By the grace of God, I did not actually explode. Instead, I had the opportunity to mediate and pray for 10 minutes; this was a time of uninterrupted solitude and intentional listening. I know I should do this more often.
I'm telling you all this because of the deep significance of these 10 minutes. What I experienced is perhaps not only meaningful for me, but perhaps for you as well.
In the course of these 10 minutes, I had a vision, or a dream, or...an imagination. Let me tell you the story:
I was going to meet Jesus. I don't know why. I found myself walking down a dirt road. At the end of the road was a lake, I could see him standing by the water. The lake was perfect, calm as death. Its surface reflected the breathtaking blue of the sky and the vivid yellow, green, red display of leaves from the maples and oaks growing along the opposite bank. Yet I hardly saw the lake, all I could think about was Jesus, how he was staring at me. I didn't know how to react. At first I felt the need to be cautious. I didn't want him to think I was afraid or nervous to see him. I thought maybe I should be overjoyed by this opportunity, but I wasn't. I wanted him to think that I was okay, that I didn't mind being in his presence. As a result, I found myself extremely guarded as I approached him.
Yet, with every step forward my resolve to remain protected and careful began to falter and break apart. I could literally feel my throat constricting as a forced the tears to stay down. I did not know why I wanted to cry. I refused to cry. When I finally reached him (I was walking very slowly), I could not look into his face. He started to say something as he reached his hand out to me. The moment I felt his touch, everything inside of me broke down.
As if my bones dissolved, my body sank to the ground. I began to weep. At first in stifled murmurs, then finally in the ugly, messy sort of weeping where the eyes become red and swollen, the face contorts, drool dribbles out of the mouth a little, and the body convulses with agony. I knew he wanted me to stand next to him, to take in beauty of the lake, but I could not even lift my head. I dared not even touch his feet.
Instead of forcing me to stand up, he knelt down. Aware of his face coming closer to mine, my crying subsided a little. I was listening.
"Look at me."
I felt his hand once again touch my face. Still in my puddle of remorse, I shook my head and refused to look.
"Look at me."
Again, I refused. I felt his hand turn my neck and tilt my chin up abruptly. Startled by this, I stopped crying. Now facing him, I still averted my eyes. I could feel the hot tears smeared across my face and a burning sensation starting from my throat, reaching all the way up to my eyes.
Finally, with great deliberation, I forced my eyes up. What I saw chilled the marrow of my bones. Nothing could have prepared me for this. It was utterly horrifying at first.
For I looked, and there beheld my own face.
Or at least, I thought it was my face. It was so hard to tell, so blurry, quite unclear. Yet the more I stared, the more sure I was. Who else could this be? This was...me. And yet, it was completely him. How hard it is to try to conceptualize this phenomenon to you. I was not looking at a man's body with my head, I was not looking at a man at all. Yet I was. As I lay there gazing, my brain tried to comprehend how it was possible for my reality and this abstraction to merge together in this bizarre visual. There he was, kneeling next to me. He was me, yet he was not me.
His eyes seemed to see so far down into my soul that my head began to hurt. I wanted to ask a thousand questions. Nevertheless, I felt that I should remain silent; I understood that no matter what I said, my words were not enough.
Then he spoke.
"I know Danae."
I blinked, trying to understand what he meant. Even as I think back on it now, it seems to have a double meaning. His words could have been sympathetic, as in "I know, Danae." Or, "I know what you're going through, I understand, I've been there."
Or maybe he meant it in a different way; addressing me indirectly. Maybe he said, "I know Danae," as if to say, "I know who your are." Perhaps he meant both. I'd like to think he meant both.
After a while he lifted me up. I still wouldn't stand, but he set me upright, propping my body against his. I sat next to this absurd concept of him and I...so vague and confusing. Together, we admired the lake. I did truly admire it now. How still it was, so quiet and unmoving. I liked the way it reflected the colors of the leaves so vividly, duplicating the scenery so clearly. From a different angle it would have been hard to distinguish where the trees ended and where the reflection began.
While I was still deeply bemused by our encounter, I also felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I'm not exactly sure I know what peace is, but I believe in that moment I truly felt it. Finally, I told him I must go, that my 10 minutes were up, and that it was time to return. I did not tell him I would come back, I wasn't sure if I could.
Walking away on the dirt road, I turned around a couple of times to see him there, by the lake, watching me go.
That was the end of the vision. I returned to reality, still utterly confused, still strangely at peace.
I am no longer my own. Whether I live or whether I die, I belong to my Saviour I have nothing of my own. God is my all, and my whole being is His.I will have nothing to do with a love that would be for God or in God. I cannot bear the word for or the word in, because they denote something that may be in between God and me. — Saint Catherine of Genoa
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12
I hope this brings encouragement to your day.