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Phone Call From Heaven

I want to tell you a story - a true one - but I also want to tell you that I stopped telling it a long time ago because of people's reaction. This reaction could have been mine as well.

It is this: a number of years ago, I had a voice student in Los Angeles, Ray, who would make his way to my house for his weekly singing lesson. This was no small feat since, in LA traffic, it would often take him up to two hours to get there, and who knows how long for him to get back, but he was always regular and on time. Until one day when he called to let me know his father had died suddenly and could he miss this week? Of course, I understood. But he missed just once and then became regular again. Each time after his father's passing, however, he would share with me how much he missed his dad and how he had been trying to communicate with him. He could not let go of the fact that he'd never had the chance to say goodbye.

Then the fourth lesson after his father's death, Ray arrived and we started the normal session. He seemed in good spirits, but, at the same time, distracted. It was then that Ray looked at me and asked, "can we cut our time short? I have something I need to share with you. Something really unusual, but I know you'll understand."

"Of course," I answered, "what's going on?" And then he paused and hesitated.

"My father called," he told me.


"I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but he called to let me know he was okay. And, Keith, the story gets even more bizarre 'cause I wasn't home."

Well, now, I was completely intrigued and asked Ray to tell me everything.

"It was my roommate who answered the phone," Ray said. "I had stepped out for a moment but, when I got home, my roommate was pale and, I'm pretty sure, trembling. 'Ray,' he said, 'you'll never guess what happened. The phone rang when you were gone and when I answered I heard a kind of crackling line and then this soft voice asked if you were home. I could hardly hear him but said you had just stepped out, asked who it was and could I take a message? Then, there was a pause and the voice said, well, just tell Ray his father called, that I love him and that everything is okay. And then the line went dead. Ray, I don't know what else to tell you! I'm a little spooked.'"

Well, I didn't know what to say at that point either. But I do know this: I believed what Ray told me and, to this day, I believe this moment happened. And as Ray told me this story, there was a calm and peace around him that was palpable and I could tell he had experienced relief for the first time since his father's passing. I can also tell you that from this point on, Ray was able to move forward with his life in a way that was inspirational to see.

But I have stopped telling this story. Why? Because so many have responded, "well, if this story is true, then why didn't Ray's father call when he was home? Or call him back?" And my answer is, "I don't know." But is it impossible to conceive that this happened? Did Ray or his roommate make it up? Or that some sadistic, so-called friend decided to call and pretend he was Ray's father? Have we become so completely sheltered by reason and logic that we cannot allow for anything outside of our comfortable understandings to come in? Is there no such thing as spontaneous remission of a disease? Have none of us ever felt like someone is trying to communicate with us and yet we cannot see them? Or the one that has happened to nearly all of us: we are thinking of someone, the phone rings and it is them?

Is it not even faintly possible that there are realms beyond our knowing?


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