Heaven on HoldeBook - 2012
Ted Watkins never had much use for sentimentality in his own life or in others. The tough, hard-bitten businessman had long ago buried his feelings about the tragedies which had afflicted him in his childhood and marriage. The death and destruction he saw in Vietnam as a young Marine officer had only served to confirm and harden his cynicism. A series of events begin to soften Ted's cynicism. A chance meeting with Father Mike Kelly, also a Vietnam veteran, and other events start to chip away at Ted's flinty exterior. An emotional experience at a fellow veteran's funeral results in an epiphany that seems destined to change his life. However, before Ted can act on his plan to remake his life, fate intervenes. Ted suffers a massive stroke that leaves him near death. Ted's incapacitation allows his unscrupulous nephew, Theodore, to begin the devious plan he has been plotting to seize control of Ted's company. Ted's docile and long suffering wife, Eleanor, tries to thwart him, but she is no match for Theodore's heavy handed machinations. Ted, had for many years ridiculed and excluded Eleanor from any decision making. Now she was the only one who could prevent her evil nephew form succeeding in his sinister plot. While Ted clings tenuously to life in a coma, a seemingly unrelated tragedy takes place. A seven week old girl, Kelly Rose, dies for no apparent reason. Because they could find no evidence of disease or any other cause which could explain the tragedy, the doctors and the coroner listed the cause of death as SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. SIDS is the medical profession's default diagnosis for the mysterious death of over 7,000 babies a year. When Ted miraculously awakens from his coma several weeks later he reveals an incredible story. He relates in intricate detail the story of his time in heaven where he encountered two angels, Maximus and Optimus who help him to review his life. They reveal aspects of his life he had only partially understood on earth. He also meets friends and loved ones who have passed away, and are now able to help him understand the true fullness of his life. His transformation completed, Ted is able to convince the angels that he should be allowed to return to earth to finish his curtailed plans to reconcile with those he left behind and to deal with his evil nephew. The symmetry of the tragic death of a child and the amazing rebirth would probably have gone unnoticed except for Ted's incredible story. Only one person saw these events as an opportunity for in depth analysis and further objective investigation. That person was Father Mike Kelly. The contrast in this case was too ironic for him to ignore. One person had accumulated a lifetime of cynicism and tired of life and yet was given renewed life. The other, pure and innocent, had her life taken almost before it began. He wondered what God's role was in this seemingly egregious inequity? He saw Ted and Kelly's story as an excellent test case that would finally allow him to scientifically reconcile an event which heretofore had to be accepted solely by faith. It was at moments exactly like this that Father Mike felt again most intensely the gnawing conflict between his formal engineering education and his faith. As a young priest, faith had easily overwhelmed his inclination to seek evidence to satisfy the doubts and questions he had had in similar situations. As he had grown older, his faith had grown stronger, but it just wasn't enough anymore to explain why things like this happened, at least not to his satisfaction. He longed for the serenity and peace of those earlier days when his faith had been enough to suppress his doubts and the questions whenever they had arisen. As hard as he had tried, he had never been able to regain the clarity and peace he had felt before Vietnam.
Publisher: [United States] : BookBaby : Made available through hoopla, 2012
Characteristics: 1 online resource