Stay in the Box

From my journal, Lent 2005:

Kneeling before candle and cross, I ask the Eternal – “What do you have for me today?” I have a vision of Jesus standing in front of me, looking earnestly at me. His knees are slightly bent, and he reaches out and takes my hands in his as though he is going to teach me to roller-skate. His hands hold me securely, keeping me safe from falls.

“Can you stay with me now?” he asks earnestly. There is no condemnation in that question, only concern and love. It is a check to see how I’m doing.

“I think so,” I respond.

My late husband is suddenly standing beside me, watching. “Hold your feet still,” he admonishes, just as he coached children standing in the batter’s box. “Don’t step away. Hold your feet still.”

The next week, I kneel before cross and candle. “What do you have for me tonight?”

The vision of Christ holding my hands returns. “Are you ready? Can you stay with me now?” At my nod, he suddenly grabs my upper arms and draws me to him in a strong, urgent embrace, the embrace of an impatient and eager lover.

I am held tightly against him, and then suddenly I am falling, falling through him, passing through his heart, covered with blood as I go. I am not pleased with the sensation. I don’t like getting dirty – it’s probably why I don’t like painting.

“It’s OK,” I tell myself. “It’s just blood.”

Then I’m through him and on the other side (though I don’t know what that means) and I can feel the blood interacting with the cells of my body, sort of a foaming, stinging sensation. I look down. My body is transformed – I’m brighter somehow, and I feel…solid, even though I think I might be glowing. It’s still me, but I realize it’s an imperishable me. “So that’s how it works!” I think. I look around, squinting into blinding whiteness. “But where am I?”

Suddenly, I’m back in the chapel by candle and cross. I’m dizzy and overwhelmed.

And I’m left with the distinct impression that I have been given a vision of life, not death – a vision of something that is available to me and to us all, right now, if we can only find the path.

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