Ok this is actually pretty hard to talk about. As a teen I made some attempts to explain it but quickly learned to just keep quiet and these events to my self. I’m breaking my rule of silence. This is a special thing between myself and God which I never really felt the need to discuss. Being here now, on this forum, the internet, I can say my part and folks can read or pass. This suits me just fine and hope I can do at least some service to someone.
While I couldn’t do the whole ascetic thing due to me being in school I did the best I could with what I had. This was a two-year ordeal. Of course I didn’t fast the whole two years but I did frequently. I began by reading the bible every night and praying.
Eventually I taught myself to pray consciously most of the day with little distraction from thought. Then I began to limit myself to just water for a day, then two, then three and so on. Each time taking breaks in between fasts. Then I began to exclude T.V, radio, other books or reading until I could be of one mind in prayer and meditation on Jesus.
During my breaks I continued to do the other things that kids do and studied other subjects but tried to stay focused to my aim.
Eventually some strange things started to happen. Voices, visions, dreams and messengers. Yea so, like what your probably thinking now I thought the same… ohh no poor boy is sick. lol.
It was a real concern to me, am I chemically imbalanced, going crazy, delusional, or have a hyperactive imagination. A beautiful mind is one of my favorite movies by the way. I liked how he approached the problem with his powers of reason which I could relate to. If I haven’t made it clear enough so far I do have good reason for questioning reality and my perceptions. A benefit I would not exchange for a normal mind.
So I broke the problem down and assessed the data and possibilities. Hypothesized that something was wrong and set out to prove it. Here are some examples, one of each kind of event.
Some were literal, as in, I saw people, places and events that I never saw before. Others were metaphorical that I didn’t understand until after the fruition of the dream. This example has both qualities.
Towards the nearing of summer break I began to have the same dream each night. It was in two parts and some times I would just dream of one part and sometimes I would dream both together.
The first part was literal. I saw a gravel or dirt road that led down to a parking lot in the woods. The road branched off to the left to a place I couldn’t see. Further down the main road was a small building to the left and to the right was a larger building, long rectangular in shape. The road turned into a smaller path where on the right side there was an elevated hill with a tower on it. The dream changes to where I’m walking down the path and I’m distinctly not paying attention to the field but ignoring it and just happen to glance and see a blond girl about my age wearing a tie die shirt. She is surrounded by boys and elsewhere on the field there are other kids playing frisbee and other games.
The second part of the dream is metaphorical. I was a black panther accompanied with by a female black panther. It was night-time and we were sitting on the bank of a body of water. There were explosions of many colors in the water and every where. The dream ends.
Well I take a summer job working at a Boy Scout camp. When I arrive for the first time I realize that this is the place in my dream. To the left of the road was the medic lodge and to the right was the cafeteria. The right of the path was the elevated hill with a repelling tower on it. All this just like I had seen. But had no idea what the metaphorical part was yet. Nor did I see the blond girl with the tie die shirt.
As the weeks went on it was custom for the families to come and spend, I think, the last weekend with the boys. I realized that this would probably the kind of occasion id see the girl. So I looked for her every weekend as I walked down that path but never saw here. I eventually gave up and just considered that I made everything up after the fact and was imagining it all.
Well on one of the last weeks of summer camp I was walking down to the place where I taught waterfront merit badges like swimming and small boat sailing. My mind was wandering on something I don’t remember what but I glanced over and there she was. Tie die, blond and surrounded by boys. The other kids were in the back ground. I couldn’t believe it so I had to investigate. I know I couldn’t go talk to her with the other guys there so I waited for another opportunity. Later in the day I saw her at the cafeteria and started a conversation and we hit it off.
It was the fourth of July weekend so the whole camp was going down to the water front to see the fireworks that evening so we went together. As we were sitting on the bank of the lake I saw the fireworks reflecting off the water and realized this was the panther dream but I didn’t get the panther part. I knew it would sound odd if I just came out and asked her about panthers but did anyway. I just said do you know any thing about panthers and she looked at me goofy and I dropped it.
After the fireworks we walked back to her campsite and said our farewells. It was campsite ten. Later I realized that all the campsite numbers are accompanied by animals. Camp ten was the Panther campsite. The same my troop always used.
