3:02 A.M. CDT — September 11, 2011 1,266

I awoke, fully alert, heart pounding, beads of sweat on my forehead, with my hands propping myself up in the bed, staring into the darkness.  I was supposed to be in Perry Hall, Maryland—but I wasn’t.  I was back in my home by the lake inHendersonville,Tennessee, gazing across the room at a clock with huge, iridescent numbers, purchased so that I could read it without my glasses.

      3:02 A.M.

      I must be dreaming.  Obviously.  So I tried to move, thinking that such a maneuver would confirm my suspicions that I was in the middle of a visionary state.  I ached.  I was creaky.  It felt real.  I got to my feet, walked around and turned on the little lamp near the bed.  It was weird.  It was my room.  I strolled to my closet, and there were all my clothes and shoes.  Glancing into the bathroom, I saw my favorite shave cream and the toothpaste tube, askew, absent a cap.  What was going on?

      I tried to wake myself up.  No success.  So I made my way out of the bedroom into what we used to call Living Room 2.  There was my white grand piano to the right and my dining room set to the left.  I stepped into my nearby office and there was a calendar.  It read September.  But not 2011.  No, it was September, 2001.

      I was so confused—because I had full awareness of what the reality was in my world of 2011, but it seems I had been transported backwards to a life that was no longer mine—just a memory of children and the past. 

      Suddenly I heard a sound—someone coming up the stairs.  So I stepped back out of my office, and there, at the top of the stairs was my son, Jasson.  But not the 25-year-old man I know now, who is married and on his own, but rather, a scrawny, bleary-eyed 15-year-old, who was trying to figure why Dad was up in the middle of the night. 

      I asked him what the date was.  He looked at me, bewildered, and said, “September 10th.  I mean… 11th.” 

      So I asked him what year.  “Are you all right, Dad?” he queried.

      I realized I was scaring him, so I softened my tone.  “No, Jass, I was just curious to hear you tell me the whole date.”  It was stupid and awkward, but he went along with it. 

      “It’s September 11th, 2001.”

      A chill went down my spine.  I quietly and quickly sent him back off to bed, assuring him that I wasn’t crazy.  I sat down in my easy chair in the living room and deliberated what to do next, because I knew the significance of the date.  I don’t know HOW I knew, because if I really was back in my home, ten years previously, I would have had no awareness.  But I did know.  This was the day that our country would be attacked by terrorists.  How did I know that?

      Once again I tried to wake myself up.  Unsuccessful.  I had to do something.  I had to call somebody.  I looked for my cell phone and couldn’t find it, and then realized that in 2001 I didn’t have one.  So I picked up the land line and dialed the Hendersonville Police Department.  I tried to explain to the night dispatcher that there was going to be a chaotic event happening inNew York Cityand inWashington,D.C., in the next few hours, and I needed to warn people so the tragedy could be averted.  Needless to say, the young woman on the other end was not only confused, but eventually became a bit belligerent over my insistence.  So I asked her if she had the number for the FBI or the CIA.  She didn’t.

      I called information and finally was able to track down a number for the Federal Bureau of Investigation inWashington,D.C.  I dialed it.  A voice came on with a series of suggestions of departments and individuals to contact regarding particular issues, but every time I punched in a number there was nobody there.

      A new reality struck me.  Not only was I running out of time, but New Yorkwas an hour later.  It was now 3:30 in the morning, Central Daylight Time.  It was 4:30 inNew York.  In less than five hours, lives would be lost.  What could I do?

      I tried to call government agencies.  Of course, most of them were closed.  I thought about waking up my neighbors and seeing if some of them might have an idea, but honestly, I didn’t know my neighbors well enough to bother them in the middle of the night, and I really didn’t think their ideas would be any better than mine at this point. 

      I sat for ten minutes, swimming in fear, yet drowning in the absence of inspiration.  I prayed.  As I prayed, I realized that God had already answered the prayer by informing ME—to be his prophet, to save three thousand lives inNew York City.  But what could I do?  I didn’t even really have enough memory about the specifics of the event to warn anyone about how to avoid the disaster.  I was intelligently ignorant.  What a dastardly place to be!  I decided I needed to wake up the family and let them know of my situation, but as I walked through the house, it was unexplainably empty. 

      So it was a dream. 

      But it still didn’t feel that way.  I left messages on phones.  I called the police department again and asked them to send a car over.  And then I dozed off.  So it must NOT be a dream if I could doze off in the middle of it, right?

      The next thing I knew there was a pounding on the door.  I stood to my feet, looked out the window, and my front driveway was filled with police cars.  I opened the door and three policemen pushed their way through and put handcuffs on me, took me out the door and into the awaiting vehicle.

      “Why are you arresting me?” I asked.

      The policeman turned to me and said, “Two airplanes just flew into theWorldTradeCenterinNew York City.  And we have messages from you saying that you knew it was going to happen.  You’re under arrest until we find out the extent of your involvement.”

      As the caravan of cars backed out of my driveway and headed off to the police station, my neighbors stood out in their yards, peering at me in disbelief.  I apparently was a criminal.  All I had done was to wake up ten years to soon.  Or was it ten years too late?

      They placed me in a jail cell and I was so exhausted that I lay down on the hard bunk and fell asleep.  I dreamed.  In the dream, a man came into my cell and stood before me.

      “Who are you?” I asked.

      “Don’t worry about that,” he said with a smile.  “What would you like to know?”

      I laughed out loud.  What would I like to know??  How about why was I in a jail cell?  Was I dreaming?  How could I get out of this horrible visitation?  But possessing a bit of a smart-mouth, I replied, “What I would like to know is the meaning of life.”

      “Sure,” he said.  He leaned over and whispered in my ear, and then backed away.  As he did, He said, “Get up and write it down—so you don’t forget.”

      I did.  I found a piece of paper in the jail cell (weird, huh?) and wrote it down. I lay back down on my bunk and went to sleep.  The next thing I knew, I was waking up several hours later in Perry Hall, Maryland. 

      Thank God for normalcy.  Thank God the nightmare was over.

      I realized that we often lament why God doesn’t intervene in human affairs.  I now understand that if He did, no one would believe Him.

      I was dismissing the whole event as absolute idiocy—or eating too much rich food at night—when I noticed a piece of paper next to my bed.  I remembered that I had written something on a piece of paper in my dream.  Yes—it was the meaning of life.  I slowly reached over and gingerly took the paper in my hand.  It was my handwriting.  I read it aloud.  I read aloud the meaning of life.

      “No one is better than anyone else.”

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