So following on from yesterday’s post entitled Laughing Out Loud. My visions started when I was 3 years old. I have said that at that time no received input had been fed into me via family or society , so how would this happen? How could it happen? I am not utterly sure to this day really. It still baffles me. But as an adult I know it did.
And how would I know who it was that I was seeing? A usual argument used by those who cannot accept that these things still happen and that ongoing experience is not something confined to the olden days and dusty manuscripts.
Well, firstly, and I am recounting from how I knew as a very young child, I would say that when you see Christ, you know him. Absolutely, totally you recognise him. There is absolutely no mistaking him. On a human level…well yes I guess it feeds through to that level and embeds there, but it is [in my opinion] our soul that leaps and knows him before our conscious human level does. There are two main things that are so recognisable. The eyes. And this incredible indescribable feeling that goes with it, that is utterly unlike anything else we experience, and that is a love that cradles us so completely, so utterly that we are completely enveloped in it, and nothing is left wanting. The eyes are utterly unforgettable. They contain all that is, all that ever was and perhaps in a way all that will be…but when they gaze upon you they are filled with a love so great that you are swallowed up by them, and absorbed. As a young child I revelled in those eyes and was open, unafraid, completely at ease. When, I saw them again at 12 years old, I was almost the same, but a few misdemeanours and fibs had blunted the innocence, but by the time I was 32 and had lived a little more, got a bit grubby and frayed round the edges with things done that were not wholly exemplary my feeling was different, the unerring gaze of love made me aware of a grubbiness within me, that was in sharp contrast to such purity and caused me real pain when highlighted by such pure love. The immensity of love by then made my own failings and indiscretions feel very tatty in comparison, and I wanted to cry, to howl out loud with the contrast and the realisation of my loss of innocence. Because that’s what the human living and failures do to us, the price extracted for physical form, is that it diminishes our natural state of innocence. But as a young child there was nothing but purity that met that gaze and held it. Young children are still close to that place of heaven that they came from so recently, still close to the Heart of God. How wonderful that was, and how far life took me away from that purity of being. Maybe we get back to that state when we die. I hope so. I know so really. Being washed clean again. Travellers get very grubby…going home is great at he end of the journey.
The teachings went on for many years, night after night in words that were beyond words, now how do I describe that? How do I put into words that which is beyond words? It is like when you see something that jerks you at all levels at the same time, it makes you feel a jolt in your stomach, react with your heart, realise with your mind, suddenly comprehend on all levels the wider meanings and connect the dots…? maybe that is the nearest I can get. It’s the “Ahh!” moment. The “Eureka” moment. During this time, Christ was my friend put quite simply, if I wanted to know something I would ask and he would tell me. And he would teach me about things I had not asked about, things that were beyond my imagination or knowing to ask. He would laugh, and take obvious pleasure, delight even, in who I was. It was fun. There was a lot of laughter as well as a lot of seriousness.
One night towards the end of the timeframe when he visited, he came to me and showed me his wounds. Wounds, that were not bleeding, but dried blood was present and as a child I was horrified. I am sorry this is explained so simply, but it was simple back then, vast theological questions on my part had not entered my repertoire, nor made me grubby! I had not yet started to waste time trying to pass time in these vast abstract arguments of theological and philosophical issues. As I stared at these wounds I felt hurt in my stomach, my heart. I bent and kissed his wounds on his hands, wrists and on his brow. A simple childish solution nothing more, but a solution given from the heart. If I hurt myself my parents would “kiss it better”. So I did the same. I was “kissing my friend better”. But interestingly I do remember saying as I did so, “let me serve you Jesus”, and maybe then at that pont in time something beyond space and time was sealed. A free will decision was made, one which I have reaffirmed several times throughout my life voluntarily. He explained to me the crucifixion, the resurrection, why it happened…and it did happen…and what it was supposed to show us, how we were supposed to understand it for what it was. No sin was mentioned. But the promise of eternal life was. The fact that only the physical dies was. The fact that the physical is not the sum of who we are was.
Here I am aged 7 when he left, telling me that although I would see him again, now he must withdraw visually so that I could get on and live out my life. He told me there would be joy and tears, lovers and disappointments ahead of me, and he also assured me that he was always with me, and that whenever I needed him, just to call him and he was always there. Closer than a heartbeat was how he described his presence.
By this time, I was at school and had learned the Lords Prayer, was having the morning assemblies, being taught the ‘now’ proscribed Christian religion. I was going to church. For two years I had been able to cross reference, check out what I was being told by others with Jesus himself. Now that was about to cease and I would have to make my own way, my own decisions, but based on a very unusual headstart. Why such an unusual start? I have no idea to this day. I know that it has made it virtually impossible for me to ‘fit in’, I know that it has been as much of a hinderance as a help when I have wanted to join in with others alongside their worship in a formal setting. I have tried. A relatively solitary life was perhaps going to have to be my norm, because few priests wanted to acknowledge this kind of occurrence, [although some very special ones have with me and I thank God for them]; except in past history where it does not threaten the established order of things because it can be explained away as not desirable [for people now in the present-no definitely not!!] but a rare occurrence that does not happen anymore. And it did upset the order back then too when it was happening ! Only history has made these people acceptable well after they have died and can’t be physically heard anymore. Julian of Norwich and many others whilst alive were seriously in danger, Julian was nearly excommunicated…and could have been put to death for having visions, for saying she saw no sin and so on. This is dangerous to say, even now…because the established Church doctrine is based around this fundamental core of us all being sinners. This is powerful stuff. What happens when you take this misinterpreted “sin” out of the picture? Do we then look at power with the people as opposed to power over? Is that where we are actually heading whether we like it or not? Isn’t that where we began 2000 years ago? Celebrating, breaking bread, remembering? Will people joyously return to churches when we are truly just sharing our knowing of all being God’s children and equal and such service becomes an open celebration of that fact and not a sermon about our wrongdoing and failings and hellish outcomes? Many priests have this light within them and do this.
‘For I am the Lord of the dance said he, and I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be, and I’ll lead you all in the dance said he’.
But you can only go so far with withholding your own experience and keeping your peace when you are hearing things being taught and stated as truth that are so different to what you know in your heart and they do not wish to allow your voice, your sharing. All that is ok, it is when they challenge and confront you and your truth and tell you authoritatively that you are wrong, or sinful, or misguided in your truth so many times that you long to scream from the rafters and upset the status quo. Best not too though. Turn the other cheek. And we must all accept that each is led a different way, a different path for a reason we cannot possibly comprehend at this point in time. Horses for courses. So tolerance is a great grace, non-judgement is a grace, and having the confidence to follow the path that the Lord lays out before you, once you know it is of the Lord’s is unmanageable without his support to lean on heavily. The litmus test of that? A sincere humble heart, and the feeling of love that accompanies us when we take one step at a time in the right direction, led always by Christ. Lets not limit His wonderous ways. God works beyond space, beyond time. It is God that invites us to know him, without that we are unable to reach Him, so let us not be afraid to answer His invitation when it comes, because others have told us He would not invite us personally.
These are 3 photos I took in Gloucester Cathedral earlier this year. For me these are glorious, a celebration of resurrection, and a whole story of endurance, suffering and ultimate resurrection, a resurrection that we are invited to partake in each day within our own lives and our choices of how we choose to live them and be who we were created to be, which finalizes with our own glorious resurrection assured. And this matches with my own early vision.