Hearing Voices: In memory of a friend

car-in-garageIt was summer.  High School was over, and University would begin in three months.  My best friend, Steve and I would go to different Universities in different states.  We were very close and I was sure to miss him.  I actually only had two close friends in High School and he was the closest.   Both of us knowing time was short, we decided to enjoy the summer and spend lots of time together.  His parents had given him a brand new car for graduation so we had wheels and we agreed to get together every other day after work to do stuff — we golfed, weight-lifted, went to libraries and stores and chatted a lot.  We also double-dated.  My girlfriend lived next door to him — he had introduced us– and his girlfriend, very conveniently, lived in the house next to hers.

Steve was from an Evangelical Christian family and had gently tried to draw me into their church during the last two years.  I was a self-declared atheist but was not afraid to explore anything.  I had started reading the bible seriously about three months before the summer — besides, his neighbor (my new girlfriend), was a devote Baptist.   Learning the Bible could benefit me in several ways.   Having a few devote friends, made me wonder if there was something to this religious stuff.  And sometimes when Steve and I met, we discussed the Bible — though he was more the non-debating type.  We were very close, even when we disagreed.

So we met every other day and enjoyed our summer.  Steve’s parents took his sister and went down to Kentucky on a two week vacation and left Steve home because he had a job.  That made it even more fun to meet up — we felt like adults.  But one day Steve broke our pattern — It had been three days since he contacted me — which was very odd.  So I went to his house to call on him.

Three days worth of newspapers were piled up inside his screen door, the house doors were all locked and no one answered my knocks.  I could see his car was in the garage so I figured he might be down at his girlfriend’s house.

I walked down to his girlfriend’s house, Tina, and she told me that the last time she saw Steve was three nights earlier after a great date when she walked home after they parked in his driveway.  So rather puzzled, we decided to look around.  Tina, her brother, her sister decided to visit other neighbors and ask, while I said, I would go back check his house again.

Since the house doors were locked, I went to the garage to look for hints. I could see Steve’s new car in the garage, but the door would not pull up.  As I walked away from the garage I heard a voice say to me, “Check the door again.”  It surprised me.  Dismissing it as just my own mind talking to me,  I turned back to the garage, and this time the door lifted.  I went in.  Steve was lying peacefully on the front seat of his car.  I tried to wake him – he was stiff.  When I tried to lift him but I tore his skin off his face as it stuck to the hot seat.  He had been dead for three days.  I stared, startled.

I heard one of my friends coming toward the garage – John, the girlfriend’s brother.  And somehow collected myself enough to leave the garage and stop John from entering, I did not want him to see Steve as I just saw him.  I told him that Steve was dead and told him to be sure his sister did not see this.  I felt very shaky and falling apart.  I prayed, “God give me strength.”  Soon I was much more calm and able to help those shaking in tears all about the garage.

The next day I flew down to Kentucky and brought back Steve’s parents for their son’s funeral.  His mom and dad were very devote Christians — the mother fell apart and would not recover for about 10 years while the father was strong and supportive of everyone.

For those who are curious: Apparently Steve had listened to his car radio in the garage but closed the garage door so as not to wake the neighbors.  It looked like suicide, but all of us who knew Steve well enough not to suspect suicide and agreed it just had to be one of Steve’s last stupid mistakes.  We all loved the guy and said it jokingly.

Did God speak to me at the garage door?

Did God give me strength?

Click here to see other such stories of mine.


Filed under Events, Personal

21 responses to “Hearing Voices: In memory of a friend

  1. Renee

    I’m just curious do you still keep in touch with his parents?

  2. Good question, Renee, no I am not. First I was never close to them — very quiet folks and never talked with me. Two, I left that town but visited on and off for 5 years. But after leaving Christianity, visits became very awkward and I have not been back to that town for decades now.

  3. Was the voice audible? I hear voices all the time, but it is my own voice. I’ve never heard anything audible. If you did, that’s something.

    I don’t think God gave you strength. You gathered strength from the thought of God–two very different things. The Bible is very good at describing a super-hero sort of God that we can call on in times of trouble, as you know.

  4. Renee


    How do you know it’s your own voice?

    If Sabio gathered strength from the thought of God, that would make Sabio God, wouldn’t it?

  5. @ Lorena : Well, it was a few years ago. But trust me, I don’t think it was a god, unless, as Renee said, I myself am a god ! Heck, I like that.

    My stories are to show that even though I am an Atheist, I have stories which show the fickle nature of my brain. I try to tell these stories being faithful to the person who had them — my “self”.

    The mind is a tricky thing, eh?

  6. If Sabio gathered strength from the thought of God, that would make Sabio God, wouldn’t it?

    Correct. Proving the fact that everyone’s God is oneself. So, why not skip all the God paraphernalia and stick to ourselves.

  7. Well now, Lorena, the beauty of the show is in the magic !

  8. Renee

    I actually hear voices all the time too like the one that said you have until 1:00, looked down it was 12:59 and thought let me finish this last sentence, before I could finish the sentence the computer shut down…..and I didn’t have any pixie dust left.

