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Of Nathan Hale, Bibles and Such

Diana had white gloves on.  She was turning the pages, not knowing where to look.  And not knowing where to find something in a Bible is a very daunting task.  Especially when you’re looking for a handwritten note in the margins, and not something you can look up in an index.  She was carefully flipping page by page through Deuteronomy, and then Leviticus, and I couldn’t help wondering what on earth Nathan might have been taking notes on in Leviticus.  Though in his defense, I have notes in my Leviticus.

We were looking for Nathan Hale’s signature.  In Nathan Hale’s Bible.  While standing in (what is arguably) Nathan Hale’s house.

My heart was racing.  I was bent over the book so close that if I were in a museum I would have been scolded.  Except I was in a museum of sorts, and Diana was right there, nose in book with me.  After we left, Mike said to me that he could actually feel my emotions as I bent over that old tome.  Mike’s an INFJ, in Meyers Briggs talk.  In English, it means that he’s one step away from having ESP.  He said he could feel my emotions in that moment--he knew that I wanted to be the one flipping the pages, just to... touch it, with my own fingers.  Mike said that as we were all bent over the Bible, praying silently that we’d find the signature, he actually stepped back and thought, “Our breath is permanently marking this thing.  From here into forever, our breath has mixed with Nathan Hale’s.”

When it comes to understanding the weight of that moment, my husband nailed it.  Nathan Hale is one of my heroes.  I spent my vacation in Virginia Beach two summers ago reading his muster rolls in my swimsuit on the sand while everyone else played in the waves.  “What’s it say?” my mother teased, “Musket balls, five pence?  Army knife, ten shillings?”  I mumbled something along the lines of, “That’s actually about right.”

Ever since I found out about the Hale Homestead House, I’ve wanted to go.  Just to be in a place that had a real connection to Nathan Hale.  I have spent so much time reading about him--in books, biographies, and even his own personal letters and diary--and thinking about him and trying to figure him out, that it was hard for me at times to even think of him as real.  I mean, he’s a character, in one of my stories.  I uncovered him, and then I interpreted him, and now I just play with him.  But the real guy, the real Nathan Hale, well... he doesn’t belong to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my quirky, overly-chatty charicature of him more than anything.  And my hope of all hopes is that my version at least reflects (even if it exaggerates) the real man.  But the real man... well, he was real, wasn’t he?  He had to be: Diana showed me his shoe buckles.

And here we were now, actually at the Homestead House, breathing on his Bible, and of everything belonging to him that we saw that day, nothing held the same emotion for me as that old book.  Because a Bible, if you actually read it, is such a personal thing.  Because, well, it’s alive.  It teaches you, chastises you, encourages you, empowers you, it sets you free... it picks you up when you’re at the absolute end... and breathes life back into all the dead places of your lost hopes and dreams and gives you better ones.

My Bible is so well used that it looks more like a notebook than a sacred reference material.  My mother even put contact paper on the cover because it was so frayed and bent up that it wasn’t going to last much longer.  Now the contact paper is bubbled and wrinkled.  Most every page has notes on it, the pages are bent, there’s yellow and pink highlighter everywhere.  I guess I should just get a new one.  But Mike gave me this one on December 19th, 1999 when I was baptized.  We weren’t even dating yet, but  he drove the whole way from Canton, OH to Jeannette, PA just to see me get dunked.  I don’t have it in my heart to get a replacement.  Sometimes I think about getting it rebound in leather, but that just sounds expensive.  Like it would be cheaper just to get a new one.  But the new one wouldn’t have that note in the back, from when I lived in my first apartment.  I don’t remember the date, but I remember sitting at that little kitchen table, in downtown Columbus when I wrote it.  It says, “Grammy--> not an inconvenience, but a blessing that she’s still here.”  It was only after my grandmother died that I could really feel the full weight of that statement.

“I found it!” shouted Diana.  And she had.  Right there in big, beautiful, inky letters was his name:  Nathan Hale.  I got teary eyed.  “Where is it?” I asked excitedly.  Meaning, “What book are we in?”  I’ve read in his biographies that Nathan made notes around the verse, “In  my father’s house, there are many rooms... I am going there to prepare a place for you.”  That’s haunting and chilling in a powerful way if you know Nathan’s story.  But I couldn’t remember where the verse was, so I didn’t know where to look for it.  But this wasn’t that.  Diana was over in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15.

