There was nothing to be done about getting discharged after 2 years at sea. A big disappointment for Jack and his division Chief. The Chief petty officer cried when Jack was led away in cuffs. After all, the next step for Jack was the same one. Brown shoe navy, separate mess decks. Promotion with perks.
Years went by and then there was a phone call from Maryland. It was Chuck’s wife telling Jack that Chuck was in hospice with cancer and would like a visit. Long way, expensive flights and rental car. There wasn’t any money to do so when a good friend showed up at Jack and Greta’s home with an envelope with 10 hundred dollars. “Go visit him Jack” and the ex Navy chief turned and walked away. Unbelievable gift. An astonishing gift.
Jack flew to D.C., and during the landing he saw all the lights up and down the coast and thought, it says in the Bible that God knows every hair on every head, impossible, that’s a lot of hair. Immediately Jack heard the Lord say, “That’s no problem Jack, it’s a finite number” Oh, I see.
Chuck did not want to talk about Jack’s new faith, just watch movies together and talk old times. Jack talked about Jesus anyway and when the week was up, it was time to go. Chuck could still walk and went outside when Jack was leaving. Jack said: “When it’s my time to ‘cross the bar’ (seaman’s term) I want to see you there” Big splashes of water were on Chucks jacket and it wasn’t raining.
About a month later, Jack got a call from Chuck and he asked Jack; “What are the words?” There are no ‘words’ Chuck, Jack answered. Let’s just talk to Jesus about it and ask Him to forgive all of the things we did together and apart. The young men talked a long time and then Chuck asked Jack; “is that it?” ‘Pretty much’ said Jack and they closed their talk well. A month later Chuck’s wife called Jack and told him that Chuck wanted to be baptized. That was very good news. It meant a commitment and a desire to surrender completely to a heart change. A desire to make things right. A desire to honor Jack somehow and enter into the unknown which everyone who has ever lived longs for. Meaning and reason to our existence. Since Socrates said these things of all men.
Less than a month later, Jack was deep into listening to a sermon at a church nearby. Suddenly, there was Chuck before him, pointing over his shoulder saying, “It’s better than you said!” Jack’s eyes flew open and he began weeping and and saying “It’s Chuck…I just saw him..leave the earth” People around began asking if Jack was OK and so forth. Upon returning home, the answering machine had a message and it was from Chuck’s wife. She simply said; “Chuck passed away this morning” Jack called back and thanked her for the call and then told her about the brief visit Chuck made before leaving at that same time. It seemed to be very reassuring for her and everyone that knows Jack or Chuck. A gift from our Lord to Jack. Why? Jack needed to experience that; we can only imagine Chuck’s Joy.
Therefore, another experience for Jack to use when explaining why he feels the presence of Jesus so strongly. It’s called having a convincing witness, but of course it’s only Jacks to relate to others and it takes a bit of trust to accept Jack’s truth. It’s OK, says Jack. I didn’t believe in Pompeii until I had actually been there. Jack knows there are many such stories akin to his. Perhaps folks attribute theirs to ‘good luck’ or ‘good Karma’, ‘The luck of the draw’ or Jack’s favorite; It was an amazing coincidence!
That’s OK too says Jack. Seeds are planted and the sower cannot tend them all. Stay alert readers, God is presenting Himself to you more than we can perceive. The cell door of our despair does open, and the glory cannot be described by us. There indeed is an answer to every philosopher and seeker of truth. The living Truth Himself, Jesus. He beckons us. “Taste and see that the truth is found in Me”. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator