Q and A with Carmen

Good Questions
Questions & Answers

By the late Carmen Cameron*
[as it appeared in the September 2010 Newsletter]

There is nothing I like more than a good question about the Course.  And by “good question“, I mean a thought provoking one – a question that makes me reassess what I currently believe and perhaps come to see it in a new light. As a result, we have a very interactive study group of Course students here in Louisville where everyone is encouraged to share their insights and questions. It is also a very diverse group with people from widely varying religious backgrounds so we get a lot of very insightful questions and I’ve been making a note of them for the last 15 years. 
Question: While I understand that fear isn’t real intellectually, I’m still having a hard time dealing with fear emotionally.  Do you have any thoughts to share that might help me?

Answer:     That is an absolutely crucial and huge question – with, what I expect, is a uniquely personal answer. But I have prayed about how to answer it and share these thoughts which have worked best for me:

            The first thing to remember is that it is our habitual response – usually supported by our culture, our pride, and even our own bodies – to try to master fear. For the most part, the attempt to “master fear” is to repress or to deny it, leaving its source undiscovered and, therefore, unhealed. So the “mastery of fear” is futile and (according to the Course) counterproductive to the Atonement. The proper course for healing, ACIM says, is not through the “mastery of fear” (which is impossible) but through the mastery of love, instead. But what exactly does that mean?

            All fear is premised on ONE belief: that I am alone and on my own. In other words, separate from God, therefore, unlike the way that He created me. And so any thought to “master fear” is to affirm not only that there is something real to fear but that something not of God has the power to harm something that He created – that there is a force more powerful than God; a will opposed to – and able to – dominate His Will. Absurd.

            To me, to “master love” is to train myself into the habit of consciously reaffirming my choice to be connected to Love (my favorite prayer is: “I let Love decide.”), no matter what appears to be before me – One fear at a time. “Big” or “small” doesn’t matter. And from that one simple different perspective than what the ego’s world has taught me, I can look with fearless clarity on the source of fear to let it be dissolved in Light.

            For me, it’s been a process of “baby steps” toward Love – of testing my connection to the power that created “the universe of universes”, and then just judging by the results (which are far more convincing than any words); A gradual – and organic – path of learning that I am safe, no matter what seems before me (Or within me, for that matter.)

            Or, to paraphrase the introduction of The Rules for Decision: “Decisions [of whether or not to go into fear] are continuous. You do not always know when you are making them. But, with a little practice in the ones you recognize, a set begins to form which sees you through the rest. It is not wise to let yourself become preoccupied with every step you take. The proper set, adopted consciously each time you [FEAR], will put you well ahead.”

            This is “the purification process” – the testing of what ACIM says – its truly “practical application” – One fear at a time. Until the last temptation to believe that anything not of God could hurt me – and nothing of God ever would – must simply fade away as the tiny, mad idea that is its premise becomes increasingly crystal clear and then is eventually rejected altogether.

            The results prove that you and I are safe. So safe that eventually, with your and my experience of that safety through our conscious (intellectual) reconnectimg to Love, you and I can get it emotionally that there is nothing at all to fear and then we’re almost home.

            But in the meanwhile, though, we must remember that it is unwise to “become preoccupied with every step” for that will lead us back to guilt and fear. So please be gentle with yourself along the journey. Each tiny choice for Love is progress!  For not even the smallest effort is wasted, ever.

            Just trust in that. And, if you have the time, please read Lesson 109, “I rest in God.” It has always been incredibly helpful to me in my own personal times of crisis.

            I pray this has been helpful to you. Your progress, dear, is also mine!


* Carmen Cameron, who is a founding member of Course in Miracles Society, has been teaching classes in A Course in Miracles since 1994.  She was a presenter at the 2009 Miracles Conference in San Francisco and presented again at the 2011 Conference. Carmen’s website is: http://peaceful-path.blogspot.com/

Scribing by Sun~Rose


Jesus Expanding The Miracle Principles
Given In His Course In Miracles
original edition

as received and transcribed by Sun~Rose*
[as it appeared in the September 2010 Newsletter]


TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: The text is taken from the JCIM edition of A Course In Miracles.  The Course is a Miracle in itself, and I have so much appreciation for Helen Schucman’s ability to hear and express His Voice with such supreme beauty.

