaning on The Rock of Ages.
The time, finally, came to take him off the respirator. The lung doctor informed that they felt so sorry for him .That they came to the decision to rotate him off of the machine every couple of hours. This would give him some relieve from the pain. The device would not extend his life any longer we were informed cause of his failing health. Dad knew this and let the doctor know he didn't want back on the machine anymore. He had to whisper this to him for he was exhausted. He wanted to be able to talk and communicate with us to the end. He had so much on his heart he wanted to say. He wanted to get it all out. In doing so he let us have insight into what he was seeing.
He asked for Brother Fate, our pastor and friend of the family, to come talk to him. There was something very important that had to be said. The pastor ship was rotated among the elders so the burden didn't fall on one person. My dad had instilled the pastor ship onto him when he could no longer handle the duties. But as an elder he was there as an advisor. Bro. Fate came into the room and, he pulled himself up very weakly. He was a very independent man and a fighter. He found his strength in his belief. He whispered into Bro. Fate's ear something so low I could scarce hear anything over all the equipment. Then he collapsed back into bed with a big smile on his face. He had a peaceful look and a sort of reassurance. We got Bro. Fate to come out into the hall to let dad rest and tell us what he had said. He just smirked like he had heard something unbelievable. "What did he say?" we all inquired. "He said they had tried to smother him to death with the respirator. But he was outside his body. He was in heaven. It was a wonderful and amazing place. He was holding our Master's hands while he was going through this but God had sent him back for some important reason," he relayed to us with much joy. I didn't what to say. This was all so hard to watch and witness.
My father was a man just like any of us. But every time he got sidetracked or found himself in some unfamiliar territory his mother's faith she taught him brought him back. He believed in holding on to Him when the dark hours came. My faith I wish was as strong. Lord help my lack of faith. As I write these things I go back and seem more confused as I struggle with my soul searching of who I am and who I am suppose to be.
by
Lance Gargus
Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Listen, It's the Quiet Time." (The blessing of the Raindrop)



Listen, listen, listen, to the rain drops fall, it's the quiet time!
as the elements weave their magic,
the soul is indeed soothed, Seeing nature at its work,
it's the quiet time!
How do the tiny rain drops stay aloft?
til a time assigned, to float gently down,
making tiny rivulets upon the windows,
Seeing in awe this simple, but wonderful phenomenon,
causing wonder,
it's the quiet time.
Hear their soft conversation, known, understood by these tiny messengers,
it's their purpose, to bless the hearing of those who listen,
to whisper of things,
delivered for all to hear, yet, jealously guarded, to insure the purity,
of informative content, healing the mind,
with peace, those of
the "quiet time", feeling the subtle impulse
to be at rest, with the elemental forces, Deity sent,
gratefully accepted, beneficially believed,
all other emotions, subdued, It's the quiet time!
The rose raises its royal head,-- to see
from whence comes this velvet dressing, so refreshing,
the pure liquid, bathing, cleansing,
polishing the natural beauty of, the wealth of the earth's fruits,
leaving a glow of health's kiss,
it's quiet time!
The sun peeks out upon this misty splendor, briefly,
then hastily retreats,
as it determines the time is not yet, to,
dry the eyes of nature's products of beauty,
awed by the sight of,
a sister element at it's best, in a grandiose treatment of the ornate,
majestic fruits of the joint efforts, of the Supreme,
the orderly fashion of the subordinate,
life sustaining,
movements of those forces,
that bless, improve, caress
yet move on,
so as to make way for the others in order
to insure quality in creative treatment-
it's quiet time!
all disorders, silenced by the positive appearance of,
that which, brings order, out of chaos,
by the element that patiently probes the forces of clamor and din,
decisively supplant them with,
the quiet time.
The tremendous, sometimes unnoticed, invaluable tiny rain drop,
So helpless, seemingly insignificant, seen as errant,
yet whose destiny, to cure the earth of many ills,
whose advent, not prevented by
man's so called technology, advance as it maybe,
powerless to prevent, if so inclined,
the flight,
the mission,
the accomplishment
the order
the pattern
The pre-ordained arrangement
of the life giving quality, of
the inconspicuous, "rain drop",
of such, is fashioned our
"Quiet time." Listen- Listen- Listen
by
James Gargus

