EARLY SUMMER, 2013
This was simply too awesome to really comprehend. I just couldn't believe that it was finally me instead of someone else as it usually was. It had always been stories of good fortune happening to everyone else. The kind you see on TV, videos on the internet and every form of social media. However, you’re never the one experiencing it, right? I mean, what could a person even compare this to? Maybe getting invited to a Hollywood after party by a long lost friend? Maybe winning the lottery at your lowest financial point? It was just so out-of-this-world that I didn't even think this could actually happen to a person.
It had taken such a long time to understand that God's mercy wasn't dependent on doing good works. It was according to the faith that I had, enough to drag my butt to see my Christian friends, The Peters Family on the west end of Prince Edward Island, Canada. They had a Celtic Christian revival show every summer at their PEI residence when they weren't on tour in the U.S. or teaching Bible study classes.
A friend of mine, Shelly Robson (but sometimes Annie MacDonald if Shelly was busy) would take me out to see their show a few times each summer (since I didn't have my own car). We'd see their show for free since we had known Nathan Peters for the last nine years. Nathan was the kind of guy who was fairly busy but would randomly show up out of the blue every couple of years to hang out. Nine years and this was the first time I started going to their place for fellowship. I mean, it wasn't just a residence, it was also a tiny little school with a detached venue for summer concerts. It was a real treat to lounge around there place.
I loved their show but unfortunately, the second last tune of the evening would remind me of a very unsettling time in my life. The tune was created with a blue-to-red-to-white lighting effect to help the audience imagine a death and resurrection in Christ. It was designed to be an example of what it might be like to die and then wake in the presence of Christ. I couldn't help the memory flashbacks, though. As much as I tried to imagine each time they played this death and resurrection tune, I just couldn't help it, it sounded just like the music from the funeral. Before the crash, going to visit the Peters was a grueling task for me since I knew we'd be watching their show and that tune would be played, once again. It was like October 9th, 1999 was about to happen all over again.
I hadn't had the 'jump for joy-praise the Lord' kind of joy since 1998 when I had my run-in at the park, and at that, it only lasted one year before the crash, and that was it. After that... I was different. I wasn't fully depressed, but I felt dark, angry and sensitive about a lot of things. I was no longer the fun-loving teenager I had been.
Most of the time, I was terrified to ride in anyone's vehicles, even with my own parents. I wouldn't have thought I should be so freaked out since my dad was licensed to drive a tractor-trailer. I was a terrible back seat driver, and I insisted that not one person knew what they were doing behind the wheel, even those with spotless records. I'd point out things that seemed so obvious like, "Hey, watch the curb would you?! You were coming too close! For crying out loud! Learn how to drive would you!? Go back to driving school!" (Not that I had my license, and I was a professional).
Outbursts of rage and irrational thinking became the daily norm for me, but in hindsight, in reality, I don't think we were ever that close to the curb. It wasn’t just driving experiences either, anytime I was involved in romantic relationships, things really took its toll. I couldn't trust even the most trustworthy women.
It's not as though they would make things seem suspicious or do anything out of the ordinary, it was all in my head. I'd call her at any hour of the day or night just to see if she was doing okay and if she was still alive (if I wasn't asking if she was okay, I was certainly coming across as a stalker). I had become incredibly paranoid, and I started to believe that anything could erupt into death and destruction at any given moment. I thought, if that kind of crash could happen, then anything could happen. No one was safe!
Destroying relationships was normal for me. I just started to believe I just wasn't good at it, like maybe relationships are for some people and not for others. In hindsight, it's strange that no one mentioned anything about the six-year gap from the crash until I conjured up the nerve to get my driver's license.
The lawyer said in his statement on my behalf of the lawsuit towards the funeral company that "his mental anguish should dissipate within two years." By the time, I had gotten my license. It had been seven years since the accident and nothing inside me had changed with regards to the trauma. I thought, "Pfff... two years. What did they know, they weren't there! They didn't see it!"
However, I was required to get help for my distress to aid the lawyer in the suit on my behalf so he could document as much as possible, but I hadn't mentioned anything at all to the counselor. I just couldn't bring myself to talk about it. When I had my appointment with the counselor, all I remember telling her was all about my big dreams and all my ambitions, trying anything to avoid the topic. I hadn't said one single thing about the crash. This was the first sign I knew I couldn't even bring it up. There was just no chance I could have even dared myself to go there, not for anyone, not even the dog. I was determined to bury this memory like a soldier to his enemy.
My underlying distress was a lot worse than I ever made it out to be. I wanted to be tough, at least, come across as a hard-hitter, like my shoulders were broader than they actually were. When I got the letter from the counselor to pass on to the lawyer, I had opened it only to read the first sentence, "What Jonathan had told me is insufficient to your work." So I just tore it up and threw it in the garbage. I figured, it's not like there wasn't a case, the lawyer would get along just fine without it.
THE CRASH, OCT 9th, 1999
It was about 10 am when my three brothers and I and my father had gotten dressed up in black suits. My mother was there also, dressed in traditional dark clothes. As I glanced out the living room window, the clouds were a heavy grey. I didn’t know we were expecting rain. The clouds had given me a sinking feeling about everything. I just didn't want to go, I wanted to stay home and watch TV. I might have just been nervous since it was the first time in my life I had ever attended a funeral. Of course, my mother reminded me, "You can't just stay home, it's your grandfather's funeral. You have to pay your respects."
That was true. I knew that out of common sense, but when you're 17, and you live at home, whether you want to or not, you have no choice, so off we went, out to the little white country church that my grandparents had attended most of their lives. It was about 12 miles outside of town. However, Charlottetown wasn't really a town, but a very small city, it was just large enough to make people think that 12 miles out was out in the middle of nowhere.
Even though there were a lot of people there, the service was quiet (as it probably should've been). After the priest had given the eulogy, the church choir had started singing. Between hymns, the lead choir vocalist would sing a solo, and I just couldn't look away for a second, she was simply far too beautiful for me not to stare while she performed. Her singing was angelic and elegant. Her innocence shined through her talent. Her beauty made me think, "Hey, this isn't so bad after all." Her beauty certainly took the edge off.
Now I can't remember if my mother told me I was supposed to carry a big candle on the way out to the hearse or be a pallbearer, either way, I ended up not doing anything except walking out with everyone else. It was about 11:30 am when we were all making our way out of the church. The clouds had darkened even more. The hearse was parked at the end of the walkway, and there was a large crowd standing around the vehicle. Some in front of it and some on either side.
I thought to myself, "Strange that they didn't just load up the hearse, send him down the road to the graveyard, and why is everyone crowding the front of the vehicle? That's not safe."
As I stood about four yards from the rear of the hearse, the driver started up the vehicle. A massive roar came from the engine which instantly made me think that something was desperately wrong. The hearse first moved a few inches, then suddenly, it jumped from a barely unnoticeable position to full speed through the crowd of my brothers, cousins and relatives and family friends who were standing in front of the hearse, whipping across the road to the corner where a bunch of other cars were parked, crashing into and destroying, at least, six or seven vehicles.
Everyone screamed hysterically for the driver to stop! With the sound of the shrill cries from the women and the distressed pleading from the men, the collisions of steel against steel and shattering glass turned my concerned mind into a complete state of shock. The only one I had focused on was my brother Cody being flung like a rag doll over the engine bonnet and landing onto the back of his head. I covered my mouth in complete horror. "What!? Did this really just happen!? I knew I had a bad feeling about this!"
After a couple of seconds, my eyes quickly scanned the area to get an idea of what just happened. I then noticed my brother Cody get up off the ground. I hadn't really noticed my oldest brother Joey grab my cousin Janet and pull her out of the way because when I saw Cody get hit, I was suddenly overcome with tunnel-vision. It wasn’t until later that Joey had told me about Janet.
The cute young lady from the choir, the one I had focused on, had come running out of the church in tears upon seeing the chaos. I felt so bad for her that this horrifying event could take her innocence and make-up and turn it into a battlefield of emotional distress. Even if it was just for her, my heart was breaking into a billion pieces.