I have not changed the Course text at all, except as it is interspersed with Jesus’ current Guidance on it.

The Course text is in bold face and slightly larger font.  The Guidance is in normal type, slightly smaller.

In His Guidance here, He has asked Me to capitalize the pronouns You and We as an acknowledgement of the Divinity of All of Us, an acknowledgement of Equality, an expression of His Love and respect for You.   When You see the word ‘You’  capitalized in the Guidance, know that He is not just speaking to You, He is honoring You.


(1972 manuscript as given to Hugh Lynn Cayce
by Helen Schucman and William Thetford)

Chapter 1

I. Principles of Miracles


23. Miracles rearrange perception, and place the levels of perception in true perspective. This heals at ALL levels, because sickness comes from confusing the levels.

 It is most confusing to think that sickness, sin, death, lack, pain discord, and so on, are real.  We might say that it is absolute confusion to think that unreality is Real.  It is so confusing because it is senseless, even to some ruled by the ego, to think that God, Who is Love itself, could give anything less than Love Itself.
Yet God has never felt betrayed for Perfect Love sees only Its Own Presence.
May 31, 2006
Your commitment is not yet total, and that is why you still have more to learn than to teach.What is total commitment?  At first My answer may seem odd, but hear Me out.  There has – in this world – been one benefit alone to all the wars been fought, countless wounded lost to death, and that is this: that every confirmed atheist – or church-going non-believer – when confronted with the fear that causes one to wet themselves – the unbeliever reaches out to he knows not What.
Yet at that moment certain is he that Something unseen is there and quite capable of help.  And miracles have happened for this unbelieving one as surely as for those who already walk with God.
When your equilibrium stabilizes, you will be able to teach as much as you learn, which will give you the proper balance.


Since this is learned within the doing, while You learn, I must be your point of stability.  Take My hand, and do not let it go.  As We stay Joined, You will be able to walk above the most tumultuous waters – first on land and then at sea.
Meanwhile, remember that no effort is wasted, for unless you remember this, you cannot avail yourselves of MY efforts, which ARE limitless.

Ah, yes.  This fact seems so wonderful to a world where everything is wasted effort unless its motive is a Gift of Love.  While many of You have labored long and unselfishly to bless another – and the fruits are very long in coming – take heart and join your works with Mine, which as I said are limitless and ever-fruitful as Reality.  This is the stuff out of which come unexpected healings and transformations – sudden shifts of perception where they were certainly not expected.

When your work seems more than You can bear – no end in sight – yoke yourself with Me and remember that I said: “-My yoke is easy and My burden Light.”5  I meant that quite literally.  It is Light that I carry to You – as You – and Light It Is that You will bear along with Me.

June 1, 2006 (about 4:30 a.m.)

