Staring into the face of the night, not fearing where it will take me, giving myself over completely to something unseen, I am falling freely into the arms of an Almighty Caretaker who has my nights and days completely accounted for. Below me, the earth fades away. Colors soften. Buildings dim. Sounds mute and the faces of those I know fade away. Traffic continues. The morning routines begin. Workers enter office buildings, drink coffee and trade lies. The day starts and I don’t hear. I don’t see. I don’t feel. Quiet fills me with sound and I am completely at rest.
Floating through a vast expanse of the heavens, I am aware of the cool of the night, the brightness of the stars, the feeling that there is something more awaiting me just around the next cloud, beyond the next galaxy and I so want to experience it. I ask, timidly, may I see?
Suddenly, before me looms a place. It seems it was there before but, I did not see it. Now, it exists. Clouded gates rise all around as if in a fog. Beaming brightly from them a sign blinking in neon. No, it is something even brighter than neon: Authorized Admittance Only. Despite the words, I am lifted above the gates. Below me I see the city that reaches for miles and miles in all directions. As I get closer, the colors begin to rise so brightly that I can not stand the intensity. I close my eyes but I can still see their brilliance, more exquisite than anything I’ve ever experienced. They fill my every pour and ooze out around me. I can’t even look to see what they are coloring for their power overwhelms me and I cry out. My voice seems mute as if no one can hear me yet the colors do seem to dim.
As I look there are thousands around me. They bustle to and fro all unaware of me, but they carry on as with a purpose. In the midst of the city stands an enormous building glass on all four walls. Inside I can see many people working. Each has an instant sense of knowing of others around them. They appear to be doing more with the knowing. They are filing, compiling, archiving in some way unknown to me. From the center of the building imamates a light that seems to fill every part of the city. The light is power beyond any power I have ever touched, and yet it is vaguely familiar. I long to see the power and yet all that I am experiencing is overwhelming my current being. My senses are overloaded and I realize with faint knowledge that I have only begun to experience this place. With all that is within me I long to fully understand this place. And yet, I realize, that it is probably because of all that is within me that I cannot understand.
I do not say it aloud, but I want to experience more. Suddenly all around me is sound. It is sound that is indescribable in its magnitude and intensity, unlike any I have ever heard. It is a song and yet not a song. Rising and falling it builds and fades, growing stronger with instruments no man has ever heard. Its melodies are unknown but glorious. Its harmonies so perfectly intertwined, they seem to wind in and out of each other like a garland of ivy. They bring fullness beyond anything to the sense of sound. I know each person around me is part of this complete sound and that each is somehow contributing to make this song completely beautiful. It is the sound of community and it fills me, resonates through me, spills out from my eyes and my ears and my mouth. It does more than touch my ears. It brings a sense of connectedness to me. I want to be connected but, if I were I would surely die because my body cannot contain the sound. It is uncontainable and I cry out for it to stop.
The sound dims but, other sensations overwhelm me now. The senses of sound and taste: Mammaw’s apple cobbler, Grandma’s faint talcum powder, Aunt Mart’s rolls, Mom’s delicate odor that filled her house even months after her death, Aunt Coralee’s pecan pie, Papaw’s overalls after a day of tilling the fields in the hot sun, Aunt Opal and Uncle Claude’s barbecued mutton, Dad’s Old Spice aftershave and clean white shirt, a baby’s soft magic smell, clean laundry, cinnamon rolls baking, fresh rain, lilacs, jasmine and all the earth in bloom. They are smells and tastes that overwhelm my body with sensations that keep coming and I cry for them to stop.
I want to fall on my face but, I can’t for I am still floating above the city. If I get any closer I think I will explode from the inside out and tiny particles of me will become part of all that is around me. But I am here and I want to experience all of the city I can, so I ask. I am allowed to come closer to the tops of the building in the city and I can see they are not made of glass or steel or anything known on earth. These are buildings made with materials that never deteriorate and always glow radiating the energy and light from within. I reach out to touch one surface near me but my hand goes through it. I realize I cannot on my own feel this place and so once again, tentatively I ask and reach out again. This time smoothness that is beyond any feeling on earth wafts through me. I want to rub my whole body against it but instead, I lay my hand flat on the wall and I am engulfed in the feeling. I try to remove it but, I cannot. It is as if a magnet has drawn me and I feel my body slowly being drawn to it. I am afraid that I will meld into the surface become a part of it. I cry out and I am jolted back away from the buildings.
