My dad gave me two books in January 1971: Jesus of Nazareth a book that he got from the Red Cross when he was a Prisoner of War in Germany 1945 and ThePower of Positive Thinking. This was my dad’s way of helping me to move forward. I also got a letter from him that encouraged me a great deal to leave my old life behind and live a new life in Christ. For whatever reason, I kept that one letter postmarked 18 January 1971:
“ … I was very depressed one day when I heard another story about your escapades. It seems that the news is pretty widespread, maybe even to the point that your parents are the only ones who didn’t know. But I have a philosophy, different from most people that says, ‘O.K. that happened yesterday, but what am I going to do today?’ Your letter sounded good – the whole family read it and was encouraged. I know it’s going to be hard; harder than even you think, but you’ve made a step in the right direction which took courage – loosening the ties with the bad influence. You must continue to work at it, and work hard. Substitutes won’t be easy to find, although it sounds like you’ve found one already. I think you can do it if you continue to try. There are four people here who desperately want you to. Love, Dad”
Dad wrote: “But above all, to thine own self be true” – Shakespeare’s Hamlet
“The way to happiness:
Keep your heart free from hate,
Your mind free from worry.
Live simply, expect little, and give much.
Fill your life with love.
Forget self, think of others.
Do as you would be done by.”
– Norman Vincent Peale from Power of Positive Thinking
“Friendship implies a heart at leisure from itself” – Norman Vincent Peale
“Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas…” – Ben Franklin
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” – Lao Tzu
After the girl on campus had come to me a second time and pretty well convinced me that God was calling me and inviting me to go to the Revival Meeting at a small church outside of Greenville, I decided I wanted to go; but why not ask a girl to join me; like a date to a Revival Meeting. We had a Record Bar store in town that sold LPs and I asked a girl who worked there if she would like join me and go to a Revival Meeting and to my surprise, she said “Yes, that would be great!” She was always smiling with a very happy disposition and she was a little older than me. So we went to the Altar Call together and spent a great deal of time together that spring of 1971. As it turned out, she was a spiritual seeker and was reading the Discoursesby Meher Baba. I also found out about House Church meetings run by a group of Christian elders designed after the Watchman Nee book: The Normal Christian Church Life. To this day, I sing the Christian songs that I learned during those years. I was impressed that House Church had no need for a church building or a paid pastor. Each elder took a turn with the meeting on different evenings at different houses. I always felt welcome. Each month, there was a meeting where everyone came together for a larger meeting in a giant circle with singing and praising God. This was the first time I truly experienced “singing in the Spirit” as all the voices seemed beyond anything I had ever heard before, almost like angels had joined in…there was also singing in tongues; I was blown away. My grades went from D’s and C’s to all A’s and B’s over the next 2 years. My first employer said that he looked at my college grades and he could tell that some dramatic change had taken place as everything went to Honor Roll and Dean’s List. It was definitely God in me as I never picked up a book in early grades and high school and I suddenly began reading everything that I could find related to God and religions and spirituality. I remember reading every Herman Hesse book, all the J.D. Salinger books, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones and Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind. We even drove to the Edgar Cayce Center bookstore to find books in Virginia Beach. I also read the Tao Teh Ching and the Bhagavad Gita. I enjoyed the Aquarian Age Bookstore on Charles Street in Baltimore when I came home to visit my parents.
“Don’t worry, Be happy”, “Wanting is a source of perpetual restlessness and happiness is a dropping of desires”, “Words are unnecessary”,
“Finding God is done within one’s own self” and
“Things that are real are given and received in silence” – Meher Baba