Stopping a suicide and accepting Christ

Blog #5

One of my friends from High School, Steve, was attending college in Enid, Oklahoma, where he met and got engaged to a fellow student named Joy Riffle, the daughter of the mayor of Enid; Harley Riffle. Steve was going to school full time and working at Sears in Enid full time to pay for his education, so he didn’t have much spare time to drive back to Colorado for visits to his parents. One Thanksgiving season Steve worked extra hours at Sears before the Thanksgiving holiday so that he could finally come visit his parents.

So, after having worked a double shift, he drove from Enid, Oklahoma to Pueblo and arrived only to be told the moment he entered his parents door that while he had been enroute, his future father in law had suddenly passed away from a heart attack. Steve came to me to ask me if I would be willing to drive him back immediately to comfort his fiancé. I grabbed a grocery bag, threw in a couple changes of clothes, called my job at McDonalds to tell them I would be gone for a week or so. They said no. So I quit, because my friend that needed my help.

Steve lived on campus at Phillips University which didn’t allow for overnight guests, however his future mother in law and newly widowed woman asked me to stay in the guest room of their luxury home. I grew up poor, and never been inside such a beautiful home, let alone be invited to stay. I was now jobless, so there was no hurry to get back to Pueblo, and ironically, there weren’t any of their family members to welcome visitors who dropped by to pay their respects.

Mrs. Riffle asked me to receive any visitors and offer coffee, tea, or food which was being delivered by the car load. Mrs. Riffle stayed in her bedroom weeping and mourning. Steve and his fiancé spent all their time away from the house to avoid having to deal with so many visitors and try to be cordial in a terrible circumstance. So here I was at age 19 greeting total strangers into the house of grief, and accepting their condolences, cards, and flowers, and food on behalf of a grieving family I also didn’t know at all.

Two of the 100s of visitors became significant to me in the days and weeks to come. The first, was a well dressed man who said he and Mayor Riffle had been good friends and gave his name to me as David Hall. I told him that Mrs. Riffle didn’t wish to receive any visitors, and that I was merely a guest by circumstance. He asked if it would be okay if he just hung out for a while in case Mrs. Riffle came out for a bite to eat or a drink of water. I obliged, and there sitting in the living room the two of us; a 19 year old kid and a business man with nothing to talk about.

Mr. Hall asked about me, and relevant questions as to how I came to be the ambassador to a family I didn’t know. He told me several stories about his friendship with the recently deceased mayor. We must have talked for hours and hours until he said he should probably leave and get back to work. As he was leaving I asked if he had a business card or something that I could give Mrs. Riffle so she would know that he cared enough to stay to pay his respects. He handed me his card which said “David Hall, Governor”. I looked not fully grasping, and he said, “I’m the Governor of Oklahoma”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hall_(Oklahoma_governor)

I was impressed that a man that important would spend so long with me, a poor dumb kid from Colorado. He said he was impressed with me and would like to spend more time to get to know me.

The second influential person I met was an elderly Aunt of the widow who arrived the day before the funeral, and stayed in the second guest room. She was an incredibly spiritual woman who spent hours and hours with me. She really inspired me a lot. On the day of the funeral Mrs. Riffle asked if I would escort her and sit with her at the funeral. I couldn’t imagine why she would ask me and not her future son in law, my friend Steve.  She insisted that I be the one, so I did.

Going to the funeral of a total stranger is an awkward experience, but to have the widow clinging to me as we entered the packed church and the looks of surprise from people who clearly had no idea who I was made feel really intimidated. It was the largest funeral I had ever witnessed. The church had a capacity of thousands and was filled to standing room only, with hundreds more standing outside in reverence. The 6 or 7 mile drive to the cemetery was free of all traffic, every single car was parked along the side of the road in both directions with thousands of people lining the roadway. I thought that the man must have been truly loved by so many people to warrant this kind of response.

After 3 months in Enid I made one good friend, and took a full time job at a newly opened Winchells Donut shop, but McDonald’s called and asked if I would please come back to Pueblo to manage one of their outlets, so I quit the donut shop, said goodbye to my new friend Maggie Houston, and took a flight back to Pueblo to manage a McDonalds.

I had grown fond of Enid, Oklahoma, and had spent many more hours with the Governor getting to know each other well, we had become unlikely friends. I had also spent so much more time with that elderly Aunt that I came to love her as dearly as my own Aunt Mary who was a missionary in the jungles of the Amazon in Brazil.

I missed my new friends from Oklahoma and kind of latched on to an older guy who worked for meat McDonald’s  as kind of a father figure. He had two sons my age who became like brothers to me. John Krupka, his wife, and his sons became like family. If I was off work and they were off work, we were at Johns house watching football or playing a board game. I felt so much at home with them. I grew to truly love the entire Krupka family.

Late one night, after the brothers and Mrs. Krupka had gone to bed John asked me to stick around and watch TV because he said he knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep. We watched until midnight or so until the tv station went off air, and as I got up to leave, John reached into the seat cushion of the sofa and pulled out a pistol and put it to his temple.

I was stunned! What the heck? Why? John began weeping and saying he was an alcoholic and that his family deserved better than him. I begged and pleaded with him to give me the gun, please don’t do this. I told him that he was the father I wished I could have. Nothing. Finally , in desperation, I told John that Jesus Christ could fix everything if he would only tell God everything he just told me and ask for Christ to save him.

To my absolute amazement, that did the trick. John handed me the gun and dropped to the floor in a mass of weeping agony and despair. I ran and woke his family, and we all escorted John to the hospital, where I visited him every single day for a month. He became a devout Christian, stopped drinking and lived happily until a very old age, and got to know his grandchildren.

But God wasn’t done. I couldn’t justify to myself why Jesus Christ was such a great idea to help John Krupka when I myself hadn’t bothered to receive Christ. So, after about a month of the inner conflict I decided it was time I took my own advice, and I too accepted Christ on October 20, 1973 at age 20.

*In researching this for relevant links I looked up former mayors of Enid, Oklahoma and Riffle is NOT listed! So who was this guy anyway?  Why did my friend tell me he was mayor if that wasn't the case? Why was he so beloved by so many? 

It took all the tragedy of my youth, the death of a total stranger, the influence of an elderly woman I didn’t know, and a state Governor, and the love a family I cared for, the suicide of an elderly man I love, and the near suicide of a man who was like a father to me to finally get me to accept the free gift of salvation and glory in Christ.

We all have our own story to tell. I don’t think my own story is more significant than yours. My hope and prayer is that no matter how bad things get in our lives, my own testimony is that God is loving enough and powerful enough and wise enough to fix even the most horrible situations to bring us into the Kingdom.

Thank you Lord, for your son Jesus, who took the burden of my sins so that I could live in your Kingdom in happiness and joy forever.

Amen

In love and service,

Danny

A visit by a dead neighbor

Blog #4

This post will be fairly short as compared to posts #2 and #3, and hopefully not as gut wrenching to read, but not free of a tragedy. It will somewhat mirror post #1 seeing a ghost.

In my first 3 posts you saw that my dad was evil, my babysitters son was evil, and that my mom was the queen of denial. So, keeping in mind the circumstances I was unable to control as a child, you will understand my desire to find a surrogate father.

When I was 8 years old, give or take the neighbor to the north moved away, selling their home to a retired farmer and his wife, the Morey’s, Irvin and Gertrude. It’s worth mentioning that my dad and grandfather loathed each other, so it was very rare for my biological grandfather to visit, although when he did I was over the moon with joy.

The Morey’s were devout Mormons, which to me meant nothing at all since I had no clue what a Mormon was, however they were really nice people. The Bates family had moved out of town the year before, so I didn’t have any playmates near my age except my siblings. I was fond of my older sister who was smart and often put herself in harms way to defend against our tyrant brother. I liked playing with my toy cars and trucks, she liked her dolls, so we didn’t play often.

All of us kids really took a shine to the Moreys, and spent a lot of our free time at their house, but me more so than my siblings. Mr. Morey used to show me things and tell me things about farming and tractors, and about raising livestock. I followed him around as a shadow, and grew to love him more than my own grandfather. Mr. Morey likewise took a shine to me since their daughter was in college and unmarried, there weren’t any grandkids in their lives.

