A Divine Connection
Neal Biship | The Revealment | Everywhere The Light | Zittelle | Foreword | Introduction | Vision
THIRD ROW, FRONT AND RIGHT
by James N. Pickard
clear afternoon of January 18, 1974, found me sitting quietly in a Dallas
chapel service, directly behind the family with whom I had lived and
shared sorrows and joys for twenty- two years, and whom I had grown to
love almost as dearly as my own. The familiar strains of "Beautiful
Isle of Somewhere" seemed to meet the rays of light that poured through
the brightly stained glass of the windows of the chapel. Each of them had
asked me to sit with the family for the services of Zittelle Biship
Brigance, known to me lovingly as Bee Bee, the great lady who had
cheerfully sewn on my buttons and fix my meals for those many years. Yes,
each of them had asked me , but I felt just a little less imposing and a
bit more comfortable in that first seat of the third row from the front.
I heard the words "How Great Thou Art" come ringing through the hushed chapel from the minister of music of a local Baptist church. The organ played loudly and in great contrast to the still, silent and beautifully young-looking body which lay in the white, gold and pink casket which I had helped to select for its final repose. Across the aisle sat the row of honorary pallbearers including two doctors, a Dallas fire chief and his son, my own brother-in-law and others. Honorary, and they would be just that, for there would be no mournful graveside service, with its dreary procession, for this women of God who had given her seventy-eight years as a happy, humble and faithful servant of God and His family. I was glad that the sun was shinning, for Bee Bee would have wanted nothing bleak and dreary on her last day to be seen by the world.
Every member of the family just in front of me sat still and reverent, each holding hands with the person next to him, none dressed in black, none needing to display grief or anxiety, preferring rather to show the Christian strength and courage which they had come to know through her teachings and by her example. There was Neal, her youngest son, who had been my buddy and business partner through these many years since we first became acquainted as members of the administrative staff of Southern Methodist University. This family and my family had lived within blocks of each other during those early years. I liked them all and came to know them well. After the death of my own Mother I had gone to live with them.
Next to Neal sat Gerald, his oldest brother, a man of sensitivity and depth, a musician, a golfer, a good friend. And next to Gerald sat Floreine, Bee Bee's only daughter, beautiful, lovable, knowledgeable. There was Rovene, Bee Bee's first granddaughter, who had lived with us, worked with Neal and me as our secretary; who had married Charles Jones, the son of a Baptist minister, in our home on Lakewood Boulevard; who had taught Sunday School for many years and who was in the process of raising three little girls (Charene, Sandy and Julie) who sat wondering why they would never be able to talk and play with their "Nanny" again. Too young to know the "whys" of life. Too old, perhaps, to ask. And there was Maureen, Floreine's other daughter, friendly, quiet, compassionate, and a girl whose beauty shown out from any crowd. Of course there were more. Many I knew, some I did not know.
The past three days had been closely akin to a somewhat saddened convention with the constant activity of visitors and phone calls along with the steady arrival of food and flowers and condolences. It had been trying and I think that all of us at home had been secretly wondering when Bee Bee would come in and take the situation over and bring things under control as she had so aptly done in the past. But Bee Bee was not there. At least, we didn't think she was.
But now, after almost fifteen months, we truly believe that she was there, and not only there but very much trying to let us know that she had made the transition into God's eternal kingdom, His next plane, His paradise, His Heaven. For the ensuing activities over the months to come would have staggered the minds and imaginations of most everyone who walks upon today's earth.
Factual rationality had always been one of my strongholds on life, Christianity the other. I had always applied both in life and in education, in business school, in law and in philosophy at the university. These had been particularly foremost in my training as a special agent in the U.S. Army, and in my later teaching as a Captain in CIC. For we observed many things and talked little to others about the most important issues at hand.
Suddenly I found myself confronted with phenomena pertaining to the greatest army of all, the Army of God. I had for years known of the telepathic communication which flowed between Neal and his mother. The two almost seemed as one. The answers to my questions from each would be basically the same. Ask one of them something in one room and you might well receive the answer to your question from the other one in another part of the house. Neal would go to the kitchen for coffee only to find it handed to him from the hallway. His Mother would automatically hand to her at the door, completely unaware, it would seem, that there had been no verbal request or conversation. What he did and thought, she knew. What she did and thought, he knew. It appeared to be as simple as that between them. It was almost like being around one mind with two bodies. Their unity was not one of domination by either party. The oneness of the two was near astonishing.
