nudges from God at nautilus teachings


i accidentally
butt dialed my
dear friend Pastor Bill
who past away
i was picking up my phone
when i see it
bill cull….
i immediately hit end
and my heart feels heavy…
he was my father,
friend and faith guide
since 1973,
and we moved
from the tiny grey house
with the closet
under the red
wooden steps
and i was left
drifting aimlessly ,
lost and feeling alone
until my mom
found our new church home
with Bill as the head pastor…
there he stood,
tall broad shoulders
amazingly soft hands,
kindness oozed from him
he was incredibly handsome
and not anything like
my old scary pastor
in elgin…
he pulled me in for a bear hug
at first meeting
and i was instantly lost
in this big
flowing, purple robe.
he had dark hair
suntanned skin
and sparkling eyes…
his voice was a whisper
and his words of faith
pulled me in as a child.
the following year
when i started confirmation
expecting to see the
pretty youth leader as our guide
i was shocked when there
stood bill
in blue jeans, cowboy boots and
a cotton, cream colored romeo shirt..

i was speechless
and his presence was overwhelming…
my father was nothing like him
as he always wore drab suits
spoke very few words
worked a ton of hours
went to school at night
and i only saw him
in small pieces of time
like when he breezed in late
to eat leftovers
and spank my brothers
as i gazed from my closet
doors tiny keyhole
and watched…
i was always an observer,
always trusted my instinct
and truthfully
i feared my earthy father…
not because he was mean to me
but because he did not spend time
with me or even talk with me…
he was not a presence in
my growing up life
but he loved my mother
who was worldly,
a dreamer
and giver…
during my one year long
confirmation classes
bill’s love for the Lord
echoed in ever word spoken
from his lips…
he read us the bible
but did not preach the bible.
we weren’t forced to
memorize verses…
what he did was
help us to understand
the stories in the bible
to walk with jesus
hand in hand
and to trust God.
bill taught me
to listen
to be still
and as i grew older
my relationship with him
became bonded with
faith, trust and love…
i can still remember
being 16 and
driving home…
as i was passing my church
a car hit me and shoved my toyota
into the churches yard.
bill happened to see it
he ran out
and saved me…
i was unharmed
the other person was at fault
and i was mad…
bill threw his arms around me
walked me into the church
took care of the police
gave me a soda
and let me cry.
this is who he was.
we would meet
weekly and most of the times
i hardly spoke
and all he did was smile, hug me
and say, see you next week.
eventually i came to trust him completely
and our weekly staring at each other
became conversations between
a father and daughter,
something i yearned for
and what he offered freely
without judgement
encompassed by faith
and unconditional love
these weekly conversations continued
in person until i was 38 years old…

i look down at my phone again
its screen is asleep
and i think to myself
why today?
how could i have randomly picked
up my phone from my purse
and dialed him?
here i sit at my computer
some 3 hours later
writing you all
when i realize the message
i was sent…
living and sharing my life
with you
how i trust
and believe,
each day living
in the knowing that
without a doubt
God is love, He is my home
i can fall into the palm of
Jesus’s hand for warmth
acceptance, protection and forgiveness.
this gift was given to me
through one mans
unconditional love, patience and faith…
he was the most influential person
in my life for 39 years
my children were all baptized by him
we were blessed to attend his churches
until he retired to arkansas in the
mid 90’s…
even then weekly phone calls
covered me with his words
of support, encouragement and love.
and when i heard
he was dying
that his body was unable
to fight illnesses any longer
due to
his parkinson’s disease
i flew up there with doc.
as we entered the room
his spirit was still strong
and his eyes grew wide
as he spoke…”sheri, sheri is here…
i love sheri…”
i broke.
during our stay
bill and i recounted many memories
and i was given the gift
of not just telling him
how much i loved him,
i thanked him for being my father
and told him
“i will miss you, but i know i will see you in heaven…”
we cried
we hugged
and for the last time
a man of God
who lived his life
sharing and wearing his faith
for the whole world to see
let go,
succumbed to death
leaving a huge hole
in my soul…
i will be forever grateful
that i had the opportunity
to tell him goodbye…
so, bill
maybe i should have put
the phone to my ear
just maybe
it was you
calling me from heaven
letting me know
all is well,
and that one day
we will be together
and i will be within
your big embrace once more…