I’m going to tell you a story of something pivotal that happened to me.
You know how I write not infrequently (i.e. all the time) about my dreams and my ongoing spiritual curriculum, as it were? Well this is more of that. But there is no dreaming in this one. It’s all real.
I did a session at the temple last week. When I finally block out the four plus hours it takes from start to finish including driving time to go to the temple, I am usually motivated by a waning sense of hope. I’m weary of feeling weary. I’m tired of being fearful of the future. I’m angry about the unchanging quality of our battles, the constant ratcheting up of the trial. So I will go and then I will leave with perhaps one little nugget of clarity, which is good, because I really need that nugget.
This time, though, I went into it with my molten core of peace (yay, molten core of peace!)
There was no urgency, but there was a sense of weepy gratitude. Weepy gratitude, by the way, is much better than angry/fearful weariness.
This time, astonishingly, flashes of truth hit me repeatedly, over and over, one practically right after another.
If bits of insight were laser beams, my temple session would’ve looked like an action scene from Star Wars, with storm troopers peppering the fleeing rebels with their blasters.
(Please note: there was no actual shooting of the temple patrons. Reverence prevailed, obviously).
It was everywhere. Understanding was everywhere. It was as though light was all around me, not even necessarily aimed at me. A slight turn of my head slightly one way and BAM! Some new truth shot into me. Light followed light in a stream. It was simply there.
At one point, I felt like the top of my head had been lifted off to allow more light inside.
I am not making this up. It isn’t hyperbole. It’s my best effort to use words to describe a real thing.
Questions, things that have been nagging at my consciousness got plain, real answers. It was instruction.
The young woman sitting at my right kept looking at me, probably because I wept repeatedly, mainly over the sheer insane beauty of life itself. Adam and Eve were given bodies in the image of God the Father. We live in these actual vessels designed by God to house our spirits. So what if they are imperfect (i.e. disabled)? It’s completely amazing. There is grandeur is just being alive.
I saw Jack in my mind, but it was Jack without disabilities. I saw his spirit. I really did.
An image of a perfect Jack filled up my whole self.
He was radiant, bathed in a golden light. He was looking directly in my eyes. He was calm, smart, intuitive, whole. His head wasn’t big, but proportional. His legs weren’t huge and splotchy and different lengths. He was tall and grown and trim, but with the same bright red hair and green eyes. He looked right at me, with love.
My whole body was burning. This is Jack as he really is!
I both saw and felt love and beauty. My brain was streaming this on a loop: my son is a gift; he’s bright and heroic, he’s wrought a change on me and on us.
Seeing this was like careening over a waterfall. It caught me up entirely and rushed through me with force. It was strong like the pull of water in a rushing river is strong.
And if that vision (!) weren’t enough, I happened to glance at the wall of glass beside me. It was a giant, lovely art piece of a window, and despite having seen it many times before, this time I really gazed at it, noticing something.
I saw that suspended between the panes were blobs of glass–plump, chunky, irregular, indented. The blobs were strung together, hanging in long lines down the center of the enormous window. The effect was of a river flowing from the top of the window to the bottom, with rapids in the spots where the blobs of glass were grouped.
I clearly felt that the hard parts of my life are just like those glass blobs. Sadness, disability, slogging, suffering—these are the imperfect chunks of glass worked into the larger window with its smooth and etched parts.
This is what unfurled in my mind as I looked at that window: my challenges are the irregular, blobby chunks of glass. They aren’t smooth and devoid of flaws. They are strange. But they make the window more than utilitarian; they make it beautiful.
There would be no dimension without the unusual blobs between the panes of perfect glass.
I thought of myself in the river that is my life. For years, I’ve been mostly trying to swim upstream, which doesn’t really work. I couldn’t turn myself over to the not-knowing of what the rest of my life with Jack will look like.
That split-second image of real Jack, with a perfect body and mind, yet with the same lovely spirit dragged me over a falls. It engulfed me.
The blobs in the window bubbled up and showed me the futility of swimming against the current of God’s will for my life.
I can flow downstream with the water, trusting the source of all living things.
I don’t need to fear Jack’s future, or my inadequacy. I don’t need to fight the current.
God has already fixed everything for my family. Jesus already made Jack’s resurrection to wholeness a reality. It’s already done.
This, now, is simply an interlude between life before mortality and life after. This is intentional, and the product of love.
The river roars.
The force of rushing water is carrying me back.