I Wept With Joy

Submitted by Steve Shinall

One night, back in the late 70s, I found myself at a party surrounded by swirling smoke and the din of loud music, laughter and voices. Not really knowing anyone except the person I had come with, and being somewhat shy in those days, I eventually found myself sitting alone on a couch. As I sat there my eye was drawn to a big blue book resting on the middle of the coffee table. I reached over, picked it up, opened it at random, read a couple of paragraphs, and then put the book back. I remember thinking, “What did that book just say? ‘Thought Adjusters’?” So I picked it back up, read a little more and put it back down. “Is this supposed to be a novel?” I wondered.

Although I’d always been an avid reader, I usually didn’t read in the midst of a roaring party. But I kept being drawn back to the book. This process of reading for longer and longer periods of time continued until it was time to go home. My date was not amused that I had spent the evening reading while everyone else socialized.

About a week after coming into contact with the book I had a vivid dream in which I found myself in an old-fashioned sleeping shirt, down on my hands and knees clinging to a homemade raft, the kind you would see in Tom Sawyer movies – logs lashed together with rope. I was surrounded by fog and pelted by a hard rain. Thunder and lightning crashed all around and waves threatened to capsize me at any moment. I’d never been a good swimmer, so this dream had all the makings of an old-fashioned nightmare, except that it wasn’t – I was smiling! Everything in the dream was in black and white – the fog, the water, the clothes, the sky, the lightning – everything, that is, except this blue book that I was carrying in one hand.

When I awoke the next morning I recalled riding out the tempest on the flimsy raft and how that blue book had stood out so vibrantly against the varying shades of gray. Even more memorable was the fact that I had not been afraid. Hell, I’d been exhilarated!

Within a day or so of having the dream I happened to have a conversation with a guy named David. Although David and I are now close friends, back then we knew each other only because of my friendship with his brother. David was not one to whom I would normally have related my dream life, but for some reason, on this particular day I began to tell him about my vivid dream and how I had felt so safe with this Urantia Book under my arm. He listened patiently and then replied with a smile, “Yeah, that’s a really strange book. I have a copy if you’d like to borrow it.”

When he said that I felt as if electricity rushed through me. I still wonder, what were the odds of running into someone whom I would tell about my dream, who also happened to have a copy of The Urantia Book to lend me? I took him up on his offer.

Soon I recognized that what I had been looking for all my life, I had found. I literally wept with joy. The book struck a chord that resonated deep within my soul. Since then I’ve come to realize how blessed this world is and how blessed we, as individuals, are. Progress is the watchword of the universe. From those of us to whom more has been given, more is expected. I’ve even learned how to swim.

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