“What does it say?” I asked anxiously.  Eighteenth-century script is so hard for me to read, even with Nathan’s beautiful, meticulous penmanship.  Diana couldn’t make out all of it, but it had a date, with notes about his grandparents’ funeral.

“What... what verse is that?”  I leaned in.  “O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?” jumped off the page at me.  We all sort of stood there a moment as I read the passage out loud.  It’s one of the most powerful proclamations of life after death in the New Testament.  It discusses the fleetingness of the world around us... how it’s all in a constant state of decay.  The world is perishing, we can’t stop it--in anything around us, or in our own selves.  And yet there is not finality to it, through the power and the victory of the risen Lord Jesus.  In him all things are made imperishable.  Everything weak is raised new in power.  The dishonorable is given glory.  All, in an instant, will be transformed in new, immortal virtue and glory that comes not from the dust of this world but from an act of the greatest mercy and grace imaginable.

“We can see these things were on his mind,” Diana points out.  Meaning, he was contemplating life and death and life after death well before he went to the gallows.



It’s January, 2006.  There are forty of us from Columbus, Ohio.  We used a week’s worth of vacation, took off work, (back then I had a job and those scarce, precious things called personal days) and we drove 17 hours in four vans to New Orleans, Louisiana.  In theory, we all knew that it was going to be bad.  We all saw the pictures on the news--the floods, the Superdome, the helicopters, the backed-up highways, the people trapped on their roofs, the corpses left out in the sun, covered by only a sheet or a blanket... And yet...  There was nothing, absolutely nothing that could ever have prepared me for post-Katrina New Orleans...

It is dark when we arrive.  I’m anxious, and I’m driving.  My heart is pounding and I wind down the van window and even though it’s January, the air is warm and I smell mold.  Everywhere.  At the time I didn’t know what I am smelling.  Now, I can recognize that smell a mile away.  

As we drive into the city, there are no lights.  I’ve never seen such a thing.  We’re driving through neighborhoods, but it’s completely dark--no house lights, no street lights, no car lights.  No one is driving here, but us.  No one is living here.  It is one of the single most chilling events of my life.  But over there--blocks and blocks away--one light glows in an upstairs window.  Alone, on the horizon, and that frightens me even more.

Cut to two days later.  I have no space here to describe that first trip down to the Big Easy to do relief work.  But it’s only taken two days to make the entire team dead inside.  The destruction goes on not for miles, but for hours, in every direction.  You cannot escape it.  People are living in houses that are not theirs, filled with the moldy, muddy, rat-infested belongings of a stranger.  Every home is marked with a bright orange or yellow “X”--meaning it was searched, and the date, the search team’s ID number and the number of bodies found inside are forevermore painted on the front of every single building in the city.  Florescent beacons shouting out their stories to us as we drive down street after street, lost again and again because the storm and the flood washed all the street signs away and we have no idea where we are.  We could stop and ask someone, but there are no someones around.  And the someones who are around scare us more than the ones that are missing.

Why are we doing this? We ask ourselves with every shovel we carry to the wheelbarrow.  The houses are not just moldy, they’re rotten.  Could someone ever, ever live here again?  The answer is a resounding No! but our job is not to make the verdict, just to empty the houses.  The practical answer is that the house must be gutted for the insurance companies to inspect the damage and award the homeowner with a check.  And we’re here because these people cannot afford the criminally high rates people are charging to gut the houses.  But that answer doesn’t satisfy the pit in our stomach.  Can anything, anything make this well again?  The horrors ripped through our team with a single slash that brought all of us to our knees at once.  We’re moving in slow motion because we don’t just have to tell our limbs to move, we have to tell our hearts to move first.

On Wednesday we gut a house in the Lower 9th Ward that is so absolutely horrifying that it comes to be known to us simply as “The Wednesday House.”  The water had been 26 feet high in this area--much higher than the single story shotgun house we’re working on, and all the ceilings had deteriorated and fallen down, caking the entire home with an inch of ceiling tile on top of the two inches of mud coating all the personal belongings that were whipped about the house like like towels in a washing machine.  There were three refrigerators that smelled so bad that we didn’t even enter the kitchen.  And when Bill discovered the backed-up sewer line, he almost threw up, and Bill has no sense of smell...

