The Lonely Seeker

by Jonathan Werdenberg about a month ago in literature

A strange story of family and discovery

The Lonely Seeker

The Lonely Seeker

Like so many other people, Wendell had come to the point in his life where he wondered what this was all about, why was he here, what was his purpose and was it something he even wanted?

He had heard of people “finding” their calling, or their niche. He really had no direction and no idea what to do.

So, life went on day after day in an endless procession of waking, working, and sleeping. All in a very ordinary and mundane way. Every day a little more disappointed and a little more dead. Not really what he had envisioned for his life when he grew up, not that he had really envisioned anything at all, which probably led to where he was now.

Wendell was so tired of his life he had even contemplated suicide, but would it be different of just a numbing black void? His not knowing and the aversion to taking risks had actually saved his life.

Little did he know that the upcoming weekend was about to turn his life upside down, and completely throw him for a loop.

You see, Wendell had been surfing the net when he came across one of those websites that purports to know how you can find your purpose in life, the one you were born to live.

As he continued to read, it seemed like it was what he had been looking for but didn’t even know it. The shift in paradigm, the keys to finding his purpose, the reason he was born. This had piqued his interest like nothing had in quite a while.

So, what was this? A religious cult? Some sort of fortuneteller? Aw, what the heck, it couldn’t be worse than what he was enduring now. Something was compelling him to read on and inquire. He entered his name and phone number and wondered what they would to try to sell him.

By the end of the week he had forgotten about it and was thinking of spending the weekend binging on Netflix.

Saturday morning his cell phone rang from a number he didn’t recognize. He answered the phone and a deep calm voice asked if this was Wendell Penergast. Wendell said it was and asked who this was.

The man said his name was Elliott and explain that he was calling in response to an inquiry on his website. He went on to say that he was surprised at Wendell’s name not only because Penergast was very rare, but because it was also his family name and his great-grandfather was also Wendell Penergast.

Now Wendell was very surprised and curious. How could that be, he thought. Wasn’t he the only Wendell Penergast ever?

Elliott also said that his great-grandfather was a man out of time, he just didn’t fit in. He was decades ahead of his time.

Wendell, now even more curious asked what that had to do with him. Elliott told him they should meet. They agreed on a local Starbucks for a cup of coffee for later that afternoon.

Elliott was an older gentleman, probably in his mid to late 60s. He looked fit and healthy so he might even have been older. He had a short-cropped graying beard, collar length hair with a few shots of gray. He wore a long coat and jeans that made him look like he was 40 years behind with fashion. His boots were worn but well-polished. All in all, Elliott looked like a modern-day cowboy.

After some short pleasantries, Wendell sat down a bit anxious as to what Elliott had to tell him.

Elliott went right into it, and asked Wendell if he had ever had a weird or odd dream about the past, maybe even mid-1800s western United States. Elliott wasn’t here to talk about paradigm shifts or keys to life’s purpose, he had something far better for Wendell.

This left Wendell speechless and very surprised. Wendell used to have a recurring dream that he lived in a little mining town in California during the gold rush years.

He told Elliott about this dream and went on to say that he wasn’t there to mine gold, but to be some sort of a guide or counselor to the people that lived in the town.

Elliott listened attentively and let Wendell tell his dream. Wendell said that he would never forget this dream because it felt so real. As he continued, he noticed that Elliott had brought an old book. Half wondering what the book was he finished his story about the dream saying that he can only remember part of the name of the town. He kept seeing Cali and couldn’t make out the last few letters.

After listening to Wendell, Elliott sat quietly for a few moments and then pushed the old leather-bound book towards Wendell telling him to open it up and read.

Wendell, a bit nervous, opened the book’s cover and noticed it was all handwritten by a man named Wendell Penergast. It was old but well preserved. This was Elliott’s great-grandfather’s diary about his life in the Old West during the California Gold Rush in a little town named Calico, California.

Wendell was speechless; not only was this the name of the town in his dream, there were a couple old photos of the main street and the general store that looked just like the ones in his dream.

Then Elliott pulled out a photo of his great-grandfather and the resemblance to Wendell was uncanny.

As you might imagine, this had turned his life upside down, and completely thrown him for a loop.

As he continued to read, memories that were his but not his and felt in the dream he had, all came rushing back to him as if they were his own.

Everything in this diary was him, all the counsel he gave as one of the town elders, the sick and injured he tended to, all the trials and tribulations of the 1850s, it all came back to him as if he were back in the dream.

Now Elliott proposed a theory, that Wendell of today was actually the reincarnation of Wendell, Elliott’s great-grandfather.

But this left Wendell with a lot of questions and in a confused state of mind. Sure, he had heard the term reincarnation. But he never gave it much credence since there wasn’t any scientific grounds for it like physics for example.

Elliott went on to tell Wendell that his great-grandfather had told his father, Elliott senior, that Elliot’s uncle, also named Wendell, would have a son that he would name Wendell. Of course, the uncle and Elliott’s father didn’t take him seriously so they thought they would humor him. Uncle Wendell said that if he ever had a son he would name him Wendell.

So not only was Wendell Elliott’s nephew, but the reincarnation of Elliott’s great-grandfather, Wendell’s great-great-grandfather.

By now Wendell was really down the rabbit hole!

How could this be? He remembered his parents and his father’s name was not Wendell, it was Frank.

What Wendell didn’t know was that his real father, Wendell, Elliott’s brother, had died in a car accident several months before Wendell was born.

When he was born, his mother named him Wendell after his real father not knowing that the great-grandfather had predicted this.

Wendell was barely a year old when his mother married Frank; she kept the name Penergast in honor of her late husband.

Wendell’s mother Lisa and her new husband, Frank, moved around a lot and eventually became estranged from the Penergasts. Lisa and Frank never really thought it important to try and reconnect with the Penergasts.

Soon, they moved back to Central California where young Wendell grew up and went to school.

Wendell now knew the truth about his family and his great-great-grandfather all in a matter of a few hours. This really did turn his life upside down, and completely throw him for a loop.

In the next story we’ll find out what Wendell does with his newfound knowledge.

literature
Jonathan Werdenberg
Jonathan Werdenberg
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