Cover Image: My late singer Louise Mc Connell (L) and I taking a mini-vacation by the ocean while on a concert tour in the mid-eighties. Photo by Glenn Williams. Graphics Design by Diana Souza.
Two stories from the new book 'Realms of Light'.
His house was on the other side of our back fence, so we saw quite a lot of him while he lived there. He and his wife were very sports-oriented, and they probably played every team sport I had ever heard of. He was healthy and muscular, and enjoyed being strong and physically fit. To balance this, he was sensitive and thoughtful, baked pies and cookies, cared for his houseplants like a mother hen, and was - in a very appealing and charming way - quietly fun loving and somewhat shy. Of medium height and build, he had a boyish look about him, with his fine, light hair and wonderful smile - his sweetness was both endearing and unusual, especially in a man of his age.
We spoke over the fence, or visited each other for an evening, or did various house projects together. He and his wife helped us lay down a new roof for our carport and we helped them build and paint a shed in their back yard. Unfortunately, I chose a color for the shed that everyone else hated; it matched one of Stephen’s ties. We ended up repainting the shed a different colour, amid much banter and laughter. On a more serious side of being and life, Stephen could always be counted on for various projects and emergencies. For instance, the time I was left holding a falling mulberry tree in the backyard. It was summer and all our windows were open, so I called out "Stephen, Stephen, help - the tree is falling over and I’m standing here holding it up. And it’s heavy..." And I heard in the distance "I’m commiinngg ...."
We often had discussions on the ego and its various traps, and the inner workings of the self and its world. One day Stephen quietly mentioned that he had investigated yoga and other disciplines of this nature when he was in his twenties. I offered to teach him how to meditate, and invited him to come to the philosophy classes and meditations held at my house. Stephen expressed a desire to learn meditation and to come to the classes, but somehow something, some activity or inner resistance, always seemed to intervene.
After living next door for a few activity-filled years, Stephen’s life and marriage began to unravel. We would sometimes meet outside, by his front garden. Even though still soft-spoken, I could see the depth of his inner turmoil and struggle. His almost unlined, young face seemed uncharacteristically furrowed and serious, as though he were now grappling with untried and difficult emotions for the first time - almost like a child still too innocent to comprehend the disappointments and inevitable pain of life. After some thought, I gave him a prayer to say - the Mercy Prayer of St. Faustina. The coming Sunday was the Day of Mercy. I told him that Christ Himself had promised St. Faustina that whoever said this prayer at the Hour of Mercy each day, would have their prayers answered - if their request was good for their souls and the souls of others. The Day of Mercy came only once a year, and certainly his prayers would be answered if he prayed on that day. He thanked me, and I later learned that Stephen had prayed and meditated in his own fashion, that Sunday afternoon between three and four p.m..
Some months later Stephen found a very special woman. And one day in the garden, he told me that they planned to marry within the year. I rarely saw him now, for he had moved some towns away. The last time I saw him, his last words to me were : "I’ve never been so happy." and he smiled his quiet, young smile. He was full of hope for the future and the joy of his new life, when he was suddenly and tragically, from our point of view - called to other realms.
This struck others as a senseless tragedy, a young man of such vitality and worth suddenly taken away by a rare and fatal illness. In this case, I was more happy for my friend Stephen than sad at my own loss, because I knew that he would immediately go to a very high realm.
A few days after Stephen’s death I was standing in the living room, on my way to the kitchen, when Stephen appeared to me in the woodpile by the coal stove. He was very transparent, mainly Light. I could barely make out his form. He was speaking very quietly and earnestly, and he said he was sorry that he had not come to our meditation and philosophy classes while he was on earth. He said "I wasn’t ready." - and then after a few more words that I could not hear, he disappeared.
His apology was very unexpected and surprising. His not coming to classes seemed like such a small thing, and certainly nothing to apologize for.
Some years later, in earth time, I was looking at a photograph of Stephen that his ex-wife had given me, which I keep on the music rack of the upright piano in the living room. It was a large photograph of Stephen at a pumpkin farm, pulling a little wagon full of pumpkins and dried corn, looking into the camera with such a sweet and unguarded expression. That night, when I looked at the photograph, he gave me a big, radiant smile - and I was inwardly led to understand that he had recently been told that he would soon be transitioned to an even higher realm. I looked inside and found the realm, and it was a beautiful one. I smiled back and sent him my Love - and my best wishes for the journey.
In our many interactions over the years, I learned to admire and respect her. I always enjoyed Leslie’s ready wit, and her incisive observation of life and its events and meanings and those who participate in the seemingly endless intertwinings of destiny and desire that we call life. If one could imagine a person who lived a complex yet simple life simultaneously, a person who could be both serious and fun-loving, who ran through life like a speeding bullet and yet loved stillness - then one might be thinking of Leslie. My last meeting with her on earth was in Woolworth’s parking lot, looking at flowers. And my last memory of her is a radiant smile.
Leslie "died" while in her mid-forties, after a long illness. I was still too injured to visit with her, but towards the end of her last illness I sent her a large vase filled with bright and summer-coloured flowers. My last verbal message from Leslie was a grateful "thank you" for the bouquet.
Until I met her in the garden, a few days after she left for other realms.
She was standing in the holly bush near my piano studio - well, our visitors from other realms are unembodied, and on another vibrational level, they don’t need to be careful of where they stand - Stephen actually appeared in the woodpile near the coal stove. And my friend Leslie was very, very transparent, mainly Light; I could just barely make out her form. She was speaking to me, and I could hear her, but it was not clairaudience - the sound was not outside myself, nor was it an inner voice. I was hearing her speak in her own realm, and she was apologizing for something insignificant that she had said or done. It was so insignificant, that now I cannot remember what she said, only that it was an apology.
I do remember being very surprised, and wondering why she had come to see me in this way. I would not have been surprised had she appeared in the holly bush and told me all about her realm, whom she had seen, what she had done - or if she had just come to say ‘hello’ and had watched me work in the garden.
Up until these two meetings with Stephen and Leslie, which followed each other fairly closely in our earth time/space frame, I assumed that when we left for other realms - we left for those realms with a new perspective and a new, better understanding of our earthly existence - and then thought no more about it, we moved onward and upward.
It had not occurred to me that we would first revisit our friends - or I suppose enemies, if we have them - on earth, and try to make our reparations here.
I was very touched by both these meetings. From our earthly view, at least from my earthly view, neither of these apologies was necessary. It showed me how transparent those realms are, and that what is expected of us there is far beyond the expectations and natural abilities of earthly existence - unless one is perhaps a saint. So much is hidden from our view here, even our inner view is so clouded and veiled. Transparency while still on earth is not an easy thing to achieve, perhaps an impossibility. But these two meetings instilled in me the wish and intent - and the means - to at least try.