Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Pay attention, I need you to see"

I remember a heightened awareness of living things that night. From the upstairs bedroom, I felt (not heard, but felt) that there was a bird trapped in the fireplace downstairs. I could literally feel this animal suffering and scared. I asked Andy if he heard anything and he said no. I told him there was a bird trapped in the fireplace and he wondered how I knew. We went downstairs and sure enough, there was a bird in the fireplace. Andy rescued him and released him into the night.

While I did not sleep that night, I did drift in and out of consciousness. I would look over at Andy who was trying to sleep and he would have disappeared into the covers. He was not there. I was alone. Alone in the dark, sleepless, but learning. My mind was always working and always learning. Insatiably. God was not speaking audibly to me…he was simply unveiling himself. My knowledge of God was coming into focus. It had always been there; it’s just that now I could see it. He was lifting the veil. He did not reveal everything all at once. It took many years to see the full picture. It was just that night that he seemed to tap me on the shoulder, and say “pay attention, I need you to see.”

Imagine in your darkest hour, tired and terrified, when you feel death is imminent …imagine then that you are told you have been sent to save the world and deliver all of us to heaven on earth. What a juxtaposition! My emotions? Disbelief, relief, wonder, sadness, joy, curiosity, confusion. But most of all I felt not alone. I felt a hand, a spirit, a teacher, what I knew as God, right there with me, pouring life and strength back into me.

As sick as I was from five nights and days of no sleep and no food, and in spite of my faith in God’s ability to heal me, I wondered if I might die. I thought perhaps no medical miracle could save me, even if I was destined to change the world. I had been sent the message, my mission was cast, I had seen the light… but getting through the immediate health emergency was critical and seemed improbable. Saving the world could wait; I needed to not die. I would survive to write this tale, but I would wait…I would begin the long gestation period.


I guess the sun rose that Saturday morning, February 19, 2000. My vision was so foggy. Light seemed blinding. I could not find a balance between eyes wide open and eyes screwed shut. As Johnny Cash sings, there was “no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt.”

Andy moved me down to the couch in our den. I guess he may have offered me food but by now he knew that was pointless. From what I can recall, Andy continued to be as calm and as comforting as he could be to me. I knew I needed to see my parents, but was not sure even they could soothe my raw, brittle, agitated edges.

My parents arrived from the airport sometime late that morning. Though it was hard for me to see anything clearly, I knew my parents’ touch and voice. They tried to smile and soothe, but I could see the shock and confusion in their eyes. They had never seen me or anyone else in this state.

While I babbled incoherently, we all moved to the kitchen table. My mother tried to get me to eat some cereal. I remember throwing the bowl full of milk and cereal on the floor. Why, you might ask, did I do that? I felt that God was with me, in me, of me....I had become him and he had become me. I was sure I could perform miracles, or at least access God's miracles. But at the same time, I questioned God: “if you can save me and you think I can save the world, then show me a miracle by cleaning up my mundane mess on the kitchen floor.” It was the true skeptic in me coming through. Within hours of God tapping me on the shoulder and commissioning me for the greatest assignment known to man, I was asking him to make a miracle. “Clean up my cereal if you want me to do your bidding” was the ridiculous reply I had to God’s gift to me. It was exemplary of the extreme range of emotions I would feel over the next decade once charged with my special knowledge. As you might imagine, I would love and hate the message revealed to me over the next ten years. It would seem both a burden and a gift, both a release and a responsibility, both a new knowledge and an ancient truth…both a blessing and a curse. In the beginning, I would be at times both conflicted and resolute. As I learned more about my purpose in this life, I felt more resolute and less conflicted.

Appropriately, my mother cleaned up my cereal. Well, there’s your miracle.

Mom is great in crisis. So is Dad. It took both of them huddling to figure out what to do with me. Mom called a family friend who was a physician. Over the phone, he told her I needed to get to a psychiatric facility as quickly as I could. They called Norfolk Psychiatric Hospital and found an available bed. My parents turned to me and asked if I would voluntarily commit myself, because for some reason it would all go a lot smoother and quicker if I did it voluntarily. I said of course, I would welcome some medical treatment. Just don’t let me die.

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God, to have these guys in a room together again....