29 Aug 1996
God, Trust, and Spirit

Hello Ben. Up front, before I write anything else... thank you! I cannot begin to explain to you what a help your web pages and response to my email have been! Thank you!

You have my permission to share my letters with anyone you think needs to see them.

In your letter of 8/23, you asked if I could tell the difference between a good presence and a bad one. I would have to say, that depends. Some are really obvious -- like the demons that attacked me when I prayed for my brother. But some presences feel just like people, and I don't get a sense that they are necessarily bad. The presences who stuck around for 3 days after the "light-show" I described in my last letter -- they didn't seem particularly evil, just intrusive. As if several strangers walked in the front door of my home, insisted on staying, and just followed me around. Granted, that in itself, is more than just rude. But I didn't know what to do about it then, much less what to *think* about it. This didn't fit into my picture of a "rational" universe. Demons and spirits belonged with the hobgoblins at Halloween. And *IF* they existed -- which I was perfectly willing to admit was a possibility -- they belonged somewhere out in the spirit world, doing whatever it is spirits do. Not in *my* world, and certainly not in my head.

You asked if I thought the light-show was evil. Not at all. It was very beautiful and mystifying. But it was completely outside my experience. The light-show and the presences simply scared the daylights out of me. I didn't know if I was in danger, or what might happen next. I didn't know what they wanted. I didn't know what I was supposed to do about it. I knew it was all real. But real what? I was getting so many "messages" that I could not sort it all out, so I tried to shut them off as best I could. I wasn't very successful. The only thing I knew to do was pray. (No doubt at the time, God wasn't hearing a lot from me that was very coherent. Mostly just the word *HELP* screamed at the top of my psychic lungs.)

I knew then, if I could just get over my fear, I would be able to discern much more clearly what I was to do. But overcoming the fear of all this took many years. I have been afraid of it, not only because it was strange, and sometimes threatening, but because I did not trust God.

You asked if the drinking and depression started before or after my prayers for my brother and the subsequent demon attack. After. Frightening implication. That something might have attached to me that caused my depression. And not very fair, seeing as we're supposed to have free will. There are enough things in the physical world to deal with.

In your last letter you said, "The fact you rejected this trap and turned from the tempter to God as a pure *choice* indicates that your preference for God is karmic in you -- it did not originate in this lifetime." That makes sense to me. Early in this dangerous life, I learned to trust no one, least of all God, Who abandoned me early on to certain evil. Or at least I was convinced of that. (I still tell God the doctrine of free will should not apply when children will be harmed. And yes, I know the implications.) But I was always of two minds concerning God. Loving and fearing. My steady prayer has been, "I believe; please help my unbelief."

But anyway, when you don't trust, everything scares you. I've spent a lifetime making myself do things that frightened me. Until they didn't. Stubbornness. Determination. Foolishness. And always prayers to God, "Help me..! Are You going to help me..? Alright, dammit! Then *don't* help me..! Help me, please!"

It *is* funny, now. But it's been a long road. You mentioned several different types of helpful spirits: Guides, guards, guardians. Interesting. But I wish this one would talk to me.

It's not that I don't get anything. I mentioned the occasional something specific that comes through. But it's more on the lines of nudging, urging. Not a direct message such as, "Trudy, call your sister." The problem with nudging is that it's not very much information.

In February, Simon, a good friend of mine, died. Six months before he died, I dreamt he had a heart attack. I wrote a letter, told him I dreamt he was ill and asked him if he'd been to see a doctor lately. Simon wrote back to say it had been years since his last checkup and it was something he'd been meaning to do. I started praying for him. Three months later he wrote that he passed out at work, saw a doctor, just a little high blood pressure from too much stress. But he was basically in good health. I was suspicious, called him. He insisted there were no problems. Three more months, early February. We'd been talking on the phone every couple of weeks. Something was wrong; I could sense it. His conversations were upbeat, genuine, nothing in them to concern me. Just that feeling I get. One weekend I kept getting this urge to call. It had been awhile since we talked. But it was a busy weekend. I kept putting it off. At work Monday morning I couldn't keep my mind off him. I could not call him at his work, so at 5 pm I rushed home and fairly flew up the stairs to the phone. Simon lived on the East Coast, 3 hours difference in time zones, so he could not possibly be home from work. But he answered the phone. He hadn't felt well, had gone home early. This from a workaholic who never missed work. Our conversation turned to other mundane things, the weather, so on. He sounded absolutely great. Suddenly he turned away from the phone. He was talking, so I thought there was someone else in his apartment. It sounded like he was moving furniture. Ben, my friend went into cardiac arrest and died. I couldn't figure out, at first, what was happening. Kept trying to put a simple explanation on the sounds coming from the ear piece of my phone. I hung up, then spent several agonizing minutes trying to reach emergency medical personnel long distance. It's not like calling 911. Two days later a family member called. Because there was no history of heart disease they did an autopsy. Severe, chronic coronary artery disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is doubtful any amount of CPR could have saved him. He had to know something major was wrong with him. But he never told anybody. Not his family. Not any of his friends.