Friday, October 27, 2006

Butterflies

My daughter, Autumn, like all children I imagine loved to catch fireflies at dusk and butterflies during the day. The butterflies is what amazed me the most. Especially, my father, who would watch her from the front porch swing. It was on those beautiful spring days when it was just right not too hot that her hunt began. She stalked those butterflies like a tiger approaching its prey. She would sneak ever so slightly and catch not just one but a handful. Never to harm them but she longed to marvel at their beauty. Each one was unique just like every person is unique to her. She would catch a handful, and they would climb all over her tickling her with their small legs. She would let them go with a throwing out of her arms and then with palms up releasing them from her hands. My dad was always intrigued at how gentle she was with them. She always caught them by ever so slightly picking them up by the wings. You ever tried catching butterflies by hand with no net? It's hard, at least, it is to me. But this entertained dad for hours on end. He was the happiest I have ever seen watching his granddaughter do this.

The time came at the end of his life while he was in the ICU and the children couldn't go back there to see him. Eventually, he was sent to ICU step down when they could do no more for him. But the time he was there in ICU he longed to see them. So I had the idea to go outside his window, it was on the ground level, and take the kids. He could look out, but they couldn't look in. They played outside his window. He looked on and to his surprise Autumn saw a butterfly. She started chasing and snuck up on it. Catching it by the wings as she gently let it go. Holding it in her hands long enough to take it to the window to show my dad. He clapped for her seeing the excitement on her face. Not being able to see back at him cause the window was tinted, she blew him a kiss and released the butterfly. Her little 1 year old brother mimicked her and blew a kiss. He watched that butterfly continue to rise higher and higher until it was out of sight.

The time came when his condition worsened and he could no longer speak so he wrote things out that last week. I'll share the things he wrote and saw later. The oxygen mask was so cold it had frozen to his face. But he always tried to smile. He was writing about how he loved seeing his grandchildren. He mimicked Autumn how she would sneak, grab a hand full of butterflies, and release them. He showed with his hands how she released them like someone releasing doves and he smiled. I couldn't take it so I left the room.

With tears welling in my eyes I went down the hallway so he wouldn't see me crying. I sit down by a window surrounding what looked like a courtyard on top of the building. We were 5 stories up and as I sit in the hallway looking out the window. I noticed there was nothing in the courtyard anymore. At one time there had been plants, trees, flowers, and other things. But all that was left was cobblestone steps. It was barren. The rest of the hallways 4 stories above us had their windows turned to see this once alive landscape so far up on top of the building. The hallways surrounded the courtyard with what looked like no way for anything to get into it. I looked up and saw sitting outside the window where I was, a monarch butterfly. Nothing special about it. Except it was 5 stories up in a barren courtyard on top of a building with no flowers or any reason to be there I could phantom. But there it was right beside me through the window where I sit in my despair. Why are you here I wondered? And then it occurred to me. My father was delighting in the simplest of memories of a little girl catching butterflies. I, on the other hand, was feeling sorry for a loss that hadn't happened yet. I had little time left so I needed to make the most of it with my dad. I needed to enjoy the simple things in life. My dad always took time to enjoy what really mattered. At the end of his life, in the transition to the next, he knew what really mattered. I thanked God for the time I had with my father, and I got up to go back to be with him.

The moment I stood up that butterfly started flying away. Ever rising in a fluttering pattern it went touching each window every story up. Birds sit all around the top story but not one offered to bother that lone butterfly. It flew until it went across the top of the building. I just watched in awe. The sun started to shine across the top of the building after it left. It's beams lighting where the butterfly had just been.