I ran over to where my brother Cody was. The back of his neck gushed a bright red stream of blood, soaking the collar of his white shirt at the edge of his black dress coat. Cody was taken to the hospital overnight and was treated. He didn't remember much, but he did make a full recovery.
I didn't know at the time, but there had been at least five off-duty nurses there as well, so we were blessed to have had people who knew exactly what to do before the paramedics arrived.
My cousin Alex got hit too, but I didn't see it, she ended up with a minor concussion but also made a quick recovery.
An older gentleman I had never met, Clifford, was hit front on. He had suffered some traumatic head injuries, but also made a full recovery. Clifford had received a standing ovation at the church a year later for his survival.
The last victim, John, a senior (a family friend, though I had never met him either) had been trying to get out of the way of the hearse when it took off full speed in his direction. He was hit front on and thrown into the pile of soon-to-be-destroyed vehicles. I remember seeing him laying partially in the ditch after the accident. His face was drenched in blood.
Death in the ditch? It reminded me of something unsettling that I had once seen when I was about 12 years old, but I couldn't remember exactly what it was. Thankfully, however, it wasn't his final place of departure. I can't remember if he had been conscious or not, but his eyes were still open. Unfortunately, John had passed away in the hospital shortly thereafter.
I had later learned that if the hearse had gone to the left instead, my brother Kyle and his pregnant wife would have been struck. Thankfully it wasn't any worse than it was.
As paramedics cleaned up the scene, I remember my grandmother saying, "You couldn't bury old Reggie if you tried." I gave a two-second light chuckle but quickly looked away trying desperately to hold back my tears. Comedy was some people's way of dealing with stress, and it was mine too, for the most part, but this was a little much. Grandma must have been frantic to lighten the mood. At least, she tried.
It wasn't long after that we found out the hearse had been uninspected for over four months. The brakes were in poor condition, and the left front brake line had ruptured as the carburetor was in need of servicing. The engine's idle speed was three times higher than it should have been, thus causing the accelerator to stick. We learned that it wasn't on purpose, it wasn't the driver's fault either, but the responsibility of the Funeral Company. There was nothing the driver could have done.
We eventually got my grandfather's casket to the burial site (I don't know how they managed, but they did). At this point, things couldn't have been more terrifyingly spooky. I had felt like I been living a Stephen King novel.
At the graveyard, as they lowered the casket into the earth, it finally started to rain, just as I thought it would. I didn't have an umbrella, and my white dress shirt was beginning to dampen on my shoulders. I knew it wasn't a good time to complain, so I just stood there as the shiver of shock and cold rain sent chills down my spine.
It was about noon at this point but felt like early evening. The clouds were dark enough to make it feel like early evening. We all stood around, all dressed in black and white, but mostly black. The faces of everyone portrayed a somber, indescribable sadness. The priest’s black apparel and black umbrella looked grim as he recited the all too famous prayer, "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven...." as they lowered the casket into the shadowy ground.
It was finally over. After the burial, everyone who was alive and well had gathered at the community center to collect their thoughts, have some snacks and try to make sense of it all. To me, this was truly the worst day of my life. I knew I hadn't wanted to go.
For a long and agonizing 14 years after the crash, I could still hear the roughly two-hundred people screaming in terror for the driver to stop. I heard it in my mind and my dreams. The sounds had replayed at the drop of any similar sound like screeching tires, sirens and even screaming in the movies. Stage theater was the worst. The trauma had never vanished.
Since it wasn't really discussed in the mainstream until at least the mid-1990's, early 2000's, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) hadn't been commonly recognized. PTSD had nicknames, but as far as I knew, they were only for war veterans. ‘Combat fatigue,’ ‘A Soldiers' Heart’ and ‘Shell Shock’ to name a few.
For the first few years, I didn't want to even believe or accept the idea that this crash had any real effect on me. Sure, I was quieter, but I just thought it was a natural change in maturity, and maybe I had just decided to calm down and act more relaxed for my age. Eventually, I'd realize that I had PTSD, and it wasn't going away anytime soon. I was psychologically sick, and with no cure, I had assumed it was just the new me. As far as I was concerned, I just had to try to adapt.
