Book Excerpt: Dreams of Dying by Elizabeth Herrera

Mar 27th, 2014 | By | Category: Soul Rocks Books, Spirituality

jhp524550b5ebc86Excerpt from Dreams of Dying by Elizabeth Herrera

Chapter 5

The sun broke through the clouds and radiated through the beach house windows. Seagulls shrieked and erratically flew as they searched for scraps on the beach. Lisa watched them dip and turn as she sat on the deck’s warm, wooden stairs. She leaned against the railing and hugged the steps with her bare feet, watching the beachgoers play in the sand and wade in the ocean waves. A few adventurous teenagers were using boogie boards to challenge the surf.

She closed her eyes, letting the sun infuse her with its energy. The nautical breeze caressed her skin and fluttered her hair. She embraced it with a deep breath. Everything felt perfect.

A shadow darted across her face and instinctively she opened her eyes. She was stunned to see a man standing there, resting his hand on the stair railing—a man who looked remarkably like Jesus Christ. He wore a blue robe tied with a red sash. He had a beard and brown, wavy hair that rested on his shoulders. His gentle face held loving eyes that looked directly at Lisa.

She put her hand over her eyes to block the sun’s glare and get a better look at him. She noticed a faint, golden glow emanating from his body.

“Hello, Lisa,” he said with a smile.

“Jesus!” Lisa exclaimed. She was awestruck by his presence, yet amazed at how natural it felt to see him.

“Mind if I sit with you?” he asked.

“Not at all!” She moved closer to the stair’s edge to give him room.

He sat next to her and asked, “You were thinking this moment is perfect. What does perfection mean to you?” He watched a small fishing boat on the horizon while he waited for her to answer.

Lisa hesitated, afraid of saying the wrong thing, but she gathered her thoughts and answered, “Perfection means no worries, no fears, no problems to solve.”

He continued gazing at the water, knowing she hadn’t completed her answer.

She said, “Well, that’s not exactly how I would define it.”

He encouraged her with a nod.

She could hear her heart beating and was embarrassed at her nervousness, but she found the courage to say, “Perfection means no possibility of anything going wrong. Ever.”

He turned toward her and said, “There are no wrong answers here.”

He pointed at a seagull that was scouting the beach, “You see that bird?”

Lisa nodded.

“She is perfect. You see him?” Jesus pointed to a man sitting in a beach chair, who was red as a lobster and sported a large beer belly that hung over his swimsuit. “He is perfect.”

Lisa raised her eyebrow with skepticism, “I guess we’re talking about our spiritual selves and not our physical selves.”

“You think there is a physical self?”

“Of course. Look at me. Look around you.”

“Do you think I see a physical world?” Jesus asked.

She paused and thought, How would Jesus see the world?

Instead she answered, “I assume you can see both the physical and the spiritual at the same time.”

“Do you think that’s possible?”

“Sure. You have the best of both worlds!”

“Tell me…what is the best of this world?”

“Well, there is the love I have for my family…and friends,” Lisa answered.

“Anything else?”

She thought about it. “I guess the rest is gravy. You know…the icing on the cake.”

“I am familiar with your slang,” Jesus said kindly.

She blushed at her condescending remark. “Of course, I’m sorry.”

“There’s nothing to be sorry for.”

They stopped talking to watch two kids walking in the sand, licking their ice cream.

Jesus asked, “If you were to lose all of your friends and family…what would be the best of this world then?”

But Lisa didn’t have time to answer. Her husband, who was about to grill lunch, opened the sliding glass door while trying to balance a plate of raw hamburgers. He froze when he saw a man sitting on the deck next to his wife.

Lisa got up and said excitedly, “Steve! You will NEVER guess who’s here!”

Jesus stood and smiled at him. Steve remained frozen, except for the plate he was holding. It slowly tipped forward and the hamburgers slid to the ground. The plate fell out of his hands, clanged on the deck and spun round and round, until it finally landed at Jesus’s feet.

Steve gasped and fainted, falling flat on his back.

“Oh, my God!” Lisa shouted as she ran toward Steve, who was out cold. She turned her head toward Jesus and said, “Sorry.”

Jesus waited while Lisa felt the back of Steve’s head to make sure he hadn’t hurt himself, and then said to her, “Let me help you get him inside.”

Jesus picked Steve up and carried him into the living room, where he gently laid him on the sofa. Lisa put a pillow under his head.

The kids heard the commotion and came out from their bedrooms to see what was going on.

“Why is Dad on the couch?” asked 12-year-old Justin with concern.

15-year-old Emily asked, “Mom, is Dad all right?” She peered over her father, absentmindedly holding her mobile phone.

“He just fainted,” Lisa answered, trying to ease her children’s fears.