Only eternity is real. Why not use the illusion of time constructively?  I asked You to get up and listen at this early hour because M needs someone holding watch for her, stating the Presence of Life, right where she is, right now.  This is a constructive use of time, and your willingness to arise through the pain you are suffering is, indeed, a Creation of Love.  And here is perhaps a good place to speak of these Creations of Love, which are all that is real or permanent about what You call the human experience.
Creations are usually thought of as being things.  They are not, although they are very tangible and very visible to those who have the feelings to care and the eyes to see.  Creations are … yes, You’re laughing.
(Note: I’d found a pause in what I was hearing because I thought it was going to be hard to comprehend what He was going to say; You know, some deep Truth, far beyond the human ken.  There’s a cd I made last evening before church with the song Living Love on it, that I was barely hearing until I paused the Flow of His Ideas by thinking I couldn’t hear.  As He said: “Creations are …” … the words “Living Love” were sung, completing the introduction of the idea!)
Creations are Living Love.  Let that sit for a minute. …  …  Okay.  This is not hard to comprehend.  Would the Essence of Life be a difficult thing?  No.  It is simple and natural.
Every kindness – every thoughtfulness expressed – is Living Love: the True Substance of All Things, All Ideas of God – whether seen as people, things, actions, feelings, ideas, supplyAll is Living Love.  Your willingness to rise is not just the nice gesture of a friend, but the absolute stuff of Life Itself.  It is a Gift of Life Extension- no that is not the right word.  Life is Eternal; it … is forever Extended by God.  However, the use gives the idea that Life could be truncated.  No.  We will use … Life Energy.  And this is what Quantum Touch is about.
Just as when the water in the pump basket drops low, it needs an infusion from the hose to allow it to run properly again, usually blowing the air out of the system, just so is the Gift of Living Love.
This is not so hard to understand, is it?  And yes, Christian Science treatments might be called maximal infusions or Gifts because of their clear – as well as devoted – intention to heal.
These infusions are as capable of restoring Supply to Its Natural Function – as they are of restoration of the body- of the Experience of Body.
I’ve said many times in a different venue that You all are embodied forever.  Your Body, then, must be Ever-Perfect, and so it is only a question of restoring your experience of It – of Its Ever-Perfection.

*Sun~Rose is the scribe of the recently published book,



 BOTH now available on amazon.com

Susan Dugan

Come With Nothing to Find Everything

by Susan Dugan*
[as it appeared in the September 2010 Newsletter]



Catching a quick bite to eat last weekend our daughter informed us that a friend’s older sister, a college sophomore, had been killed that morning along with her boyfriend in a rollover car accident on a lonesome stretch of highway. Waves of emotion washed over me. I vividly recalled sitting next to the girl’s mother at a soccer game two years ago when she received a call on her cell phone from this same daughter who had just been involved in a fender-bender in a nearby shopping center parking lot. Her hushed voice on the phone attempting to calm her new driver down, the worry lines deepening on her forehead seemed to offer a preview for me–then mother of a high school freshman–of the potholes that lay but a few twists and turns down the parenting road.


I recalled running into her husband and their younger daughter at Starbucks, chatting about the latest failure of the refs to call dangerous illegal moves on our daughters’ basketball team, violations that resulted in a variety of injuries. He ordered a latte, I think, a double chai for his little girl, completely unaware of the minefield awaiting them a scant two years down the highway, when a huge chunk of all he most valued abruptly and inexplicably vanished.


I do not know these people well. Even so; I could barely get a grip on myself the other night. I am at an age where random, brutal things are beginning to attack the bodies of my contemporaries, at an age where signs of physical deterioration are just beginning to gain on me, where the mirror seems daily to reveal further proof of my impending demise. Where every goodbye to my daughter as she takes off in her little blue car feels like a wrenching leap of faith. Because like everyone else on the planet I am at an age where a momentary lapse in focus made by brains designed for lapses can trigger tragedy and the “premature” death of two children four parents loved with all their hearts. 


I have been a bit a crybaby lately, unable to “deny the denial of truth” as A Course in Miracles would have us do. To deny the idea that we exist only as finite beings striving to survive in a competitive world in which our every gain means another’s loss. To deny that original denial of truth we made when we followed the ego into a fragmented world made mad by the illusion of guilt over the preposterous idea of separation from our source. Where pleasure comes in temporary packages that—like treasures enclosed in children’s birthday presents–fades almost immediately upon opening. Where our self-worth springs from unreliable external affirmation rather than what we are. Where the “love” we experience through bodies usually fails us over time but sometimes violently combusts without warning. Where our days are numbered and our passions all too quickly burn away.