It was three years after the crash when an important phone call came in around mid-morning (at this time my brother Cody and I lived at home). It was the lawyer. I called out to my brother to pick up the other phone of our land-line in the basement so he could listen in. It was just what we were longing for. A settlement! I was only nineteen, a couple of weeks from my birthday and in 2002, that was a lot of cash.
We never knew what it was like to have that kind of money all at once since my family was pretty average financially. However, my brother was pretty stoked, he knew what he wanted, and now he could get it, a brand new motorcycle. It had been quite a long time since I saw Cody's face light up like that. It was amazing and a breath of fresh air to see him so full of anticipation!
At the time when I had gotten my share, I had decided to treat my girlfriend to a trip to a neighboring city outside our province for a weekend getaway. We had a lot of fun, but not long after, I'd discover it wouldn't be enough money to cover up the pain... or keep her satisfied. It was all temporary pleasures. I needed something bigger, something more in life, something long lasting. Little did I ever expect, the God of the Universe would have something completely awesome waiting for me, just for me.
I loved the Lord, and I believed firmly in His word,
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 (KJV)
However, I hadn’t always been a firm believer that God would work everything out for the good. There was a time in my life when things fell apart, and I prayed and begged God for a resolution, and nothing happened, at least not right away, but when it did, it blew my mind and let me tell you, it was utterly overwhelming. It was so overwhelming because when God does something, you just know it was Him! You know how they say when you're single and you meet "the one" and you just know? Well, in the same sense… you just know.
Over the next number of years, I continued to experience extreme fatigue from the PTSD. The nightmares would continue, six nights a week and sometimes a full week straight. Very rarely would I ever have a peaceful dream and rarely did I ever feel fully rested.
It was always something, like the nightmare of a school bus crashing into a crowd of students, killing all of them in a bloody, gruesome mess of blood and guts smeared into the pavement with shrill screams in the background. Another one where a tour bus had crashed into the local supermarket, killing everyone in its path. That was just two of them for the sake of example, and yes, it was loud, the screams, they were loud and petrifying.
During those years, there had been simple things that had easily set me off, like sarcasm for one. I used to get bitterly offended because of the insensitivity of it all. Even videos that were supposed to be funny like people falling off bicycles or running into posts and such just wasn't funny to me. I could only wonder what kind of serious injuries it might have caused.
It was so few and far between that I ever had a good belly laugh. I chuckled a fair amount, but rarely would I ever laugh very hard. You know that tingly, lighthearted feeling you get just before you actually do laugh? I had almost lost the ability to feel it at all. My heart was heavy, all the time. It almost seemed as if I was carrying 80-pound dumbbells in each hand wherever I went. Each and every time I got my picture taken, I'd notice my shoulders had always been awkwardly perked up as if I were straining to carry the weight of my burdens.
I believe it was 2014 when I had taken a silly quiz on the internet about what kind of disorder I'd choose if I had no other choice. A few of them weren't too bad, but I remember there was a choice between cancer and PTSD, and without hesitation, I chose cancer. I assumed with cancer, it could be surgically removed, or I'd get sick enough to be put out of my misery, but PTSD being a psychological disorder with no cure and no such thing as surgery, it would just go on until the end of life... for whenever that would be.
They say there's coping mechanisms like prescription drugs and other recommended techniques (which I can't name off since I hadn't been given those choices) and then there's alcohol, marijuana and simply crying it out, but I had tried all those things multiple times, and none of it did anything but get me distracted, high, drunk and sad.
The nightmares were the most disturbing element I dealt with. There were a few terrifying nightmares I still remember to this day. The first nightmare I remember having was sitting in the passengers' seat of the hearse when it lost control (but, in reality, I hadn't been in the vehicle), but in the nightmare, the hearse took off out of control hitting my brother Cody and the windshield in front of my face, shattered into a spider web of broken glass.
