Once upon a time, I spoke with God. It was a short conversation and He did most of the talking.
I swear this is all true. Here is an abbreviated version of that event.
The year was 1968. I was eighteen years old. I was in the desert of Arizona, hitchhiking back home to Miami from California when, late in the afternoon, an old, blue pickup truck stopped and offered me a ride. The man driving was an Apache Indian just a few years older than I. His name was Jimmy. And seeing as how it was getting late, he invited me to spend the night with him on the reservation.
After we ate, we walked out into the dark desert and sat upon a small hillock, looking west to where the sky was an electric orange as the sun kissed the earth. I laid back and closed my eyes as Jimmy started to tell me of the Denéé, as the Apaches called themselves. Denéé means The People. He told me of their creation myth, their history; he even told of Geronimo’s boyhood and what led him to become the leader of the Apache uprising. At length, he grew silent. The desert was silent. The entire world had gone silent.
Once I realized the recitation was at an end, I was hesitant to open my eyes; I did not want to break the spell that Jimmy had woven. Eventually, I did open my eyes. And I looked right into the most amazing sight I had ever seen!
While Jimmy was talking, the sun had journeyed to the other side of the world and billions of suns had replaced ours in the sky. Never had I seen anything like it. For three hundred and sixty degrees there was nothing but stars—from horizon to horizon. There was no light to impede their brilliance, no buildings to block my view of that wondrous sight. There was just as much starlight as there was black sky. I felt as though I could reach out and touch them, they seemed that close. I could see how Ptolemy believed the earth to be encapsulated within crystalline spheres. In the dry desert air, the stars did indeed look as though they were made of fine, delicate crystal. I saw The Great Bear and Polaris, the only star that does not move. Orion seemed as though he could lower his arm and smite me with his club at any moment. I was in the midst of searching for other constellations when Jimmy broke my reverie by saying, “It is time.”
As I sat up, Jimmy handed me a wooden bowl. He was already holding one exactly like it. We each held our bowls with two hands in front of us, about chest high. I was told that the potion would help me go within, to commune with the Old Ones. “It is my hope to speak with Life Giver at times like these, but it has not happened yet. I am told by our medicine man to be patient. He says he has spoken to Life Giver only once, though he has spoken with lesser gods many times.”
Jimmy extended his bowl towards me as in giving a toast. I did the same and then we drank whatever the concoction was.
Jimmy informed me that we would not speak again until morning. He would continue facing west and said that I should face north. I walked ninety degrees around the rise to Jimmy’s right and sat down. It was starting to get a little cool, and I thought it would have been smart if I had had the forethought to bring a jacket. In an effort to keep warm, I brought my knees up to my chest, folded my arms about my legs, and rested my chin on my knees. I settled in to await the Old Ones.
Time started to stretch out; a second felt like a minute . . . a minute like an hour. Einstein was right. Time is relative. After a while, I noticed I wasn’t cold any longer. I unfolded myself and lay back to look up at the stars. As I said, time was playing tricks on me. I don’t know how long it was after that that I heard a voice. At first I thought it was Jimmy speaking to me, but when I looked in his direction, he was staring off into the western sky, oblivious of me and his surroundings. Then I heard it again. It was in my head.
Aloud I said, “Are you calling to me?”
The voice responded: “There is no need to use your vocal cords. Think and I will hear you.” For some reason this all seemed perfectly natural, as though I spoke with disembodied entities every day.
My first, or I guess if you want to be technical about it, my second question was, “Who are you?”
I swear this is what I heard: “I have many names, and have had many other names in the past. I am known to your friend Jimmy as Life Giver, I am known to you and your culture as God. Some refer to me as Jehovah, and I am called Allah and Krishna by others.”
I don’t know why, but for some reason it did not seem strange that I was having a conversation with God.
The next thing I said, or thought—or whatever—was, “If you are who you say you are, why do you speak with me when Jimmy has desperately been trying to speak with you for many years?”
“I have been with Jimmy all those years—and more—waiting for him to notice me. I am with my children—all my children—always. I am never not with you.”
In an effort to cut down on the prose, I offer a transcript of my conversation with the entity, which I have come to believe was indeed who It claimed to be, Life Giver. Before you make up your mind, read the transcript in its entirety, then decide.
Me: It just doesn’t seem fair that I’m here speaking with you when it should be Jimmy instead.
LG: Jimmy and I do speak, but not in this way.
Me: Have you come to teach me some great truth?
LG: You have nothing to learn, none of my children have anything to learn. You have only to remember.
Me: Remember? Remember what?
LG: Who you are, and where you come from.
Me: Now I’m getting confused. Aren’t you God?