That is what I am struggling to accept this morning as I attempt to embrace A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 133, “I will not value what is valueless.” The shocked faces of this mother and father and their daughters flashing slide-show like in my brain, interspersed with images of my own daughter who has seemed so distant and elusive lately and will all too soon be heading off to college if all goes well. Looking at just how much I value the ego’s story. How deeply I identify with this horrible tragedy that has seemed to envelop this innocent family. How real it seems. How its brutality nonetheless preserves the notion of separate, special individuals vying for happiness and survival in an impossible world. A notion I can more easily accept and forgive when it involves looking at my attraction to receiving acknowledgement for hard work or lusting after a trip to Europe, for example. But find much harder to accept when it involves the bodies of a family that too closely mirrors my own and brings me face to face with a loss I doubt the self I still think I am could recover from.   


When I allow myself to accept the help always available from our loving inner teacher I remember that A Course in Miracles does not ask us to forfeit the world’s pleasures or deny that we treasure our children and our own bodies and psyches above all else. It does ask us to be honest about how much we depend on those bodies to feed an inner sense of peace, or blame them for disrupting it. A fragile peace a single moment of distraction on a high-speed freeway can obliterate. To begin to understand that a world made as a literal projection of the guilt in the one mind over the belief that it separated from its creator is based on the lie that eternal loving wholeness could be divided against itself.


There is no safety here. The lesson, too, does not mince words about the impossibility of ever finding enduring happiness in this world.


“This course does not attempt to take from you the little that you have. It does not try to substitute utopian ideas for satisfactions which the world contains. There are no satisfactions in the world.”


The Course offers us criteria by which to measure all things we think we want and value, versus the one unified, indivisible, stable love we think we forever pushed away, the one love that will solve all our problems and heal all our apparent losses.


“Each choice you make brings everything to you or nothing. Therefore, if you learn the tests by which you can distinguish everything from nothing, you will make a better choice.”  


  1. Does it last? If it doesn’t; it is of the ego; a projection of the guilt in the one mind designed to keep us searching outside ourselves for the innocence we think we lost. Instead of returning to the one mind where the original choice for the illusion of separation began and choosing again for an inner teacher that remembers our innocence for us.
  2. Can I really get it from outside myself? For a little while; maybe. But no one or thing can ever fill the hole in our proverbial hearts we carry over our perceived loss of God’s eternal love, calm our fear of punishment, or mend our tattered mind. In this world based on the unconscious idea that we have destroyed love we must constantly seek outside ourselves for a substitute, giving to get, and further enhancing a sense of guilt over literally getting away with murder.
  3. What is its purpose? To further the ego’s case for separation and prove I exist at your expense or to return me to the mind where I can choose to remember my true, one, loving self that could never triumph over another or lose the innocence it has never left.
  4. Does it induce guilt? Informed by the ego mind we will value that which increases our disquieting sense of getting away with something–reminiscent of the horrible guilt we feel over that original choice for separation—because it appears to prove we exist. And we will attempt to get rid of our guilt by blaming it on someone or thing outside ourselves to prove ourselves the innocent victim, still autonomous but worthy of our creator’s forgiveness.


Over and over again A Course in Miracles tells us our peace of mind depends on which inner teacher we choose: the advocate for separation, fear, guilt, death, and punishment, or the advocate for the truth that we remain resting in God, dreaming of exile. I know this to be true. I know that I will find the solace of my real self when I am willing to get out of the way and receive it because I have found it before.


“Heaven itself is reached with empty hands and open minds, which come with nothing to find everything and claim it as their own.”


Again and again I have experienced the peace of mind forgiveness brings while looking with our inner teacher at illusions. But this one just seems too close for comfort. There is this sense of having somehow dodged a bullet meant for me and mine; this time, anyway. I am afraid for myself, afraid for my daughter, afraid for us all. Feeling the pain of these parents grieving two lives just getting started cut short I am a crybaby this morning. Resisting the truth that only my thoughts can hurt me when confronted by such graphic “evidence” to the contrary. Fused in my fear with their grief in this dream I continue to dream.


