“I’m Right Over Here!”
Here’s a childhood story from Norman Vincent Peale with some poignant wisdom and guidance.
When my brother Bob and I were small boys growing up in Ohio, our father used to take us sometimes to an amusement park where one of the attractions was a maze, a labyrinth of artfully planned mirrors in which it was possible to get completely lost. Wherever you looked, whichever passage you chose, you ended by running into a reflection of yourself.
Being a minister, my father couldn’t resist pointing out a moral. “This maze,” he would say, “is just like life. No matter where you go, you can’t escape from yourself. So you had better try to be a worthwhile person, because you’ll never get away from that person no matter what you do!”
That was a valid lesson, and I remember it still. But what I remember best is the very first time we entered the maze and I somehow got separated from Bob and my father. Becoming more and more panicky, I finally cried for help. What a relief it was to hear my father’s strong, reassuring tones: “This way, Norman. I’m right over here. Just follow my voice. I’m right over here!”
And so he was. What a blessing it was to find him. And what a blessing it is to know that whenever we’re feeling lost of panicky as we move through life, a Person of infinite strength and love is calling out to us, “Just follow My voice and you’ll find the Way. I’m right over here!”
– Norman Vincent Peale, Daily Guideposts, 1994
I have a favorite NVP story too…they made a movie about him in the late 1950s and in it, the (guy playing his character) told a grieving mother that death is just the same as birth: you leave a place you are familiar with where you are warm and have enough to fill nutritional needs, where you are safe and you can feel love all around all the time. Then suddenly you are being thrust down a tunnel into a place that you all together unfamiliar with, except you may hear familiar voices, but there is so much light that for a moment you are confused and even scared…then you are wrapped and held and you can feel the love surround you again and as you get used to the light you understand that you are in another place, a better place for you to grow and live free. Now I’ve paraphrased, but when I saw it (as a child) I was instantly released from fear of death…which has served me well through my life. And I (among few others) look forward to that spiritual rebirth (no, not gonna become a Baptist!) at the end of life! Happy Holidays to you!
Dear Deb – So good to hear from you and thanks so much for sharing the NVP story; I’d certainly be interested in watching the movie. I read a lot about near-death experiences, and yes, the description of birth and death surely sounds the same. Thanks for your good wishes, and Happy Holidays to you as well. Blessings, Joyce