The next day I was supposed to give a short, ten minute Bible devotional to the group over breakfast.  But what on earth could I say?  Despair hung over us like a dark cloud.  “Everything is meaningless,” was about the only verse I could think of that made any sense to me in that moment.  I went out into the church lobby after I had showered and eaten and cried for a good long time.  “What, Jesus, what?”  I asked, “What on earth can I say to these people that will make any sense at all?”

The answer came in the form of 1 Corinthians 15.  “The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another;  and star differs from star in splendor.  So will it be with the resurrection of the dead.  The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;  it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory;  it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;  it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body...  flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  Listen, I tell you a mystery:  we will be changed.  For the imperishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the moral with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the moral with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:  ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’  ‘Where, O Death, is your victory?  Where, O Death, is your sting?’ “

I don’t ever remember addressing a group in a moment that felt more sacred, more solemn, more holy, more visited by the living God.  But... as I spoke over breakfast that next morning something touched all forty of us at once.  New Orleans was no more perishing than Columbus, Ohio--we could just see it more pronounced here.  Even if people did live in these houses again, they were all still perishing.  This world is perishing, but there is an answer, and I believe in that answer with every fiber of my being because I’ve looked him in the face and he’s told me I’m beautiful when I feel ugly, that I’m valuable when I feel worthless, that I’m honorable when I feel dirty, that I’m powerful when I feel empty... and it was later that same year, when we actually moved to New Orleans in the summer of 2006 to do a longer stint of relief work that the staff had a meeting in a trailer at the camp.  There was nothing special about that day except that I was particularly frustrated, bitter, depressed and mean when two friends simply asked this man Jesus to touch my spine, and in an instant an ailment that had frozen my body stiff for years lost its grip on me.  Today, two years later, I can still bend down and touch my toes.  I’ll never forget the look on Mike’s face in that trailer that night, the first time I bent over and put my hands flat on the ground.  I used to bend over and my finger tips got about to my knees and stopped because my spine was frozen together.

A miracle.  It’s a taste now of what is promised later.

What else makes sense in the face of so much death?  If we don’t know what is on the other side of life everything on this side becomes meaningless.  How do you face death without despair?  How do you look post-Katrina New Orleans dead in the eye and say, “I have hope for this place.”  New Orleans in 2006 was a giant, inescapable funeral service, taunting us that this is it.  This is all there is.  

But I didn’t believe it.

It makes sense that Nathan Hale would have thought about these things.  Because people do not die without fear unless they are utterly convinced that they know where they are going.  It is the part of Nathan Hale’s story that makes him so enamoring to us.  But we’ve turned him into a quaint, youthful patriot.  A silly, young soldier with a big heart.  He may have accomplished nothing but he died brave and for that we put up statues and plaster his face on postage stamps and hope all American soldiers grow up to be like him.

Except... young, patriotic boys die frightened in war.  They get up to the finish line and realize this was not what they signed up for.  But Nathan Hale did not.  He died head held high, speaking words of hope and inspiration at a moment when hope seems impossible to imagine.  A young, bright, 21 year-old officer, quickly moving up the ranks--it all ends here and now, and for what?  Nathan Hale was an ambitious guy.  He was never satisfied with where he was at.  As soon as he accomplished one thing, he immediately began to wonder what was next.  And now, with a noose around his neck, when his mission has failed, it was all over for him.  No goodbyes.  No reprieves.  No friend to even walk him to the gallows. Ambitious young men do not like failing.  And they do not like being remembered for those failures.  And yet here he stands, forever remembered, for dying with dignity, grace, and fearlessness.  When he stood there, at the end, looking toward everything he had hoped to accomplish, knowing none of it would come to pass, he surrendered it all.  We don’t do that, do we?  When there is something we want and are longing for and hoping for and dreaming for... when that thing is denied to us, we cry and pout and get angry and disappear for awhile in shame.  But we don’t hold up our open hands and walk out our shortcomings with dignity out in the bright light where everyone can see us.  But this man died empty handed, empty of dreams in a magnificent act of surrender full of dignity.  With so much dignity and grace that he’s held our national attention for over two hundred and thirty years.

1 Corinthians 15 were the words that got Nathan Hale through his grandparents’ funeral.  I find it hard to believe they weren’t the words that got him through his own.  And... there’s something in that, in knowing that Jesus Christ had whispered in Nathan Hale’s ear the same words he whispered in mine that made me feel so connected to Nathan all at once.