    I would disagree that strength comes from oneself. If it did I would not of put sleep into the equation. To think about it, there are so many things I would have done differently. To think it might be perfect just the way it is….wow a hard thing to swallow…and think about.

    I really do apologize if your comment was for Sabio only.

  9. Renee,
    To be quite honest. I can’t understand what you’re trying to communicate–at all–after reading three times. Sorry.

    But I will add that millions of people make excellent decisions everyday without appealing to the strength of God. Even Christians forget to ask for God’s help in times of trouble.

    Yet, these individuals go on to marry great people, have wonderful careers, and live half-decent lives.

    I don’t follow you either. It must have something to do with speaking English as a second language. Some figures of speech go over my head.

  10. Lorena,
    I agree with your comments. The stories I told were true. It is how I experienced them when I was younger. I simply told the stories exactly as I experienced them back then.
    Thanx for your comments !

    I too don’t really understand Renee either !

  11. Renee

    Sorry about that, 3 hrs of sleep did not help that comment.

    An analogy came to mind concerning this. Please bear with me, it may take awhile. I’m much better telling stories than writing them. My daughter has a very hard time going to sleep at night. She has a lot of dreams, they wake her up at night and she usually is extremely scared. As I was rocking her back to sleep last night during one of these episodes I was thinking what does it take to give someone the strength to get through those things that are hard to deal with. For my daughter it is her dreams, so I have been working very hard on trying to give her tools so that she won’t be scared to go to sleep at night. Whether it is a stuffed animal, her blanket (always a must), sleeping with her sister, holding my hand and me singing. I am working on working with her to get her to a place where she on her own will be ok with her dreams. In other words trying to help give her enough positive experiences to face those bad experiences with confidence and to overcome waking up two or three times at night.

    Her strength will come from those experiences and from the people she interacts with. I suppose that once that strength is established, it is her own. As far as things being perfect I was just thinking that all of us need to face things that are difficult and how and what gives us the strength to face them? And in my own head during that comment the thought that no matter what it is that we face, the strength is somehow there from the history we have, the people we interact with and the people we will interact with in the future.

    Thanks for the post Sabio, it has helped me tremendously.

  12. i am sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. esp. your closest friend.

    “Did God speak to me at the garage door? Did God give me strength?”
    -i have heard a voice/feeling like this and felt peace like this. this is how i explain these things. i know these are not your answers, so that begs the question how do you answer these questions? how do you rationalize these experiences or do you just shrug and state “it is what it is.”?

  13. If part of my mind allows me to imagine that Steve is dead in the garage, it will tell the other part, through a voice, to go look and say check the door.

    Our home garage door takes two quick pulls to open it. The first doesn’t work but only loosens the lock and the second does (shhhh, don’t tell the burgulars). Maybe this is what happened.

    If I had been looking for a lost basketball, I probably would never have heard the voice so loudly, nor remembered the story in this way. But instead, it was finding my friend’s rotting body.

    Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, Shinto, New Agers and all sorts of religious folks around the world would all, like you, re-interpret this as spirits, demons, esp or gods talking to them. Our expectations color our world.

    I hope that makes sense.

    We are all interpretting or as you would call, “rationalizing”.

  14. makes complete sense. and i whole-heartedly agree that “We are all interpretting or as you would call, “rationalizing”. but i’m going to hedge my bets and see if we’re meaning the same thing. i take this as “we all have to interpret reality.” meaning we experience it, we gather facts in hindsight, and do our best to understand what we went through… is that a fair interpretation?

  15. Sure, that is fair enough. The mind colors everything. The more fanciful the cosmology in our heads, the more fanciful our interpretations.

    When we watch paranoid schizophrenics “interpret” the world, they go hyper on religion and make-believe organizations and people. The mind is good at adding all sorts of unneeded information.

    But yes, even at the minimum, there is interpretation. The mind does it before you can even think. Afterwards you may color it more, but the mind does a pretty good job without your awareness or intention.

  16. wow… cool. i think we’re in complete agreement.

  17. Well then there must be some mistake!

  18. George "Toad" Shope

    Awesome story and absolutely believable!

    I know of peeps that have had “numerous” voices arguing with each other and voices in your head can be REAL, as you know the one in your head that day was real, but I won’t get into “who” it was.

    Thanks for sharing that with us!

    Ribbit 🙂

  19. @Toad
    You are welcome

  20. Wow, what a story. I’m so sorry about your friend.

    I like that even though you are an atheist, you don’t deny that wacky unexplained things can and have happened to you.

  21. @ Alice>,
    Thanx. It was a long time ago, but I am very sorry for his parents.
    Indeed, a large part of my original purpose for writing these experiences was to show that even atheist can have very odd experiences.
    But as for how we hear voices, I think there are lots of ways of explaining that without resorting to spirits, gods and such. But back then, it was more convenient not to explore other explanations — God worked for me.

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