You may have noticed that this week, I’ve begun sharing some parts of me that I normally keep hidden. Most people are probably just as glad not to have to come to terms with these things, and I understand that. On Tuesday, I came out of the anchorage, as it were; using those words intentionally, paralleling the idea of coming out of the closet. To come out is to make oneself vulnerable by sharing something that one knows is not shared by the majority of people. It is to be different, and that always carries risk.
Then I shared two specific encounters I had with the Divine (here and here). Both experiences were encounters with Jesus, the second person of the Trinity. Both were visions of joy and exhilaration, and both included the very powerful symbol of water. And I was reminded of both by Jesus, in an encounter Monday night.
Monday had been a pretty typical day at work, though I was still catching up from being away from my day-to-day work for almost two weeks. In the midst of difficulties with her father, my daughter had moved back in for a while, which gave me mixed feelings. I was very tired after all the recent busy-ness, but I’d had the opportunity for some good rest over the weekend.
I was lying in bed. My husband lay next to me sleeping, and I’d just set aside my book and turned off the light. When I turn off my light at night, I make the sign of the cross and begin to pray. I begin with small portions of St. Patrick’s Breastplate, a traditional prayer of protection from harm.
I bind unto myself this day
the strong name of the Trinity
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, the One in Three.
Christ be with me, Christ within me…
Usually I focus on some deep breathing at this point, possibly a little chakra visualization if I am feeling a lot of pain or particularly unbalanced. And then I pray the office of Compline in the dark silence before sleep. But Monday night, I did not move to one of these things; rather, I began to address God as Trinity. I asked each person of the Trinity to be with me through the night, and Jesus responded immediately.
I knew Jesus was with me, and I had a visual sense of him, though I cannot tell you anything about how he appeared; I just knew that it was him. I remember in an encounter years before, clearly hearing the message that when I asked for Jesus to be with me, he would be there. Jesus came smiling, joyful as though a song was about to bubble up and burst from his lips. I couldn’t help it; I grinned right back at Jesus and greeted him like an old friend. I ran up and hugged him, laughing as he ruffled my hair. Yes, I knew, this is truly Jesus. I already noticed some of the pain and busy-ness and stress melting from me, just from being in the presence of this joy, this love.
“These are always part of you,” he said. “And I am always there, jumping in the puddles with you, and dancing my way to the river.” Jesus ruffled my hair again, and we both laughed. And then he was gone.
I opened my eyes and saw the dark bedroom around me again. Light from the parking lot filtered through the blinds, and the clock next to me showed the time in large blocky green numbers. I realized that I had a huge grin on my face, big and goofy and wonderful. I felt all my aches again, but I was okay. And I was flooded with a certainty.
The time had come to begin sharing these visions, these experiences with God. I knew that this was fraught with risk, that I would be putting myself out there for rejection, for ridicule. At the same time, I could not reject this. My confessor had instructed me to keep records of these experiences for a reason, and my readings of Christian mystics through history have borne this out. When a mystic confessed (usually reluctantly) his or her visions or ecstasies or other experiences, their confessor would tell them — under obedience — to have them recorded, written down. Maybe this is to console others who have had similar encounters with God and are afraid, or maybe it is to console oneself, when one finds those experiences gone for a while (as always happens, absolutely always), or maybe there are other reasons. Regardless, I heeded him. And I knew I had to heed Jesus, too.
So I begin this work. It has not been very difficult so far. The only response I’ve had so far is silence. This can appear to be its own kind of rejection, but I am not interpreting it this way. I’ve learned through this blog that the posts I write that are most revealing or most meaningful to me, these almost never get comments, though they will often get a lot of traffic; I’ve seen this on other blogs as well. I choose to believe that these posts are the ones that make us think or reflect, and that we don’t have a response ready in the moment. And that is more than okay. I don’t know where this work will take me, but I take it on anyway. I act in trust, out of my faith in God who created us and loves us beyond our ability to comprehend. Here I am, Lord.