I did my usual screaming at God: "What good is a message if it doesn't work? You think I needed that? Listening to him die? You think that helped?" The answer that came back was simply, yes.

It's hard to trust messages like that. It's hard to deal with things like that.

Trust is still a struggle for me. I just couldn't get it until a couple of years ago. A "chance" meeting with a Catholic priest who told me, "Trust is a choice, not a feeling." Finally, I understood. I knew love was a choice. I was determined to love God, but I thought trust was something I should feel. What a relief to know that I didn't have to *feel* trusting, that it was something I could do, with practice... a choice.

Lisa was addicted to drugs, and bulimic. I was TDY to the West Coast, staying with friends. She showed up at the doorstep of my friends' home, having left an abusive boyfriend. The five days she was there, she woke us up every night screaming. She had horrific nightmares. As the days passed she shared some of her history of drug abuse with us. She believed the cause of her nightmares was demons. She said they tormented her any time she curtailed her drug use. Our hosts believed it was only the drugs. I took a different approach. I had no idea if what she said was true. But it was obvious she believed it. So I asked her what, if anything, I could do. She asked me to pray with her when she went to bed at night. At bedtime we simply knelt by the bed, and I prayed the Lord's Prayer, and then asked for protection for her. She appreciated it tremendously, and she said it helped. But it did not stop the nightmares, nor the bloodcurdling screams that brought us all out of our beds. I would go to her when that happened, sometimes having to restrain her flailing arms, and gently wake her. I would talk with her until she calmed down, pray with her again, and then stay with her until she fell asleep a second time. Most nights she settled down after that. After about the third night, I asked Lisa if she would go with me to talk with a minister or priest. She refused. She was already seeing a drug counselor, whom she had told about the nightmares. The fourth, (or fifth) night we had gone through our prayer ritual, had been awaken once by her screams, and had settled down a second time. I was restless and worried for her, and the lack of a good night's sleep was telling on me. Finally I began to feel drowsy. I was in that in - between state, right on the verge of sleep, but still thinking and praying, still working the problem, when I was suddenly aware of several beings around Lisa. They were bent over her prone form, touching her, scratching her, digging their fingers into her head. I don't know how to describe it better than this. Another one, obviously the boss, looked at me and grinned. "Well!" he said. That's all. In that one word I knew he was aware that I saw him, that he thought it interesting, and that he was not in the least worried about it and found it all rather amusing. And I didn't "imagine" I heard this creature. I didn't "sense" what he said. I heard it as clearly as I now hear the air conditioner cycling in the laundry room. I came up out of that bed like a shot! That very second Lisa let out a yell that woke the neighbors. My God! I was scared! But I went to her and held her until she calmed down and we prayed together and finally, finally, she slept. But I didn't. The next day I took her by the hand and told her gently but firmly that we were going to see a priest. . . . It is the drugs, he told her. This happens a lot, he told her. You'll be okay, he told her. She looked at him hopefully. I didn't tell him what I had experienced. Because I had been falling asleep. Because he was officious and condescending to both of us. Because perhaps her hysteria was rubbing off on me. I was tired. Most likely I'd been dreaming. And because, without real help from someone who knew what was going on, I was afraid it would just frighten Lisa and do more harm than good. Lisa left soon after that. She went back to her drugs and the young man who was beating her. I finished my TDY and flew home. I wrote Lisa a couple of times, and received no response.

I understand it is not my place to necessarily know when and if a prayer is answered. Sometimes God answers my prayers, (meaning, things turn out the way I want them to). But more often than not I am left in the dark as to the status of things. Did my prayers help Lisa, Simon, my brother? It certainly seemed as if they did not. I have so often felt helpless and angry, frustrated at God's seeming callousness and my ineptness.

But then I remembered this dream: A man was standing beside me, telling me about a vacation he took. He said that while on vacation he found it necessary to fight many large devils. He pulled out several photographs, and I burst out laughing. The devils were larger than he, but every one of them looked like the Tasmanian Devil on Saturday cartoons. Still, in one of the pictures they had him surrounded, and every one of them was at least a foot taller and much heavier than he. "I defeated them all," he said.

"Was it difficult?" I asked him. "There are a great many of them." "Not at all," he answered. "All I needed was this knife." He leaned against the wall, reached into his back pocket, and pulled out the tiniest penknife I have ever seen. Then he grinned at me, and I understood that he was God, and I was that tiny penknife. I woke up laughing!

So, okay. I'm a teeny, tiny penknife. But I want to be a sharp, teeny, tiny penknife. I need your help, Ben. I've read every one of your web pages. I'm practicing the methods of prayer you recommend. But there's more I'm to do, more to learn. I know it. The next time, I want to be prepared.


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