A Pre-Joseph Philosophy.
While discussing the origins of my last ‘long-read’ blog with Tony, he at one point commented: ‘Ah – so you’re relating parables.’ Yes, I thought, that’s exactly what I used to attempt to do. What a great umbrella title for what I now intend to evolve into a series of blogs, initiated last time with ‘the Graduate’, a re-presentation of one of the philosophy ‘stories’ I delivered during services at spiritualist churches decades ago and recently rediscovered. These took shape long before conscious connection with Joseph had happened, but were nevertheless inspired by promptings from his soul group prior to the major shift in focus and delivery that would permit the ‘downloading’ of the Joseph Communications series of books.
As mentioned in ‘the Graduate’, Jane, ever the meticulous record-keeper, recently unearthed a stack of hard copy sheets she’d collected from those times when, having been inspired, I would quickly jot down the ‘beats’ of an intended philosophy – some of these scribblings being quite detailed, others little more than brief ‘sketches’. Each of these writings exists because once I had been given an inspiration it was important that I commit it to paper in order to anchor it in my memory prior to services taking place. I discovered that only two thirds of this second entry – Empty Houses – had been recorded in note form. It has therefore required a polish and an updating and its conclusion has needed to be retrieved from the ether by me mentally reaching back through the years to eventually recall the tale’s conclusion.
Here’s Empty Houses:
‘Look,’ she says to her unexpected visitor, drawing his attention to the scene outside the bedroom window. ‘The leaves are beginning to fall.’
‘It is autumn,’ the young man reminds her.
‘I hadn’t noticed,’ she says. ‘Thinking about it, there couldn’t be a better time to leave.’
‘Why’s that?’ he asks.
‘Well, when winter gets into these old bones I usually have around six months of painful joints to look forward to.’
‘What are you thinking about?’ he asks presently.
‘Well, this may seem strange, but I’m remembering an empty house. Dan and I had been married for a year or so and we were still living with his parents. Don’t get me wrong, they were very good to us, but the place wasn’t our own. We wanted somewhere we could call home and we finally found the right place.
‘I remember every detail of that empty house – and I do mean empty. The previous owners had taken everything with them, right down to the curtain hooks, the light bulbs, and even the plugs from the bath and the sinks. We didn’t mind. This was our first home and we set about decorating it with passion and limitless energy. The first room we completed was the nursery, because by this time Thomas was well on his way.
‘We named him Thomas not for any biblical reason, you understand – although with hindsight there seemed to be some doubt about him. He was too good a baby, you see. Just perfect. And he often appeared to be far older – far wiser – than his years.
‘So, when on his sixth birthday he contracted that dreadful disease, it felt to me as though God was claiming him back somehow. I will never forget that awful day – the three of us rushing to the hospital in the morning – and only two of us coming out at night.
‘When we returned home, the house really was empty. Not with anticipation this time, but with lack. We couldn’t hear him playing upstairs, or softly singing himself to sleep. It was as though the light had gone out of our lives, and Dan and I didn’t seem to have anything much to say to each other anymore. We eventually decided to move, thinking that a change of scene might help put things right.
‘Another packing. Another unpacking. Another empty house. But it didn’t satisfy. We just seemed to take our troubles with us. The house remained kind of empty … silent and brooding, until the day I bumped into Molly, that is. And when I say ‘bumped into” that’s exactly what happened.
‘I’ve always hated shopping. And, I remember, I was in a department store. I’d bought whatever it was I needed to buy and I was heading for the revolving doors and freedom, head down, getting up steam, not looking where I was going. I caught a glimpse of a large lady with a cigarette in one hand and an overstuffed handbag in the other. and then – BANG! I’d ploughed into her at speed and I watched, almost in slow motion it seemed, as her bag flew up into the air, somersaulted, fell to the floor then seemed to explode, spilling its contents to the four corners of the store. It made such a noise that everyone in the room turned and looked to see what was happening. Then almost every person on that floor – or so it seemed – bent over, picked up one of the many objects that had spun out from the bag, and brought it over to me. I’d picked up the bag and had to wait until all its contents were returned to it before I could hand it back to the lady.
‘Eventually the picking-things-up-and-handing-them-to-me frenzy subsided and I dusted down the bag and offered it apologetically to the lady.
‘It was then I noticed that she was shaking. Goodness, I thought. She’s going to have a fit. I then looked at her face for the first time and noticed that tears were streaming down her cheeks behind her thick glasses. Not tears of sadness, however – she was laughing uncontrollably!
‘I handed her her bag and apologised again. She assured me that there was absolutely no problem and went on to say that she hadn’t enjoyed so hearty a laugh in many years. She seemed more concerned about me, said she couldn’t let me go home looking so upset and invited me for a coffee and a cake in the store’s cafe.