“But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

And that was the word that got our team through the end of our first week in New Orleans.  Everything is not meaningless.  Our labor is not in vain.  Now in 2008, parts of New Orleans look like a real city again, real living communities, children going to school, stop lights that work, street signs, and gas stations that are opened.  The chilling orange X’s have been cleaned off the houses, and life is starting over again.  When I got there in May of this year, the first thing I did was roll down my windows on the freeway.

Try as I might, I did not smell mold.

Likewise, Nathan Hale’s sacrafice was not in vain.  George Washington was able to reevaluate his espionage system and make changes where they needed to happen.  And a generation that was pouring out all of its treasures to fight a war for freedoms and opportunities that we take for granted today was suddenly re-inspired by a young man with famous last words and a fire in his heart.

All of us are dying.  None of us will escape it.  Nathan’s death came sooner than anyone would hope for and yet in his greatest failure became a victory and legacy that few of us will ever know.  I... know it’s silly.  But I think about meeting him someday.  I mean, if this whole life-after-death thing is for real then I’m sure I can look him up in the heaven’s yellow pages.  And I’ll knock on his door and say, “Mr. Hale, you don’t know me but...” and hopefully he’ll invite me in and I sure would love to just talk his ear off.  

For a few millennia.
So... this is really personal. Maybe too personal. I wasn't going to post it, but ~IndiThunder told me I should...

Written about my first trip to New Orleans after the storm in January of '06, and about reading Nathan Hale's Bible a few weeks ago.
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:iconaerienne:
aerienne Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009  Student General Artist
Thank you so much for sharing this. :) Like others, this has given me just that little push, that nudge, to start indulging in the bible more. Thank you! You're very talented, intelligent and passionate. I'm sure God will put in a good word for you with Nathan Hale. ;) haha
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:iconcomic-chic:
comic-chic Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2009  Professional
:giggle: Let's hope!
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:iconcuteziangel:
CuteziAngel Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009
I've only recently started using my DA again, and this just shows me how at just the right moment, God will give me just the words I need to hear to remember His promises and love. This was something very unexpected, and very much needed. It was beautiful, touching, and deeply encouraging. Thank you for reminding me how even death is conquered by Christ, and that every freedom I have is because of sacrifices made by men not just in the past, but in the present as well. It's something everyone needs to be reminded of. Thanks for having the heart to post this... most wouldn't. I know I probably wouldn't. So, thank you. :)

On a side note; I'd wondered if you were a Christian, and am so glad to know it's true! :heart:
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:iconcomic-chic:
comic-chic Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2009  Professional
lol, I am. But religion and politics divide people faster than anything else. So as a rule I keep it off my websites. But I figure the journal option on DA is a good place to be real and honest, without anyone feeling like I'm pushing something on them.

Last election, OMG, EVERYONE tried to get me to talk about Politics on my message boards. Staying silent was tough!! But I did it! All I allowed myself was one little "Ron Paul" stamp on my DA Profile until he dropped out of the race. :)

I'm glad that this touched you. I've been surprised by how many people have said that. It's made posting it worth while! :hug:
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:iconminasia:
Minasia Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'll be quite honest, I know exactly why it is that I'm crying. You have a way with words, and yes, that helped. That helped a lot, in fact. But the real reason why this is so amazing, why this is so touching and emotional and the reason why it just grabs me by the guts... Well, it's because I just wish I had something like this to write about, to talk about. Something like this in my life.
I don't believe in God anywhere near as much as you do. I own a Bible, three, actually, I think. But I've never read a single one of them. I should, and I tried, but I gave up. I think I'll do that, this year: what better way to become a true-blood literature student than to read the first work ever published?
I envy your strength, for going down to New Orleans and helping out. I was too young, then, and I live too far up north to do anything. (Canada's pretty high up there, you know.)

But most of all, I envy your passion. PASSION wrote this. Pure, unadulterated passion and desire and dreams. Every fiber of yourself peeks through in this, and in that fashion, this is the most accurate protrait of you I could ever set eyes on.

And so I say this:

It's a pleasure you meet you, Mrs. Innes. I'm sorry I've missed out on so much; I'll do my best to keep up with you.

(I should also thank you for giving me that last push. My father's tried to convince me to read the Bible, as well. I think I can make my family proud, now.)
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:iconcomic-chic:
comic-chic Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2009  Professional
I'm glad this touched you. :blush: When I was 19 I believed that all religions were basically the same, they all essentially taught us how to be good people and coexist, even if the details were different. I'd grown up going to my parents Baptist Church and was a moral person, but... Jesus wasn't any more real to me than Buddah.

