THE LONELY ROAD is a road all seekers of the Truth have traveled. The road is lonely, because there are few sojourners one will meet along its path.
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THE LONELY ROAD is a road all seekers of the Truth must travel. The road is lonely, because there are few sojourners one will meet along its rocky path. The author walked this road alone for many years and gathered his thoughts into journals, on scraps of paper and finally into books and novels.
This book shares with the reader the mental and emotional conflicts of a boy struggling to become a man and a man who sees too deeply into life and asks…“Why? Why am I here? Why does God punish good people? Why, when I have enviable material wealth, do I remain empty inside? He can find no answers to his questions from the learned professionals, and without knowing the way in which to travel, he seeks the “Golden Thread of Truth” that must be woven throughout the tapestries of all religions. He finds his simple truths in the most unlikely place…the inner voice that speaks to him in all ways when he learns to listen.
The author doesn’t try to convince the reader to his way of thinking; he only wishes to share the light that has been whispered to his ear of ears and has now passed through his fingertips and onto the pages of this book.
Come, walk with him on your journey to Eternity.
The man was raised as a Baptist and evolved through various protestant churches as he worked his way through high school and engineering college. He returned from the Far East and his duty with the U.S.A.F. to find restlessness in his religious beliefs. When at the age of twenty-three he questioned his inbred religious intolerance—and he was not struck down by lightening he sought to find that ‘golden thread of Truth.’
The book chronicles this man’s evolution through emotional turmoil—and also his elations—as he stumbles down his lonely path, a journey he now documents with excerpts from the journals he kept as an airman, a college student, an engineer and culminating as an author.
This book is written to the person who is seeking answers—but not finding those answers—in the religion he has, or the religions he rejects; perhaps this story and these thoughts will give comfort to that person,and he will find he is not alone on his rocky, lonely road.
Come, walk with him on your journey to Eternity.
It is now 2007 and the world is in chaos—much the same as it has always been, but it is now on a global scale—devoid of reason at any level—a world ruled by a greed of power that defies resolution.
I have often been heard to say, “I have a solution to the whole problem of this world —another six-mile=wide asteroid.” Yes, another asteroid like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs would take care of Man’s problems—but to be consistent with the philosophy in my novels—it would not make one jot or tittle difference in the whole scheme of things. I cannot help but wonder if there isn’t another way…
In the grand experiment of His universe, is He receptive to exploring new solutions to old problems? How would we know? Whom do we ask? The priests? The Bible thumping whatsits? The sword-wielding mullahs? The learned PhD’s of ‘infinite wisdom?’ Whom do we ask to show us a way back to the Garden of Eden…or to where ever that pretty story was meant to depict?
In my novels, John has found a few answers in his Voice. “Voice” is a name I gave to the source of John’s help in his life of confusion and frustration. That source’s voice found its way though my fingertips and onto my computer, and I often wondered who spoke the words I never heard but often wrote. Now I wonder…if I asked the big question—the survival of the human race—would that source whisper the answer to my ear of ears. I wonder and I ask…and I listen…But…if I ask and I listen and I hear and I write…will those who read the words understand what I have written?
Let the Voice now speak through my fingertips…
I have spoken words to millions before you, I have written words on tablets of clay, on walls of stone, on leaves of paper through pens of feathers and pencils of carbon. These words have I put on paper with typewriters and computers to feed the thousands of presses that make millions of books, but the reading of words can change the lives of only a few. The Buddha heard my words and taught that, only in the freedom from ignorance can Man escape the misery of life; but from the sowing of ignorance, Man still reaps the grief of his greed. The ignorance of power causes men to trample on the backs of the lowly—to build temples and pyramids toward a coveted paradise in the sky; they know not in which direction I reside. They curse the Satan below, but know not the house wherein he dwells. They slay their brothers in my name, but know not a single breath of my being. Poets write words of the futility of life—this ‘brief light twix dark and dark’—but to those who hear and understand my words there is no darkness—not in the deepest black sky above or deepest hole below—there is no darkness. To him who would find the light, he will not find it in the written word, nor will he find it in the shouted words that spiel forth from the mouths of greed—those who steal gold from begging cups of the blind.
I have spoken my guidance to the ears of those before you, and though they sought to make men understand, the ears of Man heard naught but the ringing of their greed for power and the call of earthly rewards…
And what of you? Will you listen to the words I whisper to your ear of ears? Will you see with your eye of eyes? Will you comprehend the light I show you? And if you do all these things, will you cast your crumbs upon the waters in hope that it will return a loaf? Will you shout your truth from the pulpit to the deaf and blind, or will you cry in despair of their ignorance.
No, you have ears to hear, therefore I will tell you what you already know but have merely buried beneath the burden and distractions of this life. And when you have remembered, listen for the silent screams of those who stumble in their own darkness; tell them to listen and I will whisper to their ear of ears.