There is too much “something” in my mind at the moment to find everything. Too much guilt; too much fear. This does not make me a bad A Course in Miracles student, I remind myself; just a frightened one. And it shows me just how attached I still am to what the Course calls this “special self.” This finite individual identity I think I have mistakenly traded for infinite, indivisible love. Something I must observe with help from our inner teacher to learn I want to let it go. And so once more pleading with a voice outside the dream to want to find a better way, I wait.


*Susan Dugan is a student and teacher of A Course in Miracles living in Denver, Colorado. She shares her journey practicing the Course’s extraordinary forgiveness in an ordinary life on her blog: http://www.foraysinforgiveness.com. A collection of her forgiveness essays has been accepted for publication by O Books. 

Poems by J.Michaels

The Fly in My Eye

By J. Michaels*
[as it appeared in the September 2010 Newsletter]


(The Preface from The Fly in My Eye poetry collection)

Impunity is defined as freedom from unpleasant consequences. If that is truly the case, then we all must live lives of unconscious impunity. By that I mean although we continually experience the consequences of the material life, we do so without being aware of the source of many of those consequences. We are then left to our own devices to try to understand the true causes of seemingly random effects. This is the proverbial blind spot inherent within the narrow confines of the human perceptual experience.

We seem to be at the mercy of the world and all of its myriad and random occurrences: An earthquake includes us and we are its victim due to its seeming enormity and invincibility. A friend turns on us for no apparent reason and we are left to choose between blaming and rationalization. And although we spend an inordinate amount of time trying to control our lives and those in our care, we all know in the recesses of our mind that control is simply not possible in such a world, and it scares the crap out of us! Yet we cling to this vast uncertainty and continue to expect it to improve. But we know it won’t. It hasn’t for centuries and the same old uncertainty continues to rule the world. So we turn our hope to fantasies in an attempt to live better in that delusion, even though we know that eventually it will turn on us as well, one day fatally.

 It is quite incongruous that we spend so much time indulging in fantasy (TV, video games, movies, pornography, nocturnal dreams, obsessions, wishes, etc.) but we are unable to accept the notion that the one remaining layer of our “reality” may be fantasy as well. If we are 90% immersed in dreams and fantasy, could we not be just as easily 100% immersed? The main tool of recognition in the material world is perception and it always represents as a subjective stance. Each seeming individual perceives the same time, space, object, subject, or situation differently, primarily based on their own perceptual filters culled from a limited knowledge and perspective.

So along comes this old guy who tries to tell you that this entire world may be a dream and you respond with, what the hell is he talking about? What I speak of is the notion that our so-called waking state is simply another level of dreaming and behind that final layer of fantasy lies a reality based on the truth. I, like you, have but two real choices; believe in the validity of this world with all its uncertainty, contradiction, absurdities, violence, and discord or allow my mind to accept the possibility that another, better reality exists. The only better reality I know of is the one conceived of by our divine Creator. Many of us, although the form does vary, believe in a Supreme Being who has done just that, yet we relegate that notion to the backrooms of our mind, residing very closely to our belief in other nice to have things.

One of the attributes of an omnipotent Creator is an all-knowing nature and that implies a single unified Mind. Few would argue that such a Creator would make as big a mess of things as we see in the material world. So if the Creator’s Creation is a better reality and we are all, as Children of God, present in that single, unified Mind, is it not conceivable that the totality of the perceptual world is one big illusion? An illusion, dream, or fantasy made and maintained by the sleeping part of the one Mind? How else do we reconcile our inherent divine nature as children of God with the treatment we receive as humans? Is God vindictive? Cannot He handle the job? Are these questions any less absurd than the notion that this perceptual world is not His, but rather our own limited mental invention?

I realize the enormity of trying to convince anyone of the fallacy of a life whose validity is continually reinforced by a constant barrage of sensory data.  Yet we all know intuitively that life is composed of much more than sensory input. If it were not, we would fail to experience the most precious of life’s gifts; namely love, joy, peace, freedom and completion or fulfillment. So if you deem yourself ready to explore the possibility of a divine reality created by God and further to follow a path of potentialities engendered by that choice, I stand ready to lend a hand. I am a much simplified man, lately ridden of frail beliefs and notions that confine me to only the accepted forms of reality. I have seen, with my own inner connection to that one Mind, many wonderful aspects of the divine world. Yet I cannot convince you by means of sight or sound or feel, but only by the certainty you will experience upon encountering the same truth that has graced my life.