Right before I left for college my high school friend challenged me on this belief. She said, 'how do you know all religions are the same? do you even know what all religions teach?" I sort of skirted around the issue a bit, and she called me out and asked if I had ever even read my Bible, and if I hadn't, how did I know whether it could co-exist with other religions. I had a Bible, and had sort of tried to read it, but never got too far.

Well, she got under my skin, and exposed my ignorance, that I was talking more out of some vague concept of social tolerance than out of theological understanding. During my freshman year of college, I started reading my Bible before I went to bed every night, starting with Matthew. It didn't take long before I fell totally in love with this man Jesus. Each time I'd finish a book I'd feel so sad that it was over, but the next one would catch my attention right away. When I got to the Epistles, Paul totally won me over with his depiction of church and I said, 'if church was like this, I'd *want* to go."

1 year later I had read the entire Bible and my life has never been the same. There's more to the story, but that's where it started. :hug:
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:iconminasia:
Minasia Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is sort of funny, how our stories are starting out the same way. Someone challenged my religious beliefs not too long ago--last week, in fact, I think it was--and it's been on my mind since then. She said something like, "You have the potential to be a good catholic. It's a shame you're not taking it any further." It annoyed me because I'd always believed I was a good catholic, though I'd always had... doubts. (The bane of my existence, they are!)

I'm also starting with Matthew. I can't imagine starting out any other way. I'm absorbed by the stories. And it's just all the better for me that I can't stop reading: ever since I've started, my life has just improved... tenfold. Even my dreams have changed! I used to be completely powerless and vulnerable, despite the fact that I tried my hardest to take control. Now, it seems that it comes naturally, and even when I was stabbed two nights ago--in the dream, in the dream!--my body suffered little or no injuries at all.
Even just now, I was imagining my heart, bleeding and leaking. And I bandaged it up. Normally, blood would have seeped through anyways. But everything stayed immaculately white.

You have no idea how much I owe you--or, if nothing else, how much I feel I owe you. You gave me that extra nudge I needed to start running. (And boy, am I running!) The funny thing? I just started reading the Bible to get to 1 Corinthians 15, to see what Nathan Hale was so hyped up about. Now it's just so much more than that.

I'll stop here before I ramble too much. I think I've already blabbed too much anyways. ;D

Thank you. So much. (:
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:icontakadasaiko:
TakadaSaiko Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I read this over the course of the day, being that I had to go to work, but I was nearly in tears when I left, and went right back to it when I got home. It seems rare, nowdays, for me to find someone as passionate as you. Perhaps I'm just not looking in the right places, or maybe people are just too afraid of offending others, but this was amazing. Where, exactly, is his house? I'd love to go someday.

I can imagine what you're talking about when you went into the detail about something as simple as his shoe buckles. Isn't it amazing, the little things that we find that if we have enough respect for someone, enough love, what those seemingly meaningless items have such a great meaning suddenly?

At first, when you swtiched over to talk about New Orleans,I was wondering how on earth you were going to connect the two stories, of if you were, but this touched me deeply. I'm very happy that you published this, because I think it will help other Christians in our walk. I know that it affected me spiritually today. Thank you for that.
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:iconcomic-chic:
comic-chic Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2009  Professional
The Nathan Hale Homestead is in Coventry, CT. It's an adorable little town. I'm glad this encouraged you. It took me awhile to post it, lol.
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:icontakadasaiko:
TakadaSaiko Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Hmm... I may see if my friend wants to take the next spring break we have up that dirrection instead of going on the cruise we'd planned. It'll just be so expensive because we're in Texas... So far from everything.

Well, even if it took you a while, I'm glad that you did. It was very impressive and I was very touched by all of it.
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:iconmandalorianmedjai:
mandalorianmedjai Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
This is truly nathan's destiny. i believe it was not to do great things during his life, but to do great things in the next. He was born to die so that now, here today, he could speak to me, you, and everyone reading this story. And i am looking forward to seeing him in heaven more than anything. you too Lora. i hope to see you there someday too. ;)
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:iconcomic-chic:
comic-chic Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2009  Professional
You should come meet me at a Con! You won't have to wait so long. (err, hopefully!! ^^;)
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:iconmandalorianmedjai:
mandalorianmedjai Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
haha. i should. when and where is it?
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:iconcomic-chic:
comic-chic Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2009  Professional
I guess it depends. The next two I'm doing are Columbus and Charlotte.
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:iconfedoragirl:
fedoragirl Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2008
this was amazing.