Was this the Holy Spirit taking that form to comfort me being sent here by prayers for me or just simply a well placed butterfly? I am not sure. I like to believe the first myself. The butterfly was a symbol to the first Christians representing The Resurrection. I like the thought of that. All in all a person has to walk this journey called life with others. Some seem good to us and others bad but we're all traveling the same road. Along that road we are given signs if we just look for them of a fellow traveler who will be your guide.
by
Lance Gargus

Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Dad, You Mean More Than Words Can Say




"I hope to be a dad just like you. Though no fathers are perfect except our heavenly father, you are special in your children's eyes. I've made mistakes along the way. But in the end you have been there for me to find my way back. I hope I have been there to help you find your way when you got lost. Maybe we helped each other with a kind word, a pat on the back, or a shoulder to lean on. You've always been there for me maybe not always physically. But the thought of you as my dad and that you would return was comfort enough. I am your youngest and last child so I see differently than the rest. I try to keep you as you are and not let you age or change. But alas, I cannot. You have had two lives as a father and I understand how that tears at you. Obligations cut short and new ones started in the latter years of your life. I can't recapture any of that for you. But I can give you a granddaughter who loves you tremendously like her dad does. She is a fresh, new life. I hope she carries a little bit of you inside her as I do. I can't be sure she will have clear memories of you. But I will have her spend time with you and someday when the memories aren't so clear I will tell her of you. This is the most important gift I can give you. The gift is the legacy of living on as all of my and my wife's family lives on in my daughter. This is given with all the love God put in my heart."
Love
Lance, Gina, and Autumn


This was written by me in a birthday card to my dad in 1999. It was right after the birth of my first child, Autumn. My last child, Connor, hadn't been born yet. My daughter turned out was old enough to have memories of my dad. She was six years old.
But he didn't live long enough to see her kindergarten graduation. It was only two months away before he passed. She felt he was there, anyways.


Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Touched By An Angel

My father was seeing angels in his room before his passing. He would see a shadow of a man in the doorway. Looking very intently he questioned,"Who was that over there in that corner? He was walking around and disappeared suddenly." This continued on with seeing more as time passed.

Now going back to earlier stories that I was not sure what to make of this and other events. I want to believe, but like doubting Thomas I had to have proof. My proof came in the most mysterious of ways. I was sitting in the chapel of the hospital. It was late one night, and the news about my dad's condition wasn't improving. In fact, it was worsening. I had been fasting going without food and sleep. Keeping a constant vigil and praying incessantly as we all do that our believers in that situation. My sister was with my dad while my mother and brother were with me in the chapel. My mother only agreed to leave his side for the first time in 2 months. Then, only briefly, to hurry back. She left this one time only to talk to The Great Comforter. We were sitting on the back pew. No one was in there for it was late that night. We had already written a prayer request down in a book on a prayer stand in the back. The sorrow and pain written in the request in that book was hard to read. Tears had already welled up in us. None of us could handle much more and we let it all go. We sobbed and leaned on each other.

As we sit there praying I looked up. To my surprise I saw a lady sitting on the front pew. No one had been there before I thought. Oh, well, I must have overlooked her but what was she doing I wondered. She was praying or reading her Bible with all her might. I couldn't tell which cause I couldn't hear her. But whatever she was doing she was putting all herself into it by the look on her face. I kept watching only to see what appeared to be heat waves rising from the ground next to her. I thought my eyes were playing tricks for it was cold as could be in there. The waves kept waving until they took the shape of a human. It was liking looking at a negative. All black with the lines of the face and body but the rest filled in with white. It was touching this lady on the shoulder with its fingers outstretched. It looked straight at her concentrating with what looked like all its might. There was a form of something folded up on its back.

I decided right there I was going to have a nervous breakdown for now I was seeing things. The stress, fasting, and lack of sleep was catching up with me. This thought crossed my mind, and it looked right at me like it had read my mind. The look was one of why do you question what you don't understand. After that it was suddenly gone.

I was shocked and told my mom and brother. "I am going over there to tell that lady," I said. I promptly got up and went over there. I sat behind her. She turned around and had the biggest smile on her face. Her face seemed to glow. "Ma'am I'm not crazy and you don't know me but I was praying for my dad right back there behind you. I saw something touching you that I don't know what it was," I said expecting some kind of scoff or God touches us all story. She continued with a smile that seemed to ever grow and said,"I know." "How?" I asked. "It was an angel and it was touching me on the shoulder right here," she replied with all the happiness in the world. She pointed to the exact spot it had touched her. I had not told her where it had touched her. I was blown away. "I'll pray for your father," she said and turned back around. She started speaking what sounded like some ancient language as she continued her prayers. We left to go back to my father's side.