In the same second of that nightmare, in waking life, my cassette player stopped with a loud, 'clink!' I immediately pushed myself up off my face and chest in a cold sweat. These were indeed nightmares that would bring me right out of a sound sleep. That was the first three or four years into what I assumed would be a life long struggle.
Shelly and I had gone out to see the Peters family on several occasions that summer, but of course, we'd see their show, and they'd play that song again. I hated that tune. There was no lyrics to it, but it reminded me of the sound of a hymn that was played at the funeral 14 years previous. To me, it was the very-most haunting thing I had ever heard since.
About a week before Shelly and I went back out to see the Peters, I was over at my friend Janette Russell's place having a glass of wine with my long-time friend Eric and Janette's friend Ashley. I felt quite fond of Ashley. She was very welcoming, humble and filled with compassion for life.
That night, Ashley and I were out on Eric's patio sipping our beverages and discussing our personal finances when the topic of jobs and careers sprung up. At this time, I was driving taxi and not making very much. I felt desperate to get back out to Alberta to make the big money like I did when I was into seismic oil exploration.
Somehow the conversation had gone due south and turned into a discussion on the psychological distress I had suffered so many years ago. At some point in that conversation, I had realized I had totally forgotten that God had a purpose for me, and it wasn't all about the green paper. I suddenly felt a heart-crushing conviction in my soul and right there with Ashley, I began to pray, and she immediately joined in. I asked the Lord to forgive me of my selfish-ambition and love of money and that He would help me to trust Him that He is (in Hebrew) Yahweh-yireh, my provider. (This means; "The LORD Will Provide.”)
After the prayer, the Holy Spirit was faithful to fill my heart with peace on the topic. Ashley bear-hugged me since she knew I was under a lot of financial pressure to pay the rent. She could sense that I was desperately in need of someone to talk to. Shortly after, Ashley and I headed back in to join the others when an idea to call Shelly suddenly came to me. It seemed like ages since we spoke.
Over the phone, I told Shelly I missed her, and she suggested we make a date the following evening to see the Peters. The next night, we got together and that was the very first time, I told Shelly that I was suffering from PTSD. I don't remember what prompted me to tell her, but I did.
I loved the Peters very much, but there was still that tune. I'd always try to convince myself that it wouldn't bother me since I had already seen the family concert a hundred times. It was still the same, I was over it, or so I thought.
The next day, Shelly and I were back out to the Peters residents. It was two songs before the show ended, and of course, they played that tune again. I told myself not to think, don't imagine anything, it's just music. However, it was pretty hard not to drift away when the context of the song was meant for the audience to give thought to the afterlife, going from the grave into the presence of Christ.
Being in Christ's presence would be beyond fantastic which no words could ever describe, but the tune was about death. It started dark, with a dim blue lighting, then to a glow of red, then finally to a comforting bright glimmering white of glory. Somehow, though, my mind would always drift back to that dark day of the funeral.
After the show, Shelly and I hung out at the back of the venue waiting for the Peters to finish ministering to members of the audience.
AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS
Shelly, five years younger than me, was brought up in a Christian home, went to a private Christian school but often came to me for spiritual advice because, for some reason, we understood each other. She was book smart on Christianity, but not quite in touch spiritually.
She had the understanding, but at this point, didn't quite understand the very power in the name of Jesus. She had a hard time understanding that it wasn't all about the knowledge, but about having a personal relationship with Him. However, she was about to find out what it was like.
I had never mentioned anything to Shelly about that tune before, but finally, I confessed, "Shelly, I can't stand that second last song they play. It's bringing back those memories again. In fact, I hate that tune!" To my surprise, as well as it being a first, Shelly asked me, "Can I pray for you?"
At this point, most, if not all the tourists were gone, the Peters were packing up their instruments on stage for the night when at that moment, Shelly placed her hand on my shoulder and bowed her head, and prayerfully declared with a strong, assertive voice, "By the authority of Jesus Christ, demon of torment, leave this man immediately."