I like how the emotion came out with your writing.

and by the way, my Bible's just as messed up as yours. :XD: it's highlighted everywhere, with notes in the margins and drawings from when I was er, too ignorant to know I shouldn't have drawn stuff in it. the cover came off once, and so did the contact paper, lol, so for now, it's taped together. and I can't bear to part with it.
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:icontesana:
Tesana Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2008
Thank you.
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:iconladyadokenai:
Ladyadokenai Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2008
This is really beautiful. I'm not even religious and it touched me.
Helping people is never in vain. :) they have at least a small part of their lives back thanks to all of you who volunteered.
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:iconhuntress1979:
huntress1979 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2008
I'm glad you posted it! Very moving.
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:iconlennan:
lennan Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2008
Lovely and powerful work. I think because it was so personal, that's what makes it so wonderful to read. I could almost feel your tension and excitement over Nathan hale's Bible. Seriously, I think you really should considering publishing some writing, it's wonderful work, and far more enjoyable to read than a lot of stuff I've come across.

I may not be a Christian, but you certainly did show the power that moves you. =)

But one little spelling mistake I think I may have found:

"For the imperishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the moral with immortality."

Did you mean mortal rather than moral?
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:iconpurplefire40:
Purplefire40 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
This was so very well done and I appreciate the encouragement that was offered here. Thank you very much! I need to go read I Corinthians 15 again now.
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:iconimalshen:
Imalshen Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008
One word: Deep. I'm glad you put that up. I feel and think like that so often and I never really knew how to explain it to people. I'm glad to know I'm not alone.
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:icontwistingmyarm:
TwistingMyArm Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008
Very strong, my dear. I am not a Christian, but to witness the passion of you and your brothers and sisters of Christ is moving and oh so very powerful.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us. :heart:
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:iconthiefree:
Thiefree Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008
Thank you.

I've been reading The Dreamer for a while, and I had no idea that this was a part of your life.

I'm struggling with my faith right now, but everything you've written here makes sense to me. I'm still holding on to hope. Thank you. x x
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:iconkateavalanche:
kateavalanche Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
I'm not religious, but own a copy of the Bible, and try as I might, I've never really felt inspired when I read it.

This inspires me beyond what I can say.

Even if this was bordering on more personal than you'd normally be ok sharing, I'm so glad you did. Thank you. :)
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:iconx-aka-x:
x-Aka-x Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008
You have... no idea how much this made me cry.
Not only has it rejuvenated a bit of my suffering faith, but when I went to read 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15, I copied down a bunch of quotes from it that were inspiring. Then, when combined with this, it gave be the most unbelievable hope.

Thanks. <3
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:iconcomic-chic:
comic-chic Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008  Professional
:hug:

You know you're the best, kiddo. Don't you?
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:iconx-aka-x:
x-Aka-x Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2008
Haha, thanks, for the much-needed fresher-uper. :3
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:iconjaderaven93:
JadeRaven93 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008  Hobbyist
Oh, I also looked up the verse with "In my father’s house, there are many rooms... I am going there to prepare a place for you" because I was wondering where that was too. It is in John 14:2.
BibleGateway.com is such a helpful site =p
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:iconjaderaven93:
JadeRaven93 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008  Hobbyist
Beautiful... Just beautiful...

It's things like this that strengthen my own faith in God. And I'm definitely marking that verse in my Bible now ;)

Thank you so much for sharing this, Lora.
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:iconwhiteangeldreams:
WhiteAngelDreams Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008  Student Writer
I'm an atheist, and at times when hearing of crazy fundamentalists and people condemning others to hell, I despair of religion. Then I talk to/hear of/read about someone like you and my faith in humanity is restored. It makes me happy that people can still have religion and faith and belief in their lives to get them through the dark times.

In short, thanks for sharing this. :)
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:iconmidenian-lostie:
midenian-lostie Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008
I'm an INFJ. The proud and the few! *raises sword*

I found 1 Cor. 15:55-56 on an old grave in Williamsburg about a year ago, which was the first time I'd seen it. I started tearing up as I read it out loud to my mom and sister. And...yeah, there's probably a lot more I could talk about. But suffice to say thank you for sharing this with us, it was really what I needed to read this morning. :)

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.
Daniel 3:17-18

~Midenian
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:iconmegsyv:
MegSyv Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
This is very powerful stuff, Lora. I'm glad you shared it with us.
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:iconsnitter:
Snitter Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008  Professional Writer
Oh WOW....Lora, you really need to consider writing as a career. You have such an amazing talent for it and, I swear, if your postings weren't always so personal, I'd have submitted them for DDs. You need to write biographical nonfiction, dear. You have to.