‘Well, we got on instantly. It was as though we had known each other for years – firm friends, despite having met just moments earlier.
‘Molly began to visit my house and from that time onwards laughter returned to it. As though she had brought it with her.
‘After we’d been friends for about six months I remember the frantic knocking at my front door one morning around seven o’clock. I opened it to find an excited Molly standing on the doorstep. She swept into the hallway and announced: Kid, we’re going into business!
‘Business?’ I repeated. Whatever are you talking about? What are we going to sell? We don’t know anything about business…’
‘We’ll sell what we’re good at,’ she replied. ‘Soft furnishings. Curtains. Cushions. Valances. You can make them and I can sell them. Get dressed. There’s something I want you to see.’
‘She bundled me into her car, at that time in the morning, and we roared off to an empty shop – the third time an empty building had featured in my life. I stood there in the front sales area, which was bare apart from a radiator and an old blind at the window, and looked at Molly as though she’d gone mad.’
‘Look’, she said, seeming to read my thoughts. ‘I need this You need this. We’re buying this shop.’
‘And we did.
‘I was based in the shop mostly, sewing the products we intended to sell. Molly went out and sold them. She could charm the birds out of the trees, that one. Soon we had regular orders from market traders, shops, small companies… and we were doing very nicely, thank you.
‘Then, about a year into the business, Molly went into hospital. Oh, she came out all right… on that occasion. There was just less of her than when she had gone in.
‘I remember her standing in front of me, now minus a portion of lung, and, as usual, with a cigarette in one hand, saying: “They tell me I’m a very lucky woman. They also tell me that, unless I stop smoking, the cancer could return. Well, I said to them. I’ve been a hundred a day girl since I was eight and I’m not going to stop now.”
‘I never knew when to take her seriously, but for all I know she had been smoking for that long – certainly I’d never seen her without her trademark cigarette in her hand.
‘About a year later the cancer came back, and this time Molly didn’t come out of hospital.
‘This time I was determined not to go to pieces. In a way it was like losing Thomas again, but I asked myself what Molly would have wanted and decided she would have wanted me to carry on with the business. And so, as a tribute to her, that’s exactly what I did.
‘Now I was the one who had to go out and sell the goods, of course. Little me, who wouldn’t say boo to a goose. I had to drive around and I was scared of driving. I found myself in Managing Director’s offices with my folder of products and – somehow – I sold them. I did well. So well, in fact, that I needed to take on two girls, then four, then eight, until eventually there was a team of ten people crammed into that little shop producing my soft furnishings.
‘I even got into airplanes. Me – who’s scared to death of flying! I went to Italy. And Germany. And France. And wherever I went I somehow ended up with an order.
‘We did so well that Dan and I were able to move into another empty house, this one so big you almost needed a bus to get from one end of it to the other.
‘Then, one night, Dan dropped his bombshell.
‘He stood in front of me with that look and said: “I’ve been thinking and I’ve come to the conclusion that I‘d like to take some time out before I get too old and – well – go around the world, and see the countries and peoples I’ve always dreamed of seeing before it’s too late.”
‘Oh’ I replied quietly. After considering the prospect for a couple of minutes I said: ‘All right then, Dan. I don’t see why we can’t go. I can trust the girls for a few weeks – months if needs be, I suppose. Yes. Let’s go…’
‘No’, he said slowly. ‘You don’t understand. I want to go by myself…Without you.’
‘Ah,’ I said.
‘It turned out he’d already packed his bags, and I remember that night, vividly… looking through the lounge window with my back to him so he couldn’t see by face. And I remember Dan slipping quietly out of the front door.
‘There I was again, faced with an empty house. Again, I decided to move. I could afford somewhere even grander by now. Lots of rooms. Lovely gardens. But I rolled around in all those rooms all by myself for a couple of months before realising the house hadn’t cured my blues at all, and that it was time to give back to the world a little of what the world had given to me. It seemed obvious. Children. I would in some way help children.
‘I decided to sell the business and I made a pretty penny for it, I can tell you. Enough to keep me comfortably for the rest of my life and to allow me to convert all those rooms, excluding the kitchen and one lounge, into ‘mini apartments’. I sorted out all the legal stuff and signed all the papers and was endlessly checked out by the authorities and then I took on a small staff and I waited. The local authorities seemed happy to take advantage of my facilities but I’d no idea whether my venture would be successful.
‘Then children began to be delivered to my door. Children who had been badly treated. Children who had no parents. Children who had run away from home. Children who just needed to feel safe and know that someone understood and cared. Sometimes they would only be with me for a few days. Sometimes for weeks. And months. But they were always made welcome and the house came alive to the sounds of laughter and innocence and love.
‘…And that, young man, just about brings us up to date…’
‘How curious,’ she says, following a few moments of silence.
‘Standing here with you, sort of outside of myself, looking back at myself.’