I feel so insignificant in comparison to everything in this city. It is as if all knowing is here as if everything starts and ends here, right here. Below me, I can see inside the building. The surfaces do not contain as much as they gather people to them. People come and go without turning doorknobs. Openings appear where they need to and disappear as suddenly. Some people walk but, others also just appear as if from another galaxy or segment of the city. There are no cubicles or offices but, as people come together they do corporate tasks and a oneness seems to have been achieved. They are definitely about business, though what it is I cannot tell. I sense though that it is important, perhaps the most important of any business in the entire universe. In one building I have the feeling that much knowledge is contained. It seems to vibrate with the pulsing vein of humanity. Could knowledge of all of life be here in this one place? It would be too much to contain in one building. Wouldn’t it? I notice people touching screens that seem to be inherent in others, storing knowledge in each other. Building a sense that all are connected that all know. Still there is a power source that fuels all this, I’m sure. Yet I am aware that I am still thinking in earthly terms. We are not in Kansas any more, Toto. This I know for sure.
From the central building now comes a rumbling. It begins and builds like thunder but, louder and more enveloping. The brilliance in the city seems to wane and fade as darkness covers it. All activity ceases in anticipation of something, though I know not what. I watch the faces to have a clue as to what my reaction should be to what would seem to be a coming doom. I am frightened beyond belief. As a matter of fact as much joy and exhilaration that I’ve felt since I’ve been here, I now feel that much dread and fear. It fills me up and I am overcome with the knowledge of my own mortality, my own humanity, my own sin. It is hot but, I don’t know why. The temperature since I got here has been perfect in every way. I can smell burning flesh and hear cries of those in torment. It seems so out of place in this city of perfection and beauty. I don’t know where it’s coming from and I want to hide my face but, there is nowhere to hide. In contrast, all those I see are calm, serene, smiling. They seem to know what the outcome will be. Then, as if a new day were dawning, the thunder ceases. Light and brilliance returns to the city and the sounds of immortal melodies fill every space. The stench of burning is gone and the perfect day returns.
Then, He steps forward. I know in an instant it is He, completion combined in one being. All the city falls on its face before Him. He approaches each person, extends His hand and draws them up to full height wrapping his arms around them. I see the nail prints in His hand, the dried blood at His side, the crown of thorns on His head and I know who He is. In this city of incomprehensible wonders resides the Man of incomprehensible sacrifice, the One who died that I could live. After He wraps them in His presence, He looks each in the eyes and whispers in their ear, “Good job, My Child. Good job.” Then He simply smiles at them. The looks on their faces tell the story. He is all they could ever need. I am still floating above but, I so want to be there by His side. I want Him to look in my eyes, surround me with His presence, whisper gently to me and smile at me. Oh, how I want that smile. It is a deep, longing in my being, that smile, that word, that hug. Surely it would not take effort from me. So far I have gotten everything I asked for. Being so bold as to know He would never deny my request, I ask for this as well.
The moment I ask, I am catapulted out of the city and I am falling this time not on soft, billowy clouds but, headlong like a speeding bullet through the blackness of night. Stars whiz by, meteors zing off me, sending searing pain through my flesh as I gain more and more speed through the emptiness of space. I cannot stop. I am being shot through the heavens at a dizzying rate. I should be burning up now, I think, for I am rocketing toward earth an enormous speed. There is no way I can still be alive. Surely I am dying. Surely this is a part of my demise and I will be where?
Where would I go? It would be nice to be in the place I just visited one that is beyond human comprehension in all areas, one that the God of the Universe has wired to His command, where all is connected to Him and to each other. This would be the place of ultimate purpose and goal as a direct center for command of the universe. To put it in human terms, it is the Enterprise of the Universer with Captain Kirk at the helm. No, it is much more than that. We don’t have a comparison. That’s OK, though, because I experienced it briefly. I know what to expect.
It is clear there is a choice here and it is clear what the choice should be but, how to make it while falling headlong through all the universe is quite a different matter all together. I know with everything within me that all Power comes from the One who died for me. My imperfections so magnified by His perfection now and always let me know that I could never take my place before a perfect God. Obviously, I was thrown from His presence headlong into the universe. But it was my choice, really. My choice because I have chosen not to completely choose Him. I wanted there to be no commitment on my part. The gift is free, that is true. But it requires a turning away from fleshly desires to wanting only Him. I am afraid of the other choice but, now I can no longer smell the burning stenc or fell the heat. Neither can I hear the beautiful melodies or see the brilliant colors. So, the choices have become less of a reality. And with the sure pull of gravity, earth beckons me forward. I remember the feeling of that place. It’s a nice feeling, but to be there means to totally give myself over to Him in every way. Am I ready for that?
If I could just stop for a minute I might be able to make a choice but, right now all I can think about is dodging the next meteorite because, man, do they hurt. I want the ringing in my ears to stop. I want to stop falling so fast that I am dizzy and nauseous. If I could just stop for a minute, grab hold of a star or sit for a while beside the lunar sunset then I could choose. And, surely I would choose the right thing, the Sacrifice, the Man with the Power, the One who will smile at me when I choose. But, right now life is going too fast and I am falling again.
©2009 by Teresa Parker