I have come to recognize the fly in my eye; that reflection left by my own projection and perceptual delusion. That picture of me and my world is simply what I have shown myself to be true. A picture painted by a small, sleeping part of my mind, an errant thought if you will, that I allowed to deceive me for want of a “better reality”. Remove the fly from your eye, if you deem it timely, and together we will explore those other, better possibilities.

The Fly in My Eye

What’s gone awry

What’s gone awry

What’s gone awry

I’ve got something in my eye

Don’t move, I’ll get it

It might be a lonely fly

That sits upon my eye

Don’t squish him, we’re buddies

Though of different species we abide

I‘ve grown accustomed to his loneliness

And he, to the fly in my eye


Copyright 2010 J. Michaels

J. Michaels
Writer, Storyteller & Poet
Blog: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/theovernightpoet/

Gaff ~ Thoughts of a Fisherman

GAFF and The Storm
Thoughts of an Old Fisherman
Lorena R. Peter, Ph.D.*
[as it appeared in the September 2010 Newsletter]


                     Gaff stood under the shelter at the seaward end of the fishing pier in Kure Beach. The pier was so long that standing at the end was like being in a boat out on the water, minus the pitch and yawl. Black clouds roiled in the sky above. Lightening arced from cloud to cloud, adding to the drama of the scene. Suddenly, lightning struck water not far from them.

“Them” consisted of several fishermen reluctant to leave their spots on the pier, fascinated by the show put on by nature. “Them” was Gaff, Shirley, and Charlie.

            Gaff continued to watch the light show as he spoke to those with ears to hear. “You think this was the way life first came to this planet? Lightning hit the sea of potential?”

            Shirley was standing next to him. “Hunh? What do you mean ‘sea of potential’? That’s just the ocean out there got struck by lightning.”

            On the other side of Shirley, Charlie laughed. “My hunch is that something in that ocean got fried by the charge.”

            Gaff laughed too. “You mean we can set our hooks for fried fish this morning?”

            Charlie guffawed.

            Shirley pulled her slicker close and snapped it shut against the rain that was beginning to pelt the boards above them. The wind drove heavy drops at an angle acute enough to reach most of the way to the bench at the back of the lean-to. “We’ll get stuck out here if we stay much longer. Rain’s starting for real now.”

            Charlie leaned around her to get a better view of Gaff. “You are an odd bird, Gaff. What do you mean “sea of potential’? That caught my attention. I know you well enough to know there’s something deep behind that question. You’re always passing along new ideas with your odd-ball comments.”

            Gaff leaned out from under the shelter to look at the sky above them and then moved back into the shelter at the next strike of lightning. He wiped the rain from his face. “I was just wondering if the first thing on the planet was the water filled with all kinds of molecules and atoms that had the potential of becoming living, breathing creatures. Then the lightning came along and zapped them together to form some kind of life.”

            “Kind of like Frankenstein?”

            Charlie laughed. “Or like the paddles that EMS used to restart my heart last year when it didn’t want to work.”

            Gaff nodded. “Like Frankenstein. Like the paddles. That’s a good simile, Charlie. Mind if I use it sometime?”

            Charlie grinned. “Nope. Be my guest.”

            Gaff looked far out to the horizon where the real light show was going on. “If you think about the earth as your mother.”

            “Like you always talk about Mother Water?”

            “Like that. If you think about the sky as your father.”

            Charlie’s head jerked up to look at the clouds and lightning and nodded. “Father Sky.”

            Shirley sat down on the bench against the back wall of the shelter, prepared to wait the storm out. “My preacher’s always talking like God’s a real person taking up residence in the sky. We pray with our hands held out, palms up, to accept His bounty.”