I'd also suggest you using the first half and putting that as an "extra" for a printed issue of the Dreamer....its so excellent to get a peek into your creative process and I'm sure the readers will love to see how personal this story is to you.

Keep writing, Lora. Its EXCELLENT stuff!
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:iconcomic-chic:
comic-chic Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008  Professional
lol. Don't only like, important people write biographies...? ^^; But I'm glad that *you* like my work! *You* of all people, crazy writer girl! :hug:
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:iconsnitter:
Snitter Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2008  Professional Writer
Nope!! Take a look at creative non-fiction...anyone can write a book about themselves, or at least published short stories in magazines. And your fiction is good enough for that, bebe!! I think you totally should do it. Hell, I'll send you addresses for magazines, even!! Its amazing stuff and I really think you can do something with straight writing (no comics, etc., although the comics are GREAT!).

HA HA HA!! And you better know how super critical I get whenever I read someone else's stuff....so I was really, REALLY impressed!!! :XD:
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:iconladyexcelsior:
LadyExcelsior Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008
thanks so much for sharing this with us - wicked powerful! I got goosebumps reading that verse....
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:iconvisual-alien:
visual-alien Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008
Thank you for sharing this.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that all of our daily struggles and trials, our lives, are not in vain . . .
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:icontwilightunicorn:
TwilightUnicorn Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Normally I'm not one to say stuff like this, but I really needed to read that. I'll spare you the details, but I've been really...well, "depressed" isn't quite the right word. More like overwhelmed and out of sorts. But when I was reading your writing it was like things finally started making sense again. I will say that hearing about the verses Nathan Hale (a man I've admired since I was little) marked when his grandparents died was especially moving, since I'm going through something similar at the moment.

So thank you for writing this, and thank you to your friend for making you post it.
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:iconbaalam:
Baalam Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008  Student
Wow, that was beautiful. I don't know what to say.. just really moving.
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:iconiwrin:
Iwrin Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
It's beautiful and really moving. And inspiring. I need to favourite it at least and maybe someday read it again.
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:iconblackwingedwolfie:
BlackWingedWolfie Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2008
I greatly enjoyed reading all that you wrote. I may not share your beliefs but i can respect all that you say and feel and show in this. I can only imagine what it was like to go down to New Orleans and, as you say, imagination is no substitute to actually seeing it. You have my respect for going. I can't honestly say whether or not i would have had i been asked to go or given the chance.

I loved the imagery of you hunched over the bible with your nose practically against the page. It made me smile.
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:iconimperial-obsession:
Imperial-Obsession Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow. :3 I really do enjoy reading your writings, Lora.

"I mean, if this whole life-after-death thing is for real then I’m sure I can look him up in the heaven’s yellow pages. And I’ll knock on his door and say, “Mr. Hale, you don’t know me but...” and hopefully he’ll invite me in and I sure would love to just talk his ear off.

For a few millennia."

I hear ya, love. <3

Quite honestly, I don't believe in God as much as I should (a lot of things in recent times have made me question), but this in and of itself is quite inspiring. Thank you.
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:iconnami-satu:
Nami-Satu Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2008
I respect your bravery in sharing this. I can't pretend I completely understand, but one day I want to be able to see God's glory in a way as personal as this. Thank you so much for putting this up! It's given me a lot to think about.
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:iconthedauphine:
TheDauphine Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2008
Wow, that was very moving. Thank you for posting it. :)
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:iconmy-written-word:
My-Written-Word Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2008
I do not know words eloquent enough to tell you how much this has moved me. I can only say, "Thank you." And I do. Thank you, very much for sharing it with me.
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:iconpixarjunkie:
pixarjunkie Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2008
so moving. I'm so glad you posted it! I've always wondered about looking up people in "the heaven's yellow pages..." :)
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:iconkira-ani-mcgrath:
Kira-Ani-McGrath Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Whew! That was really moving. I'm glad your friend encouraged you to post it. The most personal stories are the ones that have the deepest impact! =)
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