Nathan seemed to have instantly noticed Shelly praying for me and didn't hesitate for a second to join us. He dropped everything he was doing and darted over. I didn't think he even knew what Shelly was praying about, but he began quickly by saying, "Lord, I pray you'll take these awful memories away from Jonathan….”
The sounds of their praying was that of the purest compassion and love. Even though they had no idea what I had been through, it was almost like these particular friends were my blood-related family, or as if they had been survivors of something else. There had been such a strong element of empathy, I could have sworn they too had witnessed the crash. It was so clear that the Holy Spirit was working strong, and the Spirit of Jesus was there. Their prayers rang out with a kind of maternal love, like a mother for her child.
As the prayer went on, we slowly, while still praying, moved over to some chairs to sit. I don't remember what else was said throughout the prayer, but I do remember feeling like I was on my knees at the very foot of the cross, pleading with Jesus the Messiah, Son of God for mercy that I might overcome this incurable psychological illness. As we sat, I could feel the Holy Spirit descend on us, which had the physical sensation similar to the reaction of when you come in contact with someone you truly love, multiplied by a trillion.
I remember the scripture,
"For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them. "Matt 18:20 (KJV)
From the very core of my being, I had felt some sort of pressure begin to evaporate. I didn't really think that God would do anything major, but I did have faith that He would do at least something. Shortly after the prayer, I stood up from the chair then noticed that my shoulders had literally settled from being perked up for the last 14 years.
The feeling was as though the 80 spiritual pounds of dead weight simply dropped from my hands. Like a prisoner’s ball and chain had finally been hacked off. I was smiling, and I just couldn't stop! Shelly was smiling, and so was Nathan. We made our way out of the concert hall and into the front yard.
Shelly had run off into the house to join the rest of the family when I started chatting off Nathan's ear. I couldn't contain this joy! The weather seemed exactly the same as the day I had met Anastasia at the park when I had discovered Christianity for the first time. The evening breeze was light and warm as the mosquitos feasted on my arms! I hadn't even noticed the half of them that had launched into me!
That night was absolutely nothing short of spectacular! It seemed like numerous veils were being lifted from my inner eye to all of the things God had previously done in my life. In that very hour of talking to Nathan, everything in my mind was unexpectedly coming to light like a multitude of revelations! It was like restoring files on a computer, one after another as fast as anyone could click a mouse! As I stood in the yard with Nathan, God was still making everything new in me!
"Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
Throughout my life, just like anyone, there had been so many things that had broken me down, shattered my heart, and great things I couldn't have ever understood, but now at this moment, I finally had the big picture. I hadn't come into existence just because I was one out of over 7 billion to be born. I knew these things weren't just random events. From the hymn of 1986 to the coloring sheet of 1988. The Man in the stained glass window a year later, to the dead bird in 1995, to the girl at the park, the girl of enigma, the earth angel, the Divine dream, the communion-reunion and the spiritual battle of 2011. Then finally, to this very day of healing, to me, it was this verse that rang loud,
"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will" Ephesians 1:4-5 (KJV)
A few months later, that very spiritual high from the night at the Peters residence was still going full tilt! I was telling almost every one of my customers in my taxi and people would shake my hand to congratulate me on my new found freedom. I'd end up picking people up who were suffering from addictions and poverty, and I'd tell them what happened to me. Some people had said it was the very best thing they ever heard and that they so badly needed to hear my story! After some time, I started to notice, I didn't even have my passengers in the vehicle long enough to even tell them the whole story! I needed a new way of sharing!
Before the healing, on occasion, I'd pick up a regular passenger that I hadn't seen in a while, and they would ask me how I was doing and usually my replies weren't too positive since it seemed there wasn't much to be happy about. The potholes, bad drivers, buzzing around, wasn't making very much money, my rent was too high, and all I usually had to look forward to was hard labor in Alberta in the 14hr day, -40° Celsius winters if I wanted extra money.
However, after the healing, I stopped caring about Alberta and their big oil money (which wouldn’t prove to last anyway). I no longer needed the cash to cover up my pain. Potholes didn't frustrate me as much, and I didn't even care if I had no cash left after paying rent. Lastly, no longer was my screenwriting ambition something of value (especially after ‘My Last Sacrifice’ in 2011. There just wasn't anything left as important as my relationship with Jesus. I knew this was the path. My identity was in Him, and nothing else mattered.