The kids looked up at the same time, noticing Jesus standing next to their mother. Justin and Emily both looked at each other, inquisitively raising their eyebrows.

Justin brought up the elephant in the room. “Mom, why is Jesus standing next to you?”

Jesus smiled and walked over to shake his hand, “Hello, Justin. It’s good to meet you.”

Justin vigorously returned the handshake, relishing the moment. “This is so cool!”

Emily wasn’t so sure about the situation and stood back. Jesus understood her hesitation and didn’t offer his hand. Instead, he simply said, “Hello, Emily. It’s nice to meet you.”

Emily, who was still upset about her dad, avoided answering Jesus and said, “He looks dead,” and poked her father in the cheek.

This caused Steve to open his eyes and blurt, “What happened?”

Justin squealed with delight, “Dad! You’re all right!”

Steve looked at Justin and noticed Jesus standing beside him. He fainted a second time.

“Crap. He’s out again,” Justin said.

“Justin, don’t use that word. Especially in front of Jesus,” Lisa instructed.

Unfazed, Justin asked Jesus, “Since you’re the real deal, why don’t you make my dad stop fainting?”

“When he is ready, he will stop,” Jesus answered. “Right now, the situation is a bit too much for him to take in.”

Justin asked, “He will be all right…right?”

“Yes. He’ll be fine.”

Justin was relieved and suggested, “How about a game of Crazy Eights until he wakes up.”

Emily blurted, “Not again! We’re sick of that game!”

While the kids bickered, Lisa bent over and shook Steve. When he came around, she whispered, “Why don’t you talk with Jesus? It’s the chance of a lifetime!”

Steve looked over at Jesus and muttered under his breath, “He’s a fake.”

“Then, why do you keep fainting?” asked Lisa.

Steve refused to be cornered. Instead of answering her, he asked, “If he really is Jesus, why would he visit us?”

“Don’t you think he visits everyone at some point in their lives?” Lisa asked.

Steve answered, “No. Not if they don’t believe in him.”

“Well, I think he does. Especially, those who don’t believe in him.”

Jesus came over and knelt by Steve, and Lisa walked away to give them privacy.

“What are you afraid of?” Jesus asked.

Steve began to look pale and sweat formed on his forehead.

“You think I’m an imposter,” Jesus stated.

Steve nodded his head.

“What would prove to you that I am the embodiment of Christ?” Jesus asked.

Steve wondered what the word “embodiment” meant in this context.

Jesus answered Steve’s unspoken question. “In this situation, embodiment means the physical manifestation of Christ.”

Steve was not a religious man and knew very little of the Bible or its teachings, so even the word “Christ” was ambiguous in his mind.

Again, Jesus answered his unspoken question, “Christ is the Son of God. The expression of God’s love.”

Steve finally spoke, “What is God?”

“God is love. Always has been and always will be.”

The kids, who had started listening to the conversation, came closer.

“What does that makes us?” asked Justin.

“You are love, of course!” Jesus answered with a smile.

Emily blurted out, “Well, Justin doesn’t always act loving. Just this morning, he pulled my hair when I wouldn’t let him switch the TV channel.”

Jesus found her comment humorous and asked her, “On the TV shows you watch, the actors are sometimes hateful, jealous and even violent. Why would anyone want to watch bad things happen on TV when they supposedly don’t want them to happen in real life?”

Emily smugly answered, “Everyone knows that TV shows aren’t real.”

Jesus looked into her big, brown eyes and asked, “Do you believe heaven is real?”

Emily didn’t hesitate to answer, “No. I don’t believe in God or heaven.”

“But, you believe I am Jesus?”

“Yes, because you are standing in front of me,” Emily sighed at the obvious answer.

Jesus calmly asked, “Do you need to see something for it to be real? Have you ever seen love or do you merely see the acts that express love?”

“You’re trying to trick me,” Emily accused him.

Jesus said to her, “You can’t see what is real, here on earth…only reflections of the truth.”

Then, he disappeared before their eyes.

This was an excerpt from Soul Rock’s Books latest title, Dreams of Dying.

Sometimes our greatest tragedies offer our greatest lessons. After losing her family in a tragic car accident, Lisa Watson vacillates between two lives…before and after the car accident. As she struggles between realities, Jesus Christ suddenly appears and offers her unorthodox guidance. He accompanies her to the grocery store and for walks on the beach, while answering some of life’s toughest questions. His answers challenge her traditional beliefs and repeatedly emphasize there is no death, only dreams of dying. Dreams of Dying takes you on a fantastical journey with Jesus, who leads the way through an alternate interpretation of his ancient teachings and applies them to one of our worst nightmares…losing the ones we love.

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