I recently experienced the loss of a loved person in my life. It was my Aunt Mary Bracke, a lady of sterling character who sacrificed much to raise me and my sister Kathy - two homeless orphans - from little toddlers to adulthood. Over the years, she and I had not gotten along very well, and were essentially estranged for many years. This was largely due to a problem with pride - mine.
When I found The Urantia Book 20+ years ago, it was the beginning of a remaking of my character, and a true spiritual awakening - a feast for this famished soul. Along the way of my experience with the Revelation, I thought to myself, "If I keep reading this book, I am going to have to make some decisions, and they are not going to be the thoughtless ones I have been used to..." I was 36 years old, and ripe for the experience. I plunged in, head over heels in love with God, and Jesus, and the fact that I was being reborn. It was not all sweetness and light, as anyone who has destroyed a shaky foundation to make way for a new and finer edifice can attest. There were a lot of emotional scrapes, bruises, and a broken heart in there, and a face-to- face with my prideful nature.
Well, long story short - after several years of processing the wealth of spiritual information in The Urantia Book, I was learning to be patient, allowing for the "time-lag of mercy." That time lag works for the good- as well as the evildoer, meaning that even though I made a lot of good decisions about where I wanted to be, and was feeling far more right inside, it took years before I began to see real evidences of that in my outer life. It was a good interval though, to prove that I was on the right track. Things got progressively better, even though there were those times of 2 steps forward, and 1 step back. Those times were hard, but I always had God, which was a great new addition to my life, and also I had just such inner happiness that I had FINALLY found something I could really trust and which was worthy of that trust and faith. And this was also new - I had Hope.
It is a direct result of my exposure to and my embracing of The Urantia Book and the matchless ministry of Jesus and his Spirit of Truth that I did finally come to terms with my Aunt Mary. Part of that was the forgiveness of all real or imagined wrongs done me by every person who may have hurt me along the way, and a complete acceptance of God's forgiveness of myself and all the wrongs I did to others. I made amends to people, and I made amends to myself. My Aunt Mary and I started off on a whole new footing. It was not easy at first, but she was getting older, and she was also changing. She was happy with me, for the first time in a long time, and I with her. Although I never was able to interest her in The Urantia Book, she had her own brand of spiritual awakening with God, and in her inner being. This we were able to share, and it brought us close as we had never been. She was tolerant as never before, and I was tolerant as never before, and we learned to love each other. I credit God for this miracle.
One of the things that became very important to me while studying The Urantia Book in those early years, and since, has been the desire to perform service for the Kingdom. I took that part very seriously. One of the avenues of service that I pursued was as a hospice volunteer. I felt called to minister to dying people and I worked at the Hospice of St John for one year. Because of my learning from the Revelation, I looked for the Spark of God in every dying soul and did my best to make their day better for my having been there. I learned from the other staff there how to care for them, and how to love them unconditionally, no matter their condition. Dying people have such a capacity for love - most accept it willingly in their dying hours, and I learned from wonderful people how to open my heart and let these dying souls in, and just love them and ease their pain and fear. I was able to fellowship the loved ones who stood watch, and to help them feel less alone just by being there.
I mention this experience because it was after that one year of training, inspired by my desire to "do good to others," as I had been taught by the Revelation, I had a whole new opportunity to use my new-found sensitivity and training. My Aunt Mary was suddenly taken very ill, and was given only weeks to live. She was 92. When I got to Cincinnati, her home, and once my home, I found her in a nursing- home facility, ill, but still able to talk to me. It had been a year or two since I had seen her, and we had a teary reunion. She knew she was sick, and she knew she was dying. Over the next 10 days, she and I made our final good- byes, and it was what you would call true "quality time." We reminisced - she apologized, I apologized - again - and I kissed her and hugged her as I had learned to do with the perfect strangers at the Hospice - only now, it was my beloved Aunt Mary, and I could do for her what I might never have been able to do, had it not been for the experiences I had had with Hospice. And I never would have done that service, had it not been for The Urantia Book, and the desire planted in my heart by my rebirth in the spirit to do good on this earth. I held her face in my hands and I kissed her cheek, her forehead, and she said "Oh, do that again..." This was Aunt Mary as I had never seen her. And it was me, as she had never seen me. We had never been close or demonstrative with one another, and it was a new experience for both of us, but felt wholly natural. I held her hand, and when she told me she was afraid, I held her close and I told her that she was holding Jesus' hand, too, and that he was going to lead her to Heaven. I was able to tell her about the Mansion Worlds and she listened and I could see her relax. I told her to get ready to meet Uncle Ed, her beloved husband of 30 years, who had gone before. On Mother's Day of 2005, Jesus did lead her home. I was not there, and she had slipped into a coma by then, but I was happy for her, because I knew where she was going. And this eased me, and helped me to have peace - and gratitude.
The Urantia Book has changed my life - in so many ways. I could write a book, I guess. This experience with my Aunt Mary, and the hospice, and how that all just sort of meshed and flowed into a wonderful and peaceful passage for her is but one illustration of the way in which I now interface with my world, and the people who grace my life. I feel secure. I feel like I belong. I feel loved. I feel less fear, less anxiety - and even the rough patches of life are not so bad. I still have my share of clouds, but all my clouds have silver linings now. The Urantia Book came into my life at a time when I was most in need of it, and its sane, reasonable, and loving instruction has helped me to live a better life, a happier life, and a life that has true meaning to me. I have given my dedication to something far greater than me and yet something so intimately a part of me - and that is the Kingdom of God.