Joe Wise, a minister and counselor for nearly 50 years, has certainly had his fair share of troubles over the years, from long bouts with alcoholism to a series of debilitating illnesses. Now the author has written a touching and deeply personal memoir about his struggles – and the faith that carried him through the darkest of times.
The survivor of seven near-death experiences, Wise chronicles those events as well as his years growing up in North Carolina, his battles with ADHD, and how fate led him to marry at the age of 17. Part-time work, college, and children followed and Wise soon found that he had been called to a life as a servant of God, a calling he nearly threw away as a result of his anger and out-of-control drinking.
Written in a simple, homespun style, I Want to Go to Heaven…But Not Yet reads like a long, interesting conversation with a friend you’ve known for years. Wise’s reminiscences are thoughtful, poignant and confessional: “As incomplete as our family may have been, there were also many times of togetherness, expressions of love…and forgiveness. And so we struggled on through the years with the horrors of a progressive disease. But in that struggle, we were held together by an unconscious, internal hope that someday a healing event would occur, and redemption would be realized.”
An everyperson’s chronicle, Wise’s sincerity and vulnerability elevate the ordinariness of life to a form of living poetry. The author seems to be saying, yes, there are always struggles, yes, sometimes we live in denial, yes, sometimes we make mistakes, but these shadows are often surrounded by the light of love, charity and hope that turn our lives into works of art.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.