Visions and Voices
The visions were images that came to my mind’s eye while I was awake. Usually of things that were about to happen. Voices, while not external, were internal but not my own thoughts. As it seemed any way, I don’t really know how else to say it but psychology has some good definitions for this. These are two examples.
I didn’t use a locker for gym, I just changed and left my clothes on a bench in the changing room. It was habit to leave my wallet in my pants. On this occasion as I left my belongings to got to the weight room, I got a glimpse of some one stealing my wallet out of my pants. I ignored it but the further away I got the more of a tugging feeling I got and I heard “Take your wallet with you.”
So for the sake of peace of mind I went back to get my wallet. After gym I returned to see both my pockets turned inside out.
Another time a little more scary. I lived on the border of Alabama and Georgia. Lived in Alabama but went to school in Georgia so the bus wouldn’t come and get me. I Got a ride with another Alabamain who drove by my house every morning and afternoon.
One day after school as I was waiting for my ride, I saw a car accident. I was in the car. Well this wasn’t just a wallet we were talking about here so I frantically tried to find another ride. I couldn’t find any one I knew well enough to ask. Everyone that had cars had already left. I did find the sister of on of my Boys Scout friends and asked her, I think I told her I had a bad feeling or something, but I was too much out of her way. This was understandable after all I did live in a different state.
With no other options of getting home I went back to the car lane and waited for my ride. As you probably guessed, we wrecked on the way home. Everyone in our car was fine, I’m not sure about the other.
Now some less subjective experiences. These are real people not angles. I started to get random people coming up to me and saying something like, “This might sound strange but God just told me to tell you…..” Ill leave the details out but this became a rather frequent thing. The first was a substitute teacher that everyone else could see too. Others came from random public places and this persisted up until just a few years ago.
On this particular occasion just as an example, I was alone by a payphone one clear and pleasant night. A man walks by and looks at me in a weird way. He continues seeming to be hesitant then lightning strikes from a clear sky. He stops frozen in his tracks, looks at me, then down and shakes his head then walks toward me.
He puts his arms up and tries to assure me that he isn’t a weirdo. Goes on to explain that he is a pasture or some kind of leader at a church and God was telling him to come ask me something. He went on to say that he thought he was just delusional and resisted but when the lightning came out of no where he capitulated to his inner voice. I agreed to listen and he goes on about a theological dilemma he is in. The usual two-sided conflict and wanted me to tell him which one.
I of course had no real insight into his problem and didn’t know the answer myself. I stated as such but offered a suggestion by considering my own search for truth. I went on a little bit about how it seems that truth isn’t going to be on the far left nor will it be on the far right as these just lead to paradoxes, conflicts and absolutism that doesn’t work. I also went on a bit about how truth couldn’t be some where in the middle either because by definition truth was pure and absolute in a different way. It couldn’t be a mixture of two extremes, but instead truth was wayyyy off somewhere else outside of our considerations.
I don’t know if this was helpful but I showed him the nine dots and thinking out of the box thing. Suggested praying and searching with his whole heart and be humble in his opinions and interpretations. He seemed disappointed in my response but it was all I had at the time.
Scrutinizing these experiences
This was a gradual process as these kinds of things went on for a few years. I thought of all the ways these could be false. There didn’t seem to be a practical way to do this at first as every time something happened especially things about the future the odds were against it but I still had a few tricks up my sleeve.
I wanted to rule out the possibility that I was just making things up as I went. So I put it to paper. Actually a dry erase board. I drew the next place I dreamed about. The hallways, counter, doors, positions of details and described them all. Then I showed everyone I could my picture. I didn’t explain to them why I just wanted them to see it and confirm that they did.
I did that and many other experiments to falsify these events but never could. Then I think about their constancy, accuracy, my removal of subjective opinion about them, the fact that other people out side of my own head were involved…… I had to concede.
I think, just speculation, that God did these things the way he did just to show me a glimpse of what was to come. He knew I would test the spirits so to speak. He wanted to defeat my logic and reason to bring me to my knees in humble ignorance. Maybe some day, and I hear many nice theory’s, but there just isn’t any science that can adequately explain these kinds of things at present.
Stay tuned for the for the conclusion of this series. My Journey Through Christianity-Nothing, Something and Everything
🙂 Nice comments are nice 🙂