Richard A. Holmberg was near heaven and the earth as he grew up. At an early age his father, a chemistry professor at Syracuse University in New York, mysteriously vanished without a trace. His disappearance was a national event that involved numerous state and federal agencies. It eventually came to a conclusion seven years later when police an.... more
Richard A. Holmberg was near heaven and the earth as he grew up. At an early age his father, a chemistry professor at Syracuse University in New York, mysteriously vanished without a trace. His disappearance was a national event that involved numerous state and federal agencies. It eventually came to a conclusion seven years later when police and the FBI discovered his father under an alias with a new social security number in Illinois. The extraordinary disappearance placed his family in financial and emotional chaos during those years. They lived in a tiny post World War II home in San Carlos, California while his mother worked longed hours as a grade school teacher. They attended a Lutheran church most Sundays until he was nine years of age and at which time his mother remarried. Her second marriage to a brilliant engineer immediately caused changes to the family structure. His stepfather, an agnostic and uncompassionate person, prohibited the family from attending church. Although, on occasion, his brothers and he would secretively attend church with their aunt and maternal grandparents.
Early on in the second marriage, his stepfather became controlling. Richard was forced to endure long weekends standing at attention while listening to multi-hour long lectures of nonsensical things. His stepfather, a paranoid-schizophrenic, worked tirelessly to crush Richard’s spirit. Richard suffered from extreme mental and physical abuse and came close to death twice. He had few friends because his peer’s parents prohibited them from coming to his house. Only on a few occasions over a seven-year period was he ever allowed to go over to a friend’s house, other than his next door neighbor. Even then, his venture to the neighbor’s house was highly restricted. Luckily, his ability to recall early life smothered in love and his brief lessons in Sunday school was never lost. His step-father could not break his spirit. Richard never lost hope and knew perfectly well that his suffering was not due to anything he did. He knew this and reminded himself frequently. Richard did not feel completely alone, as he often sensed a presence near him and comforting him, even when enduring moments of unkindness.
This grueling lifestyle came to an end when he just turned sixteen. Richard picked up a sleeping bag and left for good, as he couldn’t endure his stepfather one more day. He continued through high school but lived an unorthodox life in a cold garage, in cars, in a vacant building, under the stars, and at homes of generous people. He was considered lost by many, but really his lifestyle was one of survival – emotional and physical. While an adolescent, on his journey, he touched hands with the underworld. He met Satanists, child-molesters, addicts, vicious people, hard-core criminals, and faithless people. But he continued to feel a presence guiding him and despite close encounters in terrible situations he always came out unscathed. Richard also met and chose to surround himself with peaceful, caring, and intuitive people. He found them at the Mid-Peninsula Free University in Menlo Park, the Palo Alto Resistance Center, Friends Meeting House in Palo Alto, and through many personal introductions. Richard saw and experienced both sides of the world, close up and in the raw; he saw the world with its cloak off.
Richard, never letting go of hope, was able to reshape his perception of his past so that it meant something positive, and this gained him better insight into the world above. He put himself through college and graduated from the University of California, Davis. Professionally, he was a research and development engineer, a technical salesperson, and a business owner. For the past several years he has been a grade school teacher specializing in disabilities including autism and emotional disturbances.
When he was in his fifties, he was startled and awaken by a man’s voice calling his name late at night. It was a voice that reminded him of a person with authority. It was somewhat comforting. Night after night, for two months at the same time for about twenty minutes, the voice would wake him up and speak to him like a friend. Eventually, Richard let his guard down, thinking the voice was an angel of God’s. He started believing the voice’s words – it tried to get Richard to say and to do things that were not appropriate. But something inside Richard told him he had been duped. He knew that the voice was a cunning creature, and he was being held above the dark abyss by just a thread. Then the voice became multiple voices, he felt like he was in the middle of a vortex. He prayed to Jesus, and prayed with all his might. As suddenly as the voice had appeared, it was gone. It never came back. Richard has spoken to other people who have experienced similar encounters, and they all have come to the same realization – the world beyond, as he learned firsthand, is not unified. It is divided and the world with God’s team is absolutely different then the world from the underbelly. They both exist. He knows with absolute one-hundred percent certainty that God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and the Devil are real.
Since his ordeal with the creature from the dark, he has given himself to the Lord. He explores the inner workings of his mind and soul through “freewriting.” He uses this technique right as he rises from bed and documents his dreams, the meaning of his dreams, and other sensations he experiences from the onset of sleep until he is awake. Dreams and many short stories written using the freewriting technique are compiled and restated as parables and fables in his book, A Passport to God.
He resides in Nevada County, California on a ranch. He has four grown children and many animals.