Neal had been born when his Mother was twenty-nine, some nine and ten years later than his brother and sister. Bee Bee had told me, and others including Ann, that she knew the moment he was conceived. She had been given the foresight to know that he was to be "something special" and she had set out during her pregnancy to study and to read everything good she could possibly obtain. Certainly, his sensitivity to people and places, things and situations, was the epitome of any I had known and most likely accounted for successes in the fields of commercial and fine arts and in creative writing. The president of the college he had attended in California had told me privately of his sensitivity and her belief that both he and his mother were "old souls" metaphysically specking - a fact which I simply pigeon-holed in my mind for future reference.
Bee Bee had been born and raised a Baptist, and baptized in the Little Red River of northeastern Arkansas at a place called Heber Springs, which had been discovered by her grandfather, the late Dr. Andrew Jackson Underwood. Certainly she had never delved into the worlds of occult sciences, nor had she studied or shown much interest in philosophy or metaphysics. I was aware of the fact that she had tremendous psychic ability which could instantly read people before they had a chance to tell her who they were. I do know that she sincerely believed that each of us has a guardian angel; and hers would always appear to her to warn of any tragic event which was to befall exactly one day following the appearance of the "apparition," presumably her dearly beloved deceased Great-aunt Minnie. And it is in truth that I say her Aunt Minnie was about on the day prior to the death of any loved one. For, many times down through the years, Bee Bee would say, "Jim, Aunt Minnie was here today." Inevitably, the following day would bring the sad news. But a prophesier or a fortune-teller she was not, and would have no part in either even as a game. She had told me that on one occasion a friend of hers finally coaxed her into visiting a prominent mystic who told the lady's fortune. The mystic looked at Bee Bee's flashing black eyes and said, "Lady, you should be sitting here. You could tell me." Bee Bee said, "I know I could do just that," and walked out of the place.
In a letter Neal found recently, while going through some of his Mother's papers, she had written, "...these beautiful letters, beautiful prayers, I read today, and so very often when I need extra love and strength to guide me. I cherish these among my dearest possessions, my darling son, and I shall be loving you on through eternity." The letter was written and tucked away among her mementos almost three years prior to the date of her passing. In another letter he discovered the words, "...as this little picture was made, I was looking toward the South Pacific and praying for a mental telepathy message from you. I truly received a very close feeling. Note the 'extra light' around my head and heart that expresses some of my feeling - and it is so mystery to me, for that ray of light penetrated through my body, believe it or not. You are the only one I have told about this picture." And the picture was one which Neal carried with him while serving in the South Pacific. The light around his Mother's heart and head shines brightly and unexplained in the photograph.
I also know that on Christmas evening of 1944, Bee Bee was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and suddenly had the only case of hysterics that I know of during her entire lifetime. A doctor has to be called at once to administer medication. She told the family that Neal was in dire trouble and asked to pray deeply. It was at that very moment that Neal's ship was torpedoed off the coast in Leyte Gulf. Many were killed and the ship was on fire and sinking. Before Neal abandoned the he vividly saw his Mother standing before him to tell him that he was being protected by Jesus Christ and he would be safe. Not a hair on his head was harmed.
Bee Bee was one of the candle-lighters of this world but the candles she lighted were in the hearts of those she knew. She believed in Life, in Light. She believed in the Father, the son, and the Holy Ghost. Her smile was contagious, her eyes as clear and as sharp as her mind, even to the morning when she left us. She was proud of her heritage and she was at home in a country club or the corner dime store. Wherever she was, her presence was felt instantly. I have seen people on the street just stop and look at her strange combination of outward and inward beauty. I have seen her extend her hand and her heart to strangers she had never seen before or would never see again. Like my own Mother, she truly seemed to live one step beyond the golden rule - to loving others more than she loved herself.
Two years before her death, while sinking and low at Gaston Hospital, she had whispered to Neal to call the Phebeans, her prayer group in Tulsa, where she had been vice president of the largest women's Sunday School class in the city, and to tell them to pray. He did and they did. The following day she told me that Jesus had stood by her bed, held her hand, and told her that she could have more time on earth. She told us confidentially that when her pastor entered the room, Jesus stepped to one side so the pastor could stand by her bed and pray. She wanted so tell him that Jesus was standing right there, watching, listening, loving them both, but she did not. This was no euphoric delusion to her. Bee Bee was there, all there, and so were Jesus and the preacher.