Mr. Morey took a job delivering newspapers from the Pueblo Chieftain to other towns within 75 miles of Pueblo in his personal pickup truck. One fateful day he had a very bad accident which left him hospitalized for a month, and in severe pain for the rest of his life.  Because he could no longer do the physical things he needed done, he took in a homeless man who lived in half of the garage. The homeless guy had room and board in exchange for the physical labor. If you have seen the movie “Sling Blade” you can get an idea what the guy was like; the resemblance is uncanny in fact.

The homeless guy’s name was Charles, and was pretty subdued, and a hard worker. He built an addition to their house, hand dug a basement for their house, built a chimney and remodeled their kitchen. One sad night Charles passed peacefully in his sleep. Mr. Morey had nobody to do the manual labor he needed done to take care of his cows and chickens, repair things like his John Deere tractor, etc after Charles died, so Mr. Morey had to do it himself, in excruciating pain from the accident.

I did what a child can do to help out, mowed their lawn with an old push mower, raked their yard, pulled weeds from their garden, etc. I was a constant fixture at their house. 

One night when I was about 10 or 11 years old I got a knock on my bedroom window, and I was afraid it was Larry coming to taunt me. When I pulled the curtain aside however it wasn’t Larry, it was Irvin Morey. I think it must have been 2 or 3 AM.  I opened the window and he put his index finger to his lips that I should be quiet so I whispered. “Mr. Morey, what are doing here so late? Am I in trouble for something?”

Mr. Morey said he was leaving, but couldn’t leave without saying goodbye to me. I told him I wanted to come with him. He said I couldn’t because he isn’t coming back, but said that he would see me again sometime. I offered to get my siblings so that they could say goodbye too, but he said they couldn’t see him. I thought he meant they shouldn’t, but he literally meant they couldn’t. He told me to be brave and keep being a good kid. Mr. Morey said that in the morning your parents will explain everything. I was crying. I wanted to go with him. I said “can I come outside and hug you?” He said no, he had to leave right away. Then he walked out of sight into the dark night.

The next day, our parents told us that Mr. Morey had passed away. I was shocked and devastated. I said “he can’t be dead, I just talked to him this morning”. My mom said, no you didn’t. I said yes I did, and told them all what he said.  My dad with all coldness said, “Mr. Morey died yesterday. His wife called us late last night to tell us what happened. We weren’t gonna wake you all up for that. So you see Danny, you didn’t talk to Mr. Morey this morning because he would have been dead over 12 hours earlier.”

I begged my mom to take to the funeral home so I could see for myself, so she did. He really was gone. Forever. 

His suicide note said that the physical pain from the accident was too much to bear every single day. He apologized in his note for not telling anyone goodbye, but said he had made up his mind.  He had hung himself in his barn.

So I had seen the dead aunt at age four and waved and made faces, but she didn’t talk to me. Now I knew I had not just seen another dead person, but in fact we had a conversation. And like the Aunt, Mr. Morey wasn’t ghostly in appearence, he didn’t have rope burns around his neck. 

When the movie “6th Sense” was released I was both happy and sad, because I knew I could see dead people, but they aren’t gruesome and creepy, they are just themselves. 

I know my experience is hardly unique where a dead loved one visits a child. To my knowledge a dead person hasn’t visited me in my adult life but if it happened tomorrow I wouldn’t be shocked.

This Kindly visit from Mr. Morey raised some questions for me when I became a Christian. If suicide is an automatic ticket to hell, why was he able to tell me goodbye? Did he go to some kind of limbo to await judgement day, and then he goes to hell?  Since he believed in Jesus Christ did that mean that God already forgave his suicide?  I don’t have an answer to those questions.

