Messiah's Handbook: Reminders for the Advanced Soul (Paperback)
Foreword The last time I saw the Messiah's Handbook was when I threw it away. I had been using it as I was taught in Illusions: hold question in mind, close eyes, open handbook at random, pick left page or right. Eyes open, read answer. Always beforeitworked: fear dissolved in asmile, doubt lifted by sudden understanding.Always had I been charmed and entertained by what these pages had to tell me. So that dark day I opened the book, trusting. "Why did my friend Donald Shimoda, who had so much to teach that we so needed to learn, why did he have to die such a senseless death?" Eyes open, listen to the answer: Everything in this book may be wrong.
A burst of night and rage, I remember, instant fury. I turn to it for help and this is my answer? I threw the book as hard and as far from meas I could, pages fluttering above that nameless Iowa hayfield, the thing tumbling slow motion, shuddering forever down toward the weeds. I didn't watch to see where it fell. I flew from that field and never flew back. The handbook, that senseless hurtful agony-page, was gone. Twenty years later came a package to a writer in care of the publisher. In the package a note: Dear Richard Bach, I found this when I was plowing my dad's soybean field. The field's a quarter-section used to be in hay and he told me you landed there once with the guy they killed they said was magic. So this has been plowed under I guess for a long time else it's been disked and harrowed every year and nobody's seen it till now. For all that, it's not much hurt and I figured it's your property and if you're still alive you ought to have it.
No return address. On the pages, my own fingerprints in engine oil from an old Fleet biplane, a sifting of coarse dusts, a stem or two of grass falling out when I fanned it open. Rage gone, I held the book along time, remembering. Everything in this book may be wrong. Sure enough. But everything may be right, as well. Right and wrong's not up to a book. I'm the only one to say what's true for me. I'm responsible. I leafed through the pages, wondering. Is the book returned to me the same one I threw away, so long ago? Had it been resting quietly underground or had it been changing to become what some future reader needed to remember? At last, eyes closed, I held the handbook once more and asked. Dear strange mystical volume, why did you come back? Riffled the pages for a moment, opened my eyes and saw.