My Writing

The Painted Scarf by Julia Marks

I was in my early twenties.  I was a student at the University of California, otherwise referred to as Berkeley.  And I had come to the somewhat painful realization that my mystical attributes were not going away.  If anything, they were getting worse.  Worse, being the way I described the weirdness that was me.

For my relationship with and understanding of God, it was a time of rapid growth.  As I grew out of my resistance to being me and settled into taking note of the visions that were coming fast and furious, some of my “gifts” were revealed to me.

One was that if I let myself become very, very still and turned myself wholly over to God, and if I was near another person, also still, I could feel my internality dissolve and watch as it reformed in the likeness of the person next to me.  I think that’s a good way to describe the phenomenon.  The result of this internal transformation was that I could see through the eyes of the person near me, I could feel the reverberations of their thoughts echoing through my body.  So when the person told me something, I could understand it in the way they were understanding it.

I never knew, before then, that every person has a unique way of experiencing life and the world.  That colors made different impressions on people.  Or that emotions literally felt differently.  It was an amazing realization for me.  Not surprisingly, it filled my heart with awe for God who could shape us all with such delicate differences and expressions.

Somehow, I don’t know how, the knowledge of this ability became known.  I found myself being asked by people I didn’t even know to sit with them and answer their questions.  Now, answering questions — questions asked of God — was something that I had no difficulty with, but, with this new ability of insight, I could truly understand the questions in ways that I never had before.  I could communicate with these petitioners on a much deeper level than I even knew existed before all this happened to me.

One major insight that I had while working with people in this way was that people really, really, really, really (really) get caught up by their thoughts about themselves.  And these thought traps were, for the most part, wrong.  I guess that’s why they are traps.  Sometimes it took me quite some hours to get around these traps in order to understand where to find the answer to the question.  It never surprised me when people told me that they were confused.  It almost went without saying.

Perhaps it is out of this confusion that come our questions.

I worked mostly with women.  Women with concerns about the safety of their unborn children.  Women befuddled by their distrust of their lovers and husbands.  Women who kept finding themselves overwhelmed without understanding the cause of their distress.

One day a woman came to me.  She brought with her a scarf that she had hand-painted herself.  It was beautiful.  I could feel its beauty as I ran it through my hands.

She was not distressed as the other women were.  Instead, she was almost giddy with excitement.  Her body tingled with joy.  She was in the publishing industry, and it had come to her that she was going to have a new job soon.  And she could barely breathe dreaming about her vision.

I was also in the publishing industry, so I knew what a emotional reaction there could be to the thought of a potential change of job.  The new challenges.  The widening parameters.

To be honest, I wondered what she wanted with me.  I had grown accustomed to being a quiet voice that helped to still the surging waters in a person’s soul.  I had never been asked to be a fortune teller.

But that is what she wanted.  She wanted to know what her new job was going to be.  Why, I asked myself, did God send this woman to me?


So I closed my eyes.  I let myself empty out, and I let God in.  I took a little time, but then I saw her new job.

She was going to have a baby.

I could feel the ecstasy in my heart and soul.  But it was an ecstasy from God, from the universe, from the source of life.

I took the woman’s hand in my own, and softly I told her what I had seen.

Her head snapped back.  Her body tensed.  All the joyous energy that had been frolicking around her was gone.  Instead, there was just a very, very angry woman.

She had worked hard in her vocation.  She was proud of who she was as a worker in the work force of the world.

Was she just supposed to give it all up for a baby?

How was I supposed to answer such a question?  I couldn’t.  I wouldn’t.  It was not my job to promote God’s plan for someone else.  I was barely able to handle God’s plan for me.  How was I supposed to explain God to someone else, most especially to someone who completely divorced herself from the idea of surrendering herself to the will of God?

She left in silence.  I don’t know if that baby survived, or whether it was washed away by a woman’s passion to be successful in the world of working hands and heads.  I came to believe that perhaps it would have been better for that woman to come to the knowledge of her pregnancy in a more natural way — when she came to the awareness on her own.  I wondered if the timing and the method of this reality increased the harshness of her reaction.  She came to God with her joy and excitement, and she left with resentment.

It was my first encounter with the infinite chasm between God and man.

In terms of this ability, I decided that some gifts are better off never being opened.

After a few years, I gave the scarf to a girl who thought it was one of the most beautiful things she had ever seen.

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