Peace at the Edge of Uncertainty
Author: Neil Hanson
A circle has no beginning and no end. Imagine yourself sitting in the center of this circle and each part of the circumference has special grooves that only you can see as you start from the center groove at the top of the circle and work your way around until you come back to the exact place where your journey began. Each groove delineates a special event or time in your life that you want to remember. Each groove reminds you of the reasons are you here, your purpose and how you finally found your place in this world. When you enter the world of Neil Hanson and you open the pages of this inspirational book you too will be able to see the many grooves on the outer rim of the circle and you too will experience the same things he does and feel the warmth of the light, the spirit of G-d and take the path with him leading to him to understand the Breath of G-d on his cheek and comprehending the meaning of a final goodbye. This book was written to his father in the form of a letter but in the author’s voice. The letter is written hoping that wherever his father is his words and thoughts will reach him. Explaining not only to the reader but to his father too that he felt his transformation from this world and understood that he would now be within the Divine realm, which he could only vaguely touch or understand. As I started reading this book I realized that this young man who watched his father leaving this world had to come to grips with his own place in this world before he could go on. Explaining their relationship and their lack of closeness and strong emotional ties you begin to see the struggles he faced and the conflicts within him. But, Neil had many ways to release his tensions in order to understand himself. If anyone had really listened or opened their eyes or even followed him when he missed or cut classes they would have found him in the library reading poetry and other literature. Throughout the first part of the letter he apologizes to his father for his behavior.
This is not just the story of a young man watching his father leave this world as the story begins. It is about a brilliant mind and yet troubled mind that needed to find an outlet that would help him comprehend his father’s transformation form from his earthly body into the world of G-d. Your journey will begin as we go around the circle, stop at the many added grooves and experience the events at each one.
Let’s start with the first groove to the right of the center of the circle. Stop there. Close your eyes and listen to the author’s thoughts as you experience that morning of his wrestling match, the anticipation of meeting his opponent, the raw physical dominance exuded by the boy named King and the out of body experience that follows. As the match begins and then is restarted a second time Neil is lifted up and then darkness overtakes him. But, as the world below deals with this plight, someone calls for a doctor, he slowly rises above the action, his body lying on flat on the mat face-up but his spirit floating above. Drawn out of his human form he feels emotionless and devoid of any feelings. The scene below is frantic and the world as he knows it “becomes more opaque.” Then, the light appears. What happens next is almost breathtaking but then he questions himself and realizes what he needs to do as he reenters his human form. As he states, “The Breath of G-d had wrapped itself around the Soul within me, and had whispered a Truth beyond human words into the depths of my being.” Now his true journey began as he searched for answers and someone who could help him along the way.
Life is a journey as he sates a well-lived life will open the Soul within us to the Divine Presence. The wrestling match should have been his awakening. Although running from G-d at first he finally realized that he was always there waiting for him and guiding him to the light and to dance once again.
Groove 2: Move once again to the right as we learn more his battle between the soul and ego. His journey would begin with finding people who would help him seek and approach G-d. He knew no one. Hearing Neil explain to his father how he wanted to find G-d and was searching into the darkness. Sometimes as we view things we see them clearly but then mask the thoughts until the darkness is finally lifted and we can find the door, which will lead us into the light.
Angry that his father was not always there for him he envelops himself in anger, bitterness and resentment thinking what he sees is really dishonesty and manipulation.
Next groove: As the author begins this part of the journey he walks within the garden of tradition. Viewing the walls of the church as a barrier that would not allow him to begin his search and hampered him rather than realizing that the Church was his starting point and the garden to walk through allowing him to find Eden and the darkness or storm clouds would life while speaking to his father.
Groove 4: At the bottom in the center we enter the hospital room and meet his family. Move a little more to the right until you find the middle groove at the bottom of the circle. His mother picks him up at the airport but the air between them is not warm. The distance and lack of concern for her is apparent. Entering his father’s room he and his father are the only ones there. Recounting childhood memories that clouded his feelings about his father. But, his parent’s relationship was rocky and at times they broke up and his father was often consumed with alcohol making it hard for Neil to depend and lean on him. Let’s meet Julie and Erik who are his sister and brother. Julie is able to express her feelings and show them where Erik is his younger brother and he expresses regret at not being as close as he would have liked. But, that day forgiveness was in control and definitely had the upper hand. The bond was strong among the three yet not with their mother. Would things have been different had she been included? Sad and heartfelt. Looking at his father all he wanted was to forgive him for his mistakes and redemption.
Move to the left: We are almost there. As Neil, his mother and siblings watch his father pass. Each moment is filled with thoughts linked to a mystical world of Divine Light. As Neil finally tells his father he loves him and forgives him you feel a sense of relief within the author’s mind and heart and his understanding of what will come next. Seeing his father pass from this world to the next brought them closer than they have ever been before.
I watched my sister lie in the hospital bed for one month hooked up to machines to keep her alive. Breathing tubes, feeding tubes, heart monitors and much more as the doctors just stared at her and at me not knowing when the end was coming and not giving me or my family any hope. Not wanting the inevitable to and hoping as Neil did for a miracle or one doctor who would find a way to bring her back or his father back, the bright light shined and the hardest decisions had to be made. As the tension in her faced eased and her hand gripped mine whether she heard my voice or a reaction, she slipped further towards the light. Removing his father from life support was heartbreaking yet uneventful. Yet not inviting his mother into the circle or near the groove in the circumference. His feelings expressed on pages 64-66. While you wait for the end and it is so heart wrenching you speak to the person still hoping they will open their eyes and come back to life. But, he sat there with his brother and his father left this world as he felt the mystic breeze coming closer to them and the hand of G-d resting on their shoulders waiting to dance once again. What happens next as he and his father are alone you have to read and experience on your own with the author to understand the jubilation he felt as the chorus of angel expanded and the bubble of light consumed both him and his father.
Author Neil Hanson describes his grief, his feelings through the lens of eyes or a camera as they focus on the events and describe the final rung of this journey home. Neil describes the end of the journey so vividly, graphically and emotionally. He deals with many questions about life and death that most people chose to avoid. He focuses on life after death and his feelings for his father and coming full circle with them. We go back to the beginning and the last groove right at the top in the center of the circle as the author asks his father where his soul has gone and states his beliefs in reincarnation. There is much more that the author relates but you need to read the last chapters on your own and take the final steps and drive home along with Neil as he has a vision that just might change everything and what it means you will learn when you read pages 87- 89. Ending this outstanding inspiration book with a special poem to his father on page 93 which says it all. He concludes with an epilogue, suggested reading and book club questions. The epilogue includes his final thoughts and the many lessons he learned.
An inspirational book written from the heart and hopefully will help others understand the process of life after death, forgiveness and dealing with the loss of a parent or loved one. Peace at the Edge of Uncertainty: What a perfect title. Life presents itself and we really never know where the many grooves or edges will take us. Thank you Neil for sharing your letter and thoughts. Thank you for asking me to review you book.
Fran Lewis: reviewer