For years I heard Neal and his Mother talk about their "place," some private place in the shies of the dreams, I presume, where they would go to meet and visit their beloved, many of whom had long passed on. They called it their "Somewhere" and it seemed like a delightful figment of imagination to me until I noted one day, many years ago, that each was sitting in a separate room, drawing a picture of this particular "Somewhere" place. The sketches matched each other, and so did the people they visited with and discussed at the breakfast table. What seemed to be a dream fast became a reality, one of which Neal has already painted in oils, one in which he can visit mentally with Bee Bee at any given moment, and one in which he has regular visits with her while he sleeps.
Two and two makes four. It is as simple as that. So I was not greatly surprised when the messages began coming through to Neal, sounding like Bee Bee, written in handwriting that appeared to be like Bee Bee's. In his half-trance state of consciousness, or whatever, he began to write furiously, much too fast for composition; yet the words, the sentences, never needed clarifying or changing for continuity. Although written hurriedly, the messages were nearly perfect. Each left him in an awakened state of tearful exhaustion. I would read them back to him as he regained strength, for he would barely remember, if at all, the subject matter of the messages. Before each message he would light a candle and say a prayer to God for protection, directions which had been given to him in one of the early messages. I have watched many times as he sat across the room from a lighted candle, transcribing the words as they flashed across his half-closed eyes, first by pen, later by typewriter, seemingly unaware that there was any existence about him at all except the swiftly moving fingers upon the tablet of the keyboard. (The lighted candle had been suggested in one of the messages to aid in the transmission.)
It has been suggested and I have personally wondered if many of our greatest works, in writing and in music and in art, possibly have come through the artist in this manner, swiftly and with great import, from the good of the hereafter, from somewhere the artist didn't know - or didn't dare tell. I have read that the works of Robert Louis Stevenson came in this manner, this dazed, half-here, half-there rapid succession of words joined together in rapid-fire motion to give the world another good work, to leave the world with more good than it previously had.
There have been several entitles which have seemingly sat at the keyboards of paradise sending forth transcripts through Neal's perception and transcription. Strange it is that the first other person to write or transmit was Mark Twain, a writer not studied and not greatly admired by Neal, but loving the world over for his wit and humor. The style appears the same, as does the content of these messages, and there has been established a very possible connection between Neal's grandfathers on both sides with the famed humorist. Too, Bee Bee once called attention to the fact that Neal had unknowingly painted Mark Twain's face upon a rock in one of his landscapes, a fact which seemed to cause the famed writer some chagrin, as expressed in one of his transmittals. Messages have come from others from time to time, all different in tone and quality and content, but all so real and containing so much information, unknown to Neal, that any scoffer should become a converted believer in greater worlds than we know.
With Communism and every other Anti-Christ plague fast casting their ugly shadows around the globe, it is delightfully reassuring to know that good is very much at work today and that the very Hand of God moves across the twentieth century walls. Truth stands alone without armor. It is its own protection. The messages contained herein do likewise. God is everywhere and the Light of God can penetrate the very darkest age of every civilization. I, for one, believe that much of this Light illumines these pages.
In reflecting back to the chapel service, how well I remember the beautiful message from the pastor. Somewhere between the closing bars of "Sunrise Tomorrow" and slight lump in my throat , I knew that the time had come to say goodbye to a beloved and faithful friend. One by one, each member of the family stood by the open casket to take a long and lasting look at a radiant even in death , a face never to be forgotten, and to implant one last kiss upon the brow of someone loved by all. Rovene could barely stand back from her one and only "Mom Bee" and the little Julie asked painfully if she could "get in and go with Nanny."
Pink and white and gold were her colors and everything was pink and white and gold for the moment as I leaned forward to kiss her on the forehead and touch the tiny white Bible which lay beside her. We had said our goodbyes when Neal came to her side for the last time on earth. His eyes were deep and moist as he placed a small white cross in her hand and kissed her gently on the forehead. I noticed a single tear left there. Too, I noticed that he did not say goodbye.
Outside the sun was shinning brightly and the skies were the bluest I had seen in Texas in many years. I heard my sister Billie say, "This is the way I want my own funeral to be. It was so beautiful." And as I walked toward the car I heard one lady exclaim to another, "Jesus was here today. I know it. I felt it!"
I looked at the guest book in my hand and almost felt that He, Himself, had signed it.
Neal Biship | The Revealment | Everywhere The Light | Zittelle | Foreword | Introduction | Vision
My Brother Elvis by David Stanley
Divine Connection All rights reserved.
revised: September 06, 2016