Sunday, April 27, 2008

the day I died...Part 2 (Note: Rated PG 13 for language)

...We were in the busiest time of our lives. We had had our house on the market for 6 months with no takers and finally someone bit and we sold. We closed on our house on July 25th, 2008...the very same day Angela gave birth to our little Liberty. We had been signing these papers and those papers and coming to this office and going to that one. Then Liberty came...and we were homeless. Thankfully, Angela's parents said that we could stay with them for a while so we moved the majority of our things into a storage unit and moved the necessities into their house. We had been looking at several houses and none were attractive. Our stay with my in-laws was much appreciated but caused strain to everyone involved. We couldn't relax because we weren't at home and they couldn't relax because they felt like they had guests in their home. Trinity had 4 adults yelling at her, telling her to different things. Needless to say, a restless time for all.

We continued to look...then found our house. We closed on August 11th and moved in. Finally, we were home but had a lot of work to do. No relaxation until it's all done.

At this point, I was REALLY ready for archery deer season to begin...I bought an archery deer and archery turkey tag. I was ready to kill. We hunted a couple of weekends with no luck. On the last Sunday of our last trip, I ran into a flock of turkeys. I jumped off of the Kawasaki Mule were were driving in and began to stalk...I crept...trotted...and watched as the turkeys ran to and fro...I took a shot on the last hen and missed...but man what a thrill. We jumped back onto the Mule and drove on down the road. Not minutes later, there he was! A fork-horned buck off the road about 40 yards. Ron stopped the Mule and my father-in-law and I jumped off of the Mule. I moved as far off of the road as the overgrown bushes on the side of the road would allow. My father-in-law was in the middle of the road. I drew my bow...sighted him in...and "THWACK!" I heard my father-in-law shoot. I heard the arrow hit a solid wood surface. "He missed" i thought. I left my arrow fly. "THWACK". My arrow hit the deer and sounded solid, too. "It's someone's decoy" I said as I stood up. As soon as I was to my feet, I heard "Game and Fish, Game and Fish" coming from behind the brush on the other side of the road. "What could they want" I questioned in my mind. Then...it dawned on me. "Shit!" I said in my mind..."I wasn't all the way off of the road when I shot". A clear violation. I didn't even think about it...I had NO intention of doing something illegal. It was a sting operation the AZ Game and Fish Department had set up. I had heard about such decoys and sting operations but I never thought I was stupid enough to fall for it...but I am. They wrote my father-in-law and I a ticket and let us keep hunting. We didn't feel like hunting, though. You see, AZGFD violations are a big deal. They take it very seriously. One of my dreams was to be a hunting guide and this violation took this almost attainable dream and killed it...no guide's license for offenders. Also, a violation will stick with a person forever...never being expunged from the record. My heart hurt. I couldn't do anything right! Not even hunt. We packed up and left. I stayed silent for the rest of the day...crushed...pissed off...and angry. We went to our court date on November 2nd and received a Class 2 Misdemeanor, a fine, and a permanent record. The violation is on the same level as a burglary conviction. I cannot pass a background check. I cannot pass a finger-print check. I could be denied a guide license. The AZGFD will always look for me in the woods while I'm hunting and track me to see if I do something stupid. I will have to check the box "yes" for the question of "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" on every job application I ever fill out for the rest of my life. I will forever be tainted with this mark. I am a convicted criminal. Damn it!

(End Part 2; Part 3 soon to come)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

the day I died...Part 1

Sometime when I was about 18 or 19 years old, I had what I believed was a vision or prophesy about my life that I would die when I was 27. It was a heartfelt conviction that I was never able to shake. I remember thoughts about my early death affecting what I thought about a career, marriage, kids, and the like. My dreams and aspirations were definitely set on a "short-term basis only" tract. When Angela and I married, I remember thinking about this "vision" and wondering what she would do when it finally came to pass. I bought insurance enough to cover her when I went home and continued to pray about the anxst I felt in my heart. The years clicked by...23...24...25...26...

I always debated with myself in my mind about if I should tell Angela or not. I decided against it...no sense in both of us worrying about it. I have had these sort of "gut feelings" or "hunches" before but I have always been able to shake them...and they never came true. But this one plagued me often...

...26 and 2 months...I decided I had better talk to a few friends about my fear and have them pray for me because my anxiety was growing...and I was praying hard but was never able to shake the feeling that my life on earth would soon be over. To be fair, I really had a peace about going home...but as I go(e)t older, I bega(i)n to think of my girls and my wife...and how much I would miss them.

I spoke with Dr. B. and told him how silly it must sound but that I needed prayer for it. He thought it was strange but did what any good friend would do: prayed. I also talked with Pastor C. and immediately, he had an interpretation. He said that the death is actually a death of something big, sin issue, etc. that I have been fighting for some time and that it wasn't a physical death. Peace came...but didn't conquer my thoughts. "What if he's wrong?", I thought. I prayed and sought after Jesus as I approached the fall of 2007...the fall in which the dreaded October 26th resided. My birthday. It was coming soon.

As the summer was ending, things began to tremble in my life...home, work, hobbies, church...everything I touched began to crumble...

(End Part 1; Part 2 soon to come)