‘And what do you see?’
She looks closely at the body sitting like a statue in the corner armchair, the cup of cocoa still steaming, untouched, on the small table by its side.
‘Well, it’s just like looking at another empty house, really…except this is one I‘m relieved to vacate, if I’m honest. It’s become more than a little creaky in recent years.’
‘And what do you think of your life now?’
‘How do you mean?’
‘Any thoughts on all those empty houses? And how you filled them?’
‘When I was young I was afraid of so many things. Of living. Of dying. Of being alone.’
‘Now… I somehow see that each empty house marked the end of one thing and the beginning of another. That as one door closed, another opened. And somehow I now understand that each empty house was a necessary step. An opportunity. A metaphor for what was happening in my life… no – what needed to happen in my life. I coloured each one with past experiences but it also gave me the space – the room – to let in new ones. None of those houses stayed empty for long, and I’m not talking about furniture. And once one was full to the brim I moved on to another.’
Now I feel young again. Energised. Liberated. Tell me… would you happen to know what comes next for me?’
‘Tell me what you see…’
She peers past the young man into what has thus far just been a sort of opaque and sparkly mist. It suddenly clears to reveal the most wondrous and magical of landscapes. Everywhere there are vivid colours and intricate textures she struggles to describe. There are exotic trees and plants. A perfect sky above them. An overall golden light infusing everything. Rolling purple hills in the distance with a winding road leading up to them. And, in the foreground, by the side of that road, stands…
An empty house.
A house she recognises. A house she has imagined many times and has always dreamed of owning. And here it is. Doors. Windows. Roof. Real. Perfect. Right down to the smallest detail.
‘It’s yours,’ says the young man.
‘You built it in this spot during your life on Earth. Brick by brick. Call it the end product of all your experiences, of all the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ you went through.’
He folds his arms and raises an eyebrow. ’So…What’s your next step?…’
’Well…’ she says, looking down at herself. ‘I suppose I can’t exactly do what I did with all those other empty houses in the past… I don’t seem to have anything with me except the clothes I’m standing up in.’
‘Wrong,’ he says. ‘You’ve brought with you all that rich experience. In this house you can examine that experience: lessons learned, others unfolding, at leisure… And then eventually…’
‘Once you’ve filled it to the brim with past experience and with the exciting new ones this place offers? What then?’
She gazes wistfully towards the distant hills. Feels their pull on her. Somehow knows there are even better places than the one she now finds herself in, just beyond the horizon. ‘I think I’ll want to move on.’
And something suddenly occurs to her
‘I know you, don’t I?’ she asks, realising for the first time that she’s been carrying on a conversation with a young man who just suddenly appeared next to her chair as she was preparing for bed.
‘Yes, of course you do…’ he says gently. ‘But go now. Fill your empty house. Become re-acquainted with this place and we’ll talk again soon… mother’.
‘Thomas?’ she cries.
His body seems to glow, then it slowly fades from view, the last thing to disappear being his smile. Just like the Cheshire cat, she thinks.
It all makes sense to her now. She doesn’t know how she knows but she realises that Thomas only needed to visit the Earth for a short time. There was something he wanted to conclude – some kind of ‘unfinished business’. Some spiritual reason for his being born and the brevity of his stay. Something to do with vibrations and energies and understandings. And she had been the means by which he was able to fulfil that short mission. Filled with joy she approaches the door of her empty house.
Which is not quite empty. As she reaches it the door opens and she is greeted by a familiar sight.
‘Hi, Kid,’ laughs Molly. ‘Took you long enough to get here.’
For a few moments all she can focus on is the cigarette in Molly’s hand. She watches the wisp of smoke slowly curling upwards from its tip.
‘Oh, don’t mind this,’ says Molly. ‘Habit. I don’t need it and it can’t harm me here…
‘You’re going to love this place – and have I got plans for what we can do next…’
She turns to look behind her. The chair she had been sitting in, the image of her sitting in it and the room around it seem to be getting smaller. Shrinking, somehow. ‘No. Correction,’ she thinks. ‘They’re getting further away. Now my last house is just a pinpoint.
‘…And now it’s gone.’
She turns back to her new home. Smiles at Molly.
‘Right,’ she determines. ‘Onwards and upwards. Literally.’
I think (I hope) the above is self-explanatory – today’s ‘parable’ serving as a gentle reminder that no situation in our Earthly lives is wasted.
And that no-one is ever lost.
And that today’s material challenges are tomorrow’s spiritual triumphs.
And that our lives here, no matter how difficult, will one day lead us back to a place we can call home.
That place, however, will not be a fixed point. Will not be a static landscape. We are each destined to travel that winding road that leads us into and through successively higher, successively more refined vibrations and realties, and will eventually lead us out into Infinity and to a joyful reclaiming of our angelic heritage.