In new response to my regular passengers was usually asserted like, "More fantastic than I have ever been in my entire life!" Obviously, they wanted to know why. I'd try to explain it, but by the time we arrived at their destination, I'd have another call to go to. I had so much more to say!
Telling my story was like being a witness on the stand, but with a kitchen timer, only having between 5 and 10 minutes to tell them where I had gotten all my joy! However, it worked for a little bit, but I always drove away wishing I could've included all the little details. That's when I knew, I had to write, it was time to put pen to paper.
One of the veils that had lifted was the memory of the time in 1998 when I first accepted Jesus as my personal savior. Anastasia's mother, Fern, had noticed my enthusiasm about my new found faith and so with the gift of prophecy, she stated, "In years to come, you will be witnessing to the people on the street." However, at that time, what she had declared was completely contrary to what I had planned for myself. In years to come, I wanted to be working in Hollywood as a screenwriter!
In 2013, I hadn't realized it yet, but again, I was driving a taxi and telling everyone what God had done! However, back in 1997-1998, I didn't fully want to believe what Fern said. I thought maybe she was just trying to encourage me in my new found faith, but there I was, in the car, doing exactly what Fern had mentioned 15 or 16 years previous!
FURTHER EVIDENCE OF HEALING
Around late September, early October 2013, a couple of close friends of mine, Simon and Will had been at my new apartment hanging out and enjoying a few drinks, (aside from me, since I was the designated driver of Will's car), when after a couple of hours, we had decided to go for some sandwiches at a local donut shop. When we got our food, we parked in the lot across the street. After we finished, we had planned to go back to Simon's to hang out. After our sandwiches, I pulled the car out onto the street to leave when straight out of the neighboring parking lot, another car came speeding out into our lane cutting us off. With a lightning fast reaction, I simultaneously spun the wheel in the opposite direction and slammed on the breaks just in the nick of time to avoid a would-be collision with either the car or the curb.
When I drove a taxi before my healing, having a near miss like that was pretty common, but when it happened, it'd cause a desperately fiery burning sensation in the center of my chest of absolute fear and adrenaline. As well, anytime I was on a flight, and I heard any loud noises, I usually felt like I was on the brink of a major heart attack.
As I avoided the collision, I put the car in park to catch my breath and examine my state of mind for the moment, and that's when I realized, the usual fiery chest pain was nowhere to be found. This was the first sign that I had recognized that the PTSD was gone (and I hadn't even realized I wasn't having nightmares anymore, which should've been the first sign if I had of noticed). I couldn't believe it! It had always been so faithful to grip the core of my being with its red-hot claws from the pits of hell!
Now it had no authority over me and since I felt undisturbed, Will, Simon and I (three fair-sized men) pulled up beside the lone driver and questioned him as to why the unsafe driving, he just nervously insisted we have one of his cheeseburgers from the neighboring fast food joint (probably because he might have thought we'd beat him into the ground if he wasn't nice to us). However, Simon did attempt to tell the young man about Jesus before we drove away.
It was true that I had indeed been a lot happier, but I didn't even really notice all the joy right away. At least not until all my vicious nightmares turned into beautiful dreams. I started waking up feeling rested and, well, basically the same as I did when I was 16 in 1998, the year I accepted Christ and a year before the crash. Now, it was 2013, I had just turned 31… going on 16.
In a strange way, even though I hadn't died and gone to heaven, over the course of more than thirteen years, I had just experienced that tune from the Peters family show come to life. It went from a "dark lighting effect" of that terrible day in 1999, to the 'red lighting' of realizing that I had to face this devil head on, and then to the bright and glorious light of victory, at the foot of the cross and by the precious blood of Jesus, I was able to overcome an incurable disorder. There's no doubt in my mind why this brings me to a remarkable verse,
"And he that sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Rev 21:5 (KJV)