LG: We are God. Some refer to me as All That Is, which is more descriptive of the truth. There is only ONE, we are both a part of that ONE. This planet’s first religion was The Law of One. In a time long forgotten, man knew from whence he came. That is what I meant when I said you have only to remember.
Me: So, why can I experience you and Jimmy can’t?
LG: As I have stated, Jimmy, you, and all of humanity experience me every day.
Me: What I mean is, why am I talking to you tonight, and Jimmy is not?
LG: How do you know he is not speaking with me now as you are?
Me: Well, I guess I don’t. I reckon God can carry on more than one conversation at a time.
LG: You reckon?
Me: I didn’t know God had a sense of humor.
LG: I have what you have, you have what I have. We are ONE.
Me: I guess I was pretty lucky when Jimmy picked me up this afternoon or else I wouldn’t be here speaking with God.
LG: It was no accident that Jimmy offered you a ride and a place to sleep. Jimmy and I arranged it while he slept last night. We spoke in his dreams; although he has consciously forgotten our conversation, he has remembered it subconsciously.
Me: Then why am I here?
LG: Do you mean why are you here tonight, or why are you here on planet Earth?
Me: Both . . . I guess.
LG: You, and everyone else, are here because you want to be here. You personally are here tonight because I have a message for you, and this was the only way to make sure you that you heard it.
Me: Before you give me the message, may I ask one more question?
LG: You may ask as many as you wish.
Me: What is the meaning of life?
LG: The meaning of life—the reason you and all our brethren are on this planet and on all the other planets in other star systems—is to choose. Making choices is the reason for life. The choices you make are the way I express myself. When a life is completed, the experiences you bring back to me are a gift. A gift from a loving child who has volunteered to endure the hardships of the physical plane in order that its parent may BE.
Me: What if we make the wrong choices?
LG: You cannot make a wrong choice. Whatever you choose will eventually lead to evolution, and over time, evolution creates balance as part of the nature of existence.
Me: Even if we make a choice based on hate that is okay?
LG: Remember this: Ultimately, there is only Love. All so-called negative emotions—hate, anger, jealousy, just to a mention a few—stem from fear. Fear of not having enough. Fear of not being loved enough. Fear of those who are different. Fear of those who worship a different god. The only way to combat that fear is Love. Love is always stronger than fear.
LG: WOW, indeed.
Me: You said you had a message for me?
LG: Yes, you are planning to go home. You, of course, may do anything of your choosing. However, you came to the Earth to teach. Some of those you have agreed to teach will miss their lessons if you go home now.
Me: I thought you said we have nothing to learn, we only have to remember.
LG: The lessons help you to remember. As a song will bring back memories of the time you first heard it. The lessons you, and all teachers, teach help those involved to remember.
Me: I’m just a kid. How can I teach anyone anything?
LG: First of all, you are as old as I am; we existed before time began. Secondly, you teach by example. Some will learn from you after seeing you for only a moment, others will learn their lessons after many months with you. As you, in turn, will learn your lessons from others you will encounter along the way. Later in your life, you will be a teacher of many people from all around the world.
Me: What, like on television or something?
LG: The medium that you will use has not yet been invented.
LG: So what do you say? Are you willing to help spread my word of Love?
Me: When will I know when it’s time to go home?
LG: I will tell you.
LG: It is almost daybreak. It would be better if you left without saying good-bye to Jimmy. He is communing with his spirit guide. You have places to go. I suggest that you head north. Go and see what Montana is like.
Me: Well . . . good-bye.
LG: I am always with you.
I got my carcass up, looked over at Jimmy and mentally said good-bye. I walked the few hundred yards to his house, picked up my gear, and strolled into a new day. And now—fifty-two years later—I am still walking into that new day.
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and fifty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, Yellow Hair. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, MICK REILLY.
by Andrew Joyce
Through no fault of his own, a young man is thrust into a new culture just at the time that culture is undergoing massive changes. It is losing its identity, its lands, and its dignity. He not only adapts, he perseveres and, over time, becomes a leader—and on occasion, the hand of vengeance against those who would destroy his adopted people.
Yellow Hair documents the injustices done to the Sioux Nation from their first treaty with the United States in 1805 through Wounded Knee in 1890. Every death, murder, battle, and outrage written about actually took place. The historical figures that play a role in this fact-based tale of fiction were real people and the author uses their real names. Yellow Hair is an epic tale of adventure, family, love, and hate that spans most of the 19th century.
This is American history.
Andrew Joyce is the recipient of the 2013 Editor’s Choice Award for Best Western for his novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.
Buy on Amazon: Yellow Hair by Andrew Joyce
Read Barb Taub’s interview with Andrew and her review of Yellow Hair here.
Website: Andrew Joyce
Blog: Andrew Joyce