The words I speak to them will not solve the problems of the world—even if they shout it from the mountaintop—not one other will hear and understand what I have spoken. Each man must hear the truth that dwells within his own True Self and let it guide his own way. Neither can he guide the way of others, for each man has his own truth and his own path to be trod alone…And, indeed, it can be a very lonely road, for few there will be whom you meet along its rocky way and none with whom you can truly share its golden light.
CHAPALA REVIEW Magazine October 2007
CHAPALA REVIEW Magazine-October 2007
Writers at Work
by James Tipton
“The Lonely Road”
William J. Schrader, a long-time resident at Lakeside (retired to Mexico in 1993), has written a new book, The Lonely Road. This book is not autobiography but it is nevertheless autobiographical in that Bill draws upon his life experiences as a way to talk about his evolving philosophies regarding the meaning of life.
In the Prologue, Bill writes that “This book relates the life of a Christian man who chose to walk a different path, a path whereon he sought answers to questions too long hidden from him—the Truth. I was that man and I felt the Truth must weave its golden thread through all religions—however obscure and misunderstood that truth may be. I walked the path in search of that golden thread, and it became a very lonely road.”
Bill’s story begins on April 14, 1929, in an “ill-equipped little hospital in Ludington, Michigan,” where he became “the eleventh child of my forty-four year old mother.” She, herself, “was one of twelve children of the Reverend Joel and Mary Jane Chitwood of Winfield, TN.”
Surviving the flu epidemic of the early 1920’s “by receiving many doses of Uncle Jarv’s moonshine,” the family had moved north to Michigan where Bill was born and where he spent the first eighteen years of his life, many of which were during the Great Depression, on the shores of Lake Michigan. “We always had plenty of peanut butter, oatmeal and canned milk.”
Bill “was painfully shy—especially around girls—and was voted ‘Most Bashful’ in my class for four years running.” Too young to serve in WWII, in 1947 Bill enlisted in the Army Air Force, where he “didn’t really fit in with the rest of the guys.” Even then he was already on “the lonely road,” seeking answers to life’s most profound questions.
His book contains records of those searches—personal history, journal entries, letters to and conversations with young ladies, later emails to other seekers; and The Lonely Road even includes some nice poetry and some excerpts taken out of his two novels, Kiss My Tears Away and The Healing Road. In those earlier years, his searches are often linked to his longing to find a woman to share the journey with him. Those women of his earlier years are blood-and-flesh women but they are also classrooms where Bill learns his lessons, sometimes with more than a hard rap on the knuckles.
Some of his comments about his relationships with women are poignant, even sad, but others are amusing: During his “late single years” he would sometimes kid women saying “The trouble with women is—by the time they are old enough to appreciate a man with my qualities, they are already married to a clod.”
He writes in his journal, 2 September 1951, after sitting one Saturday night in a tavern in Manistee, Michigan: “I have been looking for a girl that can keep me interested without having to neck passionately with me. If not, then what is there after the wedding—can you keep the fires of passion burning constantly for sixty years? No—you must go out and get drunk on Saturday night.”
While aboard the USNS Shanks on the way to the Philippines, on 26 June 1952, Bill
records his thoughts following a failed relationship: “…But I do not blame Joan…she has come to believe that gentleness and weakness are one in the same. Joan wants to marry a real man. Ah, Joan, where did you acquire the conviction—though you love my broad shoulders and strong back—before I can be a real man I must have the mentality of an ape and the vocabulary of a truck driver (no offense to truck drivers).
But fortunately Bill did not give up and finally his life was blessed with a wonderful woman to whom the book is dedicated: “To my beautiful and loving wife, Elizabeth.” (Elizabeth, or “Betty” Schrader is a familiar face at the Lake Chapala Society where almost daily she can be found lending a helping hand).
His studies of eastern religion often led him toward useful insights and affected his style of writing: “Seek that which is Real, all else slips through the fingers like grains of sand and is lost forever in the ocean of time.”
Bill takes issue with much in Christianity, even with some details in the New Testament. “In the book of John it is written that Jesus said, ‘…I am the Way…no man cometh unto the Father but by me.’ (This can be found only in the book of John.) This, in my mind, is inconsistent with the rest of his teachings, if taken literally—which in most cases it is—for he also said, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven...’ and ‘The kingdom of heaven is within you.’”
Although he believes in many of the teachings of Christianity, finally he realized “I am not a Christian in the popular sense of the word. I do not believe in organized religions; they have caused more problems in the history of the world than they have solved.”
For Bill, the common road, the road offered to us by organized religions, only takes us to common places, and those common places are not very satisfying to the sincere soul for very long.
For the seeker of truth, there is no common road, only a wild stretch of rocky trail that few would follow, a very “lonely” road. But there, at last, you can “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God, and that, for you, will be better than a lamp and safer than a known way.”
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