            Gaff glanced back at her. “To accept His bounty and maybe to offer Him your self?”

            She thought a moment. “I reckon you’re right. That does make sense, to offer your soul up for Him to heal.”

            “Not only to be healed, but to be used in His service, I think.”

            She frowned. “I’ll have to think about that. Hmmm, maybe that’s the part of his sermon that I didn’t understand.”

            The lightning crashed into the water again with a thunderous crack. Gaff turned in time to see another bolt going from cloud to cloud. “I love the excitement of the storm. The beauty and the drama. This’s been going on since the beginning of this planet; a love affair between the earth and the sky expressed in electricity.”

            Charlie grinned. “Resulting in fried fish.”

            “And Frankenstein’s creature?”

            Gaff looked back to see Shirley laughing. “If that’s what you want to call us humans.”

            “That explains my mother-in-law.” Charlie grinned.

            “You wait till I see her! You know she lives next door to me.”

            “Is that a threat, Shirley?”

            They laughed.

            Gaff watched the storm in silence for a while, awed by the power of the Universe. He thought about how each life is a sea of endless potential that can be jolted into something wonderful. Lightning crashed into the water again. “That process of creation required trauma to the water, the violent joining of two elements: lightning and water. The energy running through the water could join together some of the separate atoms and molecules floating in it to form a different organism. Is it always like that, I wonder.”

            Charlie cocked his head. “What are you going on about now?”

            “What I was thinking is how the EMS used trauma to restart your heart. Here, lightning passes through the water with a crash that could combine some of the molecules into new life forms. If you see each human life as a sea of endless potential, does it require trauma for the person to realize his potential? That’s the question.”

            Charlie looked out to the clouds over the horizon and finally nodded. When he spoke, his voice was serious. “It took that heart attack for me to see what’s important in life… in my life. I used to think that a new car was important. Or adding that room to my house so it was bigger than my brother George’s. I used to regret that I couldn’t give my wife the kinds of things that George gave his wife.” He stood in silence for some time.

            Gaff waited for more.

            Charlie nodded as he watched the storm. Was he agreeing with some voice in his head? “George got divorced this year. Surprised me because I thought they were doing so well. Turns out they were not happy behind the closed doors of that big house of theirs.

“But that heart attack and the possibility that I might die made me realize that I hadn’t seen enough sunrises and sunsets. I hadn’t caught enough fish. I hadn’t played enough hide-and-seek with my grandchildren. I hadn’t told my wife how much I love her– not enough.”

            “Is that when you retired?”

            “Yep. Retired to spend more time with my family. If I only have a little time left on this planet, I don’t want to waste it working to buy stuff that I’ll leave behind. I’d rather grow the relationships and the love that make me feel good.”

            Gaff smiled. “That’s a fine legacy to leave, better than a pile of stuff.” He was interrupted by the crash of thunder. “Don’t forget the fish. You retired so you could catch more fish, too.”

            “Not really. I retired so I could spend more time with my crazy friend who talks about how every life is a vast sea of endless potential. The trauma of that heart attack and the realization that I could die any minute was what it took for me to make something better out of the life I had. That trauma made me see the potential in my sea and to see that it isn’t endless.”

            “Seems like you gained an appreciation for the gifts you’d been given. And realized that it’s a waste of time to compare yourself with other people.”

            Charlie nodded solemnly.

            Shirley’s voice came from the seat behind them. “You guys are too damned serious for the pier. Want to get serious, go back to the beach.”


* Lorena Peter, Ph.D., writes entertaining mysteries, romances and wisdom books. All have strong spiritual underpinnings and paranormal elements. She blends a medical intuition and healing practice (and travel) with her writing. For more information go to www.lorenapeter.com. There you will see photographs of locations discussed in Gaff as well as a chapter for your perusal. You may contact her on Facebook. For her understanding of the Course, she thanks Carmen Cameron and the class in Louisville, KY.