I am not sure what happened that day for certain. But I was given a glimpse of something mysterious. I guess I had my doubts as Thomas did and I needed some reassurance. I can't explain but I will never forget the look of the face of that thing I come to believe was an angel just like she said. My soul searching continues on myself as I put these memories to writing.
by
Lance Gargus


Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Voices

The voice of the judge, detailing the responsibility of the jury; the voice of the jury foreman, guilty as charged. The sound of sentence being imposed by a judge, who has too long sat there and has either been calloused or discouraged, withdrawn. The cry of the sinner repenting, remorseful and sad.The barren guessing of the preacher to the good and bad: take sides, marshall your troops, the battle lines are drawn.

Then there's the soft voice of my beloved wife as I trudge in the door,"Welcome home darling, I missed you and love you, it's good you're here." The boys home from school, with a casual,"Hi Dad, love ya," flittering like two shadows, gone like two tears.

The apologetic voice of the foreman, as he drones,"I have to let you go, I'm sorry, things are bad, you know! Reduction in force, so we're told!" The voice of the interviewer in the unemployment office,"Employers, length of service, each one, reason for leaving, salary you draw, the one you require, or ask," he says and then,"We have no openings!" What they're saying- you're too old!

The dreaded sympathetic voice of the physician. As he intones to unwilling despairing ears,"I've done all I can; I'm terribly sorry, I wish I could have done more."

The bereaved ones, whose "heart rending wails," rolls over and through the heart and ears, as your heart breaks for them, over and over.
by
James Gargus

These voices are forever coming to the ears of an Almighty God from the earth. My dad had insight into the suffering and problems of others.

Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Devotion

For one whole month my mother stayed by my father's side in the hospital in Memphis.She kept the vigil by his bedside. Day and night without fail she would not leave even to go get something to eat. We would go bring her something to eat, but at times when he wouldn't eat nor would she. This was a time when I watched her shine the most. Like my sister, Bonita, said she had never seen such devotion before. My mother shaved, washed, feed , and held his hand to the end of his life. He took his last breath with her by his side. He looked up at her one day and said,"Lou, you are so good to me." She looked back at him and replied,"I have been beside you for 38 years and I'll continue to be by your side." It was like this until he passed,and it seemed some how part of her left when he did. She had blessed assurance,even from him, that she would see him again one day with our Lord, but it was still hard.

Then one night, several months later, she was sleeping to be awaken by a sudden light. She awakened to find someone touching her shoulder just like he always did when she was troubled. She opened her eyes very slowly only to see him staring at her. He had the most wonderful light around him. It was a shock to her. She jumped out of bed to her feet. The pain of a broke foot in a cast, she had recently hurt, shot through her leg. She knew that she was awake from the pain. He spoke and said," I see that your having a hard time without me." He moved back a little bit. "Jim, is that you?" she said. "I had to go. I didn't want to leave you, but I'll always be with you." He moved back toward the bathroom and slowly disappeared. "Don't go," she pleaded. But he was gone. She cried for awhile longing for him as a widow does. She came and told me the story. Just one of many stories as I continue my soul searching of myself.
by
Lance Gargus

Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Gracious Heavenly Father

Gracious Heavenly Father,
Our petitions and thanks are now offered for thy Divine approval; we pray that they maybe accepted according to thy will and wisdom.

Please, forgive our sins and mistakes as we forgive our fellow man.

May Divine direction guide us in our word and thoughts as we seek to be humble and receptive to the guidance of thy Holy Spirit for which we pray tonite. May truth and light be with us as we speak and as we hear.

In the name of Christ we pray,
Amen

A prayer by my James Gargus

Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

We Need Not Get Discouraged


We need not get discouraged by what life's conditions can and will,
to beat upon it,
that's God's way of testing your sincerity,
integrity,
commitment,
and perseverance.
by
James Gargus

A thought by my father.

Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Time of Drouth


Drouth is another word for drought.This is about a dream or vision my father had written down. Make of it what you will as true or not. Here it is in his words:

A Revelation of God to Me 1997 in the Spring on or About April 28-97

I was lying in bed early one morning, I thought I was awake;(I usually awaken, lye there for a few minutes, offer a prayer and leisurely arise.) but at once I found myself peering out my front door across my lawn, which at this time appears to be scorched and completely brown, with heat waves dancing across it, and everything was deathly quiet and there seemed to be no oxygen to breathe, or not enough to be sufficient.

It seemed so real that I told my wife of the experience, and I mentally noted it for further thought and prayer.

And at this date in September 1999, I saw the unusual phenomenon in total reality.

The drouth that has struck our land for some 4 months has painted the complete picture in reality, just as I visualized it that morning.

I'm still mystified by this; I don't know why the Lord conveyed this to me , but he must have had some purpose.

It may be a precursor, or pre-warning to prepare for a disaster as struck Egypt at the time of Joseph's being sold into slavery.

Whether to warn people and be be called a loony or to wait and see.
by
James Gargus

Those are his words not mine. I don't know if God gave him a revelation of his own death how he would die or if it was something to come upon the earth at a later date. He died with COPD(Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) in May of 2006. He died of this lung disease but did not smoke. It was damage to his lungs done on the railroad as a switch man by opening up chemical tanker cars. He had 40 year old scar tissue that forced him in the end to be on 100% pure oxygen.I,digress, though that I believe that the burnt, brown ground he referred to was the same color of his lung pieces he coughed up. Next,he said it was burnt just like his lung doctor had said about the scar tissue in his lungs being chemical burns. Also, he had no oxygen and very little to breathe just like his dream. Maybe, instead, as he suggested it is something we all as a people may one day face. You can choose to believe it if you want to or not. I don't have an answer either. I can only as his son speculate and guess.

Key Search Words:
Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Friday, October 06, 2006

Daddy, I Had The Nicest Dream...

"Daddy, I had the nicest dream," she said coming out of a nap that lasted through church until we started home,"I saw Jesus in the sky coming out a sky door."
"What is a sky door?" I asked while heading home from church.
She promptly replied,"A big, bright door made of light in the sky." Looking at me like it should have been obvious.
"What was he doing in the door?"I inquired.
" He was just standing there,"she said," with all kinds of different people standing in the air and with something over the top of them. There was a wall of some kind protecting them all around."
"Could you hear anything?" I wondered and asked.
"No, nothing but the people were celebrating. They were having a party like a big dinner was going on. There was a big table for everyone to sit at and the light of Jesus was all around him."
"What did Jesus look like?"I asked.
"His hair and beard were white, but they weren't hair they were light," she said with amazement.
"Were you there?" I asked pursuing a little more with interest.
"Oh, yes, and my whole family was there!" she promptly exclaimed.
"Why were we celebrating?" I wondered.
"For what was going on below," she said in a small voice.
"And that was?" I asked listening to the detail of her dream while trying to keep my eyes on the road.
"The birds," she shouted.
"The birds, huh?" I said a little confused.
"Were they pretty white doves?" I smugly asked expecting some kind of answer like that.
She, suddenly, got a very serious look on her face. "No. They were black birds and black as could be," she said.
I got goose bumps all over me and felt a bewilderment at her answer from a six year old.
"What were the birds doing?" I asked.
She replied" Eating something that was food for the birds, and they were eating so much they looked like they going to pop."
I pulled the van over. I looked at her and looked at my family including my mom, brother, wife, and son.
"How could she know this much detail about revelation, the marriage supper of the lamb, Christ's return, the defeat of the anti-Christ at Armageddon, and the birds of the air eating their fill of the enemies of God at their defeat?" I asked, "She's never been told this by anyone, seen it on TV, heard it preached, learned it in school, or been told by me."
"I just learned it simply in my dream," she said was her answer.
I was dumbfounded by her insight and still am at times. When the world seems darkest, sometimes a little child will take you by the hand ,and lead you where you need to go not where you want to go.
by
Lance Gargus
Key Search Words:
Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

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