What I am confident of however, what I have steadfastly believed after seeing two dead people, is that there is indeed a spiritual world all around us that we can’t perceive normally. I do think that children and animals haven’t been taught that ghosts aren’t real. I find it ironic when Christians doubt my witness when the Bible clearly  states it. What do they think the Holy Spirit is if not the Spirit of God? Can they see the Holy Spirit or touch it? When John the Baptist baptized Jesus the Bible says he SAW the Holy Spirit physically descend on Christ.  So if I have seen ghosts twice, and John saw God’s spirit, why would I doubt what I saw.

May you feel encouraged and happy to know that there is an afterlife in heaven that we will share, where there will be no more tears, only the eternal happiness and joy of being with our loving God and creator. 

In Christ’s name and for the Glory of God,

Danny

Guest Post by Daniel Coleman, 17 years old

My Coming To Christ

Before I begin, I’d like to give thanks to our god, the king of love and peace for giving me the task of writing this. I would like to give thanks to my mentor and best friend for letting this get posted on his own page. May god bless all of you!

My story begins in Fairfax Virginia back in 2002. I was born at the  central hospital and grew up for the majority of my life in a suburban neighborhood. My family was normal like any other except that my dad was and still is a control freak, he had to make sure that he asserted control into every situation, no matter what that situation might be. Looking back and thinking about it now, I reason that it was because he married at a late age and had spent most of his life in sole control of what went down, so when he got married he was loath to give it up thus he maintained it till even to the present day.

Read moreGuest Post by Daniel Coleman, 17 years old

Stalked by a serial killer and murderer for years*

Blog #3

Hello, thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Each blog post is a truthful event that happened to me in my own life. Nothing is borrowed from somebody else. If you haven’t read post numbers 1 and 2,  I encourage you to do so before reading this post, especially  #2 “Saving my dog”

More than the first two posts, and future posts, I must let you know in advance, that I will be detailing events about a serial killer and mass murderer who stalked me for 20+ years. Some details may be too disturbing for some readers. It’s been a long time ago, so I am a little fuzzy on the years, but otherwise this is pretty accurate.

- Danny

Read moreStalked by a serial killer and murderer for years*

Saving My Dog At Age 6

Blog #2

Greetings, and a loving hello.  If you’ve read #1 then this will be a continuation. If you haven’t then I hope what I write will speak to your heart and give you the instruction, comfort, or whatever it is that you can identify with for your own benefit.

When I was very young, I knew I was different than other kids, or even adults for that matter. In fact, I knew as I think many kids do, that our peers and adults in our lives may be unwilling or unable to see the world in the beautiful, simple, natural way that it is.

Read moreSaving My Dog At Age 6

Seeing A Real Ghost

Blog Post #1

When I was a chid living west of City Park in Pueblo, Colorado our family lived on the very edge of habitation. Our neighborhood was known as West Park because the area was due west of Pueblo’s largest park, aptly named “City Park”.

Pueblo was a city of about 65,000 people when I was small, but at the time, it was the second largest city in Colorado, surpassed only by Denver. The Colorado Fuel and Iron (CF&I) corporation was at the single largest employer in the state, making steel. At the time, it was the largest steel mill west of the Mississippi River. 

Pueblo has a very arid climate, and most definitely was a blue collar town. My dad was a teeming crane operator (those big overhead cranes that carry ladels of molten steel). My mom was a psychiatric nurse at the Colorado State Hospital. I had 2 older siblings, and two younger siblings. We all lived in a garage that my dad converted, but it was cramped for 2 adults and 5 children.

Read moreSeeing A Real Ghost

Danny’s Blog Topics

(If you don’t already see the blog, it is a topic for a future blog post)

Foreword:

Dear reader, it is my intention to write about the true events of my own life in these blog posts, so what you read are things that actually happened to me, not someone else. I’m told that there are enough amazing, scary, inspirational, aggravating, and some funny to write a book. 

I have in fact, turned down two known writers who wanted to write my biography. I did so because of a few reasons: primarily and most important is that a writer would place the focus on me, rather than on God who deserves all the praise and glory for the good that was done. Second, while I have a lot of stories to tell, each story has different significance to me than it might to anyone else; by letting you choose what might interest you, then you are not stuck reading stuff that bears no significance or mild curiosity for yourself.

Read moreDanny’s Blog Topics