That was one of the reasons Jerry found it easier to travel on business trips. Back in Otley he hated leaving Connie even to go into town for half a day, but now the trips gave him more of a chance to appreciate life and meet other people; especially intelligent, attractive women.
One night after returning from a business trip to Vegas, he had a nightmare that began with him and his father running out of the back door as Nazis fired shots at them. This time, however, instead of running ahead when his father was shot, he stopped and lifted him up. Then he found himself once again in the von Ludendorff s home with the penetrating eyes of the preacher staring at him. Again he kept hearing the question,
"Do you know the mystery of Christ?"
Then he glared at Jerry and said,
"Adulterers will not inherit the Kingdom of God!" Jerry tried to hide behind the person in front of him, but the preacher stepped to one side and pointed directly at him and said again,
"Adulterers God will judge."
Jerry stood to his feet and cried out,
But the preacher took no notice. Jerry began to weep and say,
"Please…I'm sorry for what I have done!"
Just then he felt someone touch his shoulder, and he heard a soothing English voice say,
"It's okay honey--you are having a nightmare."
Jerry sat up in bed, looked at Connie, and then looked around him as though he didn't believe her. Sweat was dripping from his brow and his bedclothes were soaking wet. He looked down at his hands that were shaking even though he was wide-awake. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest and his breathing labored as if he had just run up some steep stairs.
Connie stared at the fear in his face and said,
"That must have been some nightmare. " Jerry looked straight ahead and said,
"I don't know what's happening to me. I have had horrible dreams about the war, but they have never been like this one. With this one I keep ending up at the von Ludendorff s house." He turned to face Connie, and with the expression of a small child told her about the dream, minus the verse about adultery. The next night he dreamed again that he was at the Bible study. This time the preacher said,
"Murderers will not inherit the Kingdom of God." Jerry stood to his feet and said,
"I am not a murderer. I have only killed in war."
But the preacher looked at him with a piercing gaze and said,
"God knows how many people you killed when you could have let them go. He saw how many you slaughtered merely because they were Germans. You hated them. You are no different than the Nazis!"
Again Jerry began mumbling incoherently in his sleep and was wakened, dripping with sweat. Again Connie soothed his fears and held his hand until the fear had passed. It was in those times he felt a glimmer of the love he had had for her in the early days of their marriage.
One afternoon Connie returned from the doctor looking quite pale. Earlier in the week she had discovered a lump in her left breast and went to the local hospital to have it checked out.
Suddenly Jerry was the one holding her hand as she told him the lump was malignant. As gently as the doctor could, he informed her that she had a maximum of six months to live. Jerry held her in his arms and they both wept.
From that day on, Connie began to read a Bible that someone had given her, and it wasn't long until she was regularly going to church. After a few weeks Jerry decided to go with her, just for moral support. It was an old, cold, brick Methodist church building that had a warm interior. The elderly minister and the people showed the Adamsons nothing but love and encouragement.
Despite the fact that he went to church, and despite his prayer at the fire in England, Jerry still quietly leaned towards atheism, although for Connie's sake he never mentioned it. His thought was that we create a higher power, or a God--call it what you will‑‑in times of crisis. With a cold objectivity, he remembered the circumstances in which he had prayed when his daughter had stopped breathing. The incident confirmed his belief--in his time of weakness he had called upon a greater power. This was a natural inclination for the human species. This was what was happening with Connie, and he hoped that her faith would help her through her pains. With Connie’s gentle encouragement, he was also able to curb using God’s name in vain. This wasn’t easy because it had rolled off his tongue for so many years, he didn’t even know he was doing it.
To be continued...