Dark Night Of My Soul

Your life will have highs and lows but it's all part of God's plan.

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In memory, there are two things that stand out: the boredom of loneliness and the shame of poverty. These two mixtures formed a cocktail of nitro that was to explode into unthinkable actions of destruction for me. None of this was seen in my high school years at Seneca High. But the need for action was stirring in my soul.

It was in my tenth-grade year that I began to run with students who were two grades higher than I and would be graduating soon. This connection of friendship with them only validated my desire to see the world in adventure. I wanted out, so when they graduated I quit school and went into the navy with two of them: Ronnie and Kendall. A year later, I married Brenda who also had graduated that same year and was one of the four of us who ran together. Throughout my life, I’ve always liked women who were older than me.

Brenda bore three sons for me—Adrian, Tico, and Justin—over the twenty-three years that I was married to her. Two weeks after I was in naval boot camp, Ronnie died of spinal meningitis. Of course this devastated me, especially after seeing how the company commander had kicked Ronnie out of bed and treated him when he was sick. I don’t blame Commander McNeil for doing this. He was only doing what he thought was necessary to toughen us up. He apologized to me when I cried before him, requesting to be allowed to take Ronnie’s body home.


After the death of Ronnie, I wasn’t fi t for the military anymore. I wanted out, and the year ahead would turn out to be unproductive in everything the navy tried to get me to do. I didn’t care. I began drinking, doing drugs, and whoring around. Nothing mattered. My friend was gone. They killed him, and I was angry with the government. The navy sent me to submarine school in New London, Connecticut, but I didn’t want to be on a sardine can called a sub. I hated it!

Then they sent me to Norfolk, Virginia, and put me on the USS Diamond Head, an ammo ship, and I really hated it. All the time, I was lonely and angry and wanted my girl, Brenda.

Months passed while overseas on a Mediterranean cruise and I had already schemed on how I was going to get out of the navy just as soon as I reached land again in Norfolk.

I recall being on the bow of the ship on a four o’clock watch in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. I looked up and actually saw a flock of golden geese flying in midair at sonic speed in the shape of an upside-down V. I knew that God had spoken a vision to me. I knew it was Him. What the vision was, I didn’t know at the time. But I knew God was making contact with me on a personal level. This vision of geese that I saw was real.

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Dr. Larry Manley
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