Some decisions change your life forever. Small choices, that pass by without a notice, set a path for your life. A path with no return. So it was in 1978, when Barry Alan Havens, from a small town in Illinois decided to visit a friend in The Hague, Holland. Little did he know that the decision to visit his friend and Europe’s great cathedrals would change his life. He had many hopes and dreams. Visit India or live on a kibbutz. Travel the world. Make music. But the decision to get on that plane, fly to Europe and visit his friend would ultimately take him on a unforgettable journey. A journey through the colors of the seventies, the smells of a farm, the bliss of bible school, and even truckers life. Dreams and decisions can change your life forever.
Barry sat in awe of the majestic organ in front of him as his fingers moved across the keys. His heart followed the deep echoing sound that transformed the enormous church into a small part of heaven. When he finished playing, he stepped outside with shaking legs and squinted his eyes. Cold rain drops fell on his round glasses as he walked to the train station. Thankfully the sun made its way through the dreary clouds. Barry had an hour to spare before the train would leave. He sat down on a crude wooden bench and opened his favorite book: “Hitchhikers guide through Europe.” With one hand in his bushy beard and the other turning the pages, he read the wondrous pages again and again. Paris, caught his eye. That is where he wanted to go. Hitchhiking though France. That would be amazing. He wanted to visit every cathedral in Europe and follow the music throughout the world. But first he had to catch the train and visit his friend in The Hague.
Two hours later he walked towards his friends house and rang the doorbell. Many loud footsteps alerted him that the party was already on its way. Within moments he made his way up the steep narrow stairs and walked into the dimly lit room. The floor was covered with colorful cushions and carpets. Several people were lying on the pillows. What they were talking about he couldn’t understand. His friend came over and dragged him to a group of laughing people. A woman sat in a corner. She had short hair. Her face was small, but her legs were long. What a beauty! He talked to her throughout the night. They agreed to meet the next day on the beach…. and from that moment his life changed forever.
Within the next few months he traveled with this beauty named Barbara throughout Europe. It didn’t matter that she had two children, life was exciting and she followed him in his dreams. India was the place where they wanted to go. So they sold all their stuff, took the kids out of school, gave away their car keys to a stranger at the train station and went on a journey to America. Together with two kids, two cats and a dog they traveled throughout America and Mexico in an orange Volkswagen camper bus. A hippie’s dream come true.
But problems arose when they had to arrange their visa’s. So they went to a courthouse and got married. Instead of taking the boat to India, they returned to America and moved to Wisconsin. They bought a farmhouse which was the second greatest Hippie dream. Now they had to grow their own food, take care of animals and live on a beautiful piece of land. Barry milked cows everyday and still followed the music. He played at local churches and taught piano. In the meantime a new baby boy was born. They called him Joshua and the first thing they noticed when he was born, was the long fingers he had…perfect for playing piano. As one dream was fulfilled, it made place for another. The Midwife who delivered Joshua shared with Barry and Barbara about a man named Jesus. They both gave their lives to Him and began the journey of reading the bible and following Christ daily. Barry wanted to learn more about God. So from Wisconsin, they made their way to Christ for the Nations Bible school in Dallas, Texas. . . He began to look a lot like Ned Flanders while there. Maybe it was the glasses. He took a job as a truck driver and moved people across the country so he could provide for three more children who were born. Life was no longer a path of personal decisions, but instead responsibility took over and past decisions led the way. Barry filled his life with adventure and dreams. He kept life exciting by taking his children on camping trips (to almost every State Park in Texas and Arkansas), cooking dinners from different cultures each night and enrolling them in everything from Piano lessons to German folk dancing. Even though many of his personal dreams were not fulfilled, he and his wife Barbara installed in their children a powerful life driving force. They taught them how to dream.
Perhaps this is part of the reason that his son Josh, is now the lead singer of a band called The Afters with #1 hits across the country, his daughter Esther is an incredible humanitarian photographer who travels the world non-stop, his stepdaughter Jennifer is a biblical archaeologist and children’s book writer. His step son Jeff is building a beautiful family and managing a company. His son Jonny is a one of a kind musician who writes music deep from within his soul, and his daughter Anna is the first of his biological children to attend University and is studying fashion merchandise. Each of them are working on fulfilling their own dreams.
Barry Alan Havens went from this life into eternal life with Jesus after a battle with liver cancer in 2004. Thank you Barry for filling our life with dreams.
The beauty Barbara finally continued that dream she had of going to India 35 years ago with her daughter Esther in Jan 2012.
What dreams do you have? Which decisions have changed your life? How can your decisions influence your dreams?
written by Jennifer Guetta-Peersmann with Esther Havens