VISIONS: Face To Face

VISIONS: Face To Face

I want to use the word, conspiracy.  But conspiracy has the overtone of an unlawful act, of criminality.

So I can’t use that word.

There’s, schematic.  But that’s a very visual word.  And visions aren’t technically visual (unless they are).  And these aren’t visual visions.

I’m referring now to words.  Words that come together like a dance, an elaborate, mimed expression.

It’s that time again.  The time of “hearing” the cooing chant of God.  Of feeling the closing-in pressure in the spiritual air around me.  Of expectation.

Of threatened change.

That change.

That change when I leave ordinary actions behind to be just ordinary, and find that I am stepping, somehow, between the world of the ordinary and the world of the Godly.  Of the extra-spectacular.  Of the, just how did that happen anyway?

Where things in life fit together like a finished jig-saw puzzle.  Where everything makes sense.

Like standing behind the curtains, watching the stage play, enacted by Jesus Christ, written by God, the Father.  And, for those moments, understanding life.  Understanding God.

It takes a lot of time to get over those enhanced periods of life.  The body needs ordinary things.  Cleaning toilets.  Making bread.  Sorting material into folders.

The mind needs the ordinary also.  It needs to experience the waves of life as expected.  When the unexpected bombards it, it fatigues.  It works overtime.  It can break down.

So I look around me.  And I wonder, where am I going this time?

And I look for the prayer.  The prayer that I will carry with me through it all.  The prayer that will be my trench when I need to hide.  The prayer that will be my wall when I need to be protected.  The prayer that will be my talisman when I need to be not overwhelmed.

But the prayer is what is dancing these days.  It’s there, and then it changes.  Instead of being a big, neon sign pointing my way, it giggles, swoops, turns, and points up, then down, then over there.  But mostly it points at me.

And so I begin to see the pattern.  For once a pattern.  Not a solid path stretching out before me.

A design.

A design in my prayers.  A design in my visions.  A design in my direction.

My direction that leads me right back to me.

It is standard for me to feel inadequate, small, and stupid at the beginning of these vision quests.  To know that I know absolutely nothing.  That I am, in fact, nothing.

The stone, perhaps, in David’s slingshot.

A saltshaker of God.  Necessary, perhaps, but interchangeable.  Of no real intrinsic worth.

I usually start my visions with a minute detailing of how inadequately I have prepared myself for this journey.  How little I have studied this subject, when I had so much time and resources.

But this time, the subject appears to be me.

Me and my relationship with God.

I kind of want to say, as I have so often done before, say what?

Only this time I really and truly mean it.

The prayers, the daily readings, the references, the conversations, it is all going in one direction.  It is all about my relationship with God.

How can I have a mystic flight that is about my relationship with God?  Of what purpose would or could that serve exactly?

But it’s the clasp that gets me now.  The clasp that brings all those various word groups together, like pearls on a string, waiting to be fastened around my neck.  For me to wear.  For me to own.

It came to me in my pre-contemplative prayer prayer a few days ago.  A passage from scripture:

The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. (Exodus 33:11)

And I knew that that was that.  That was where I was headed.  Up the mountain, up God’s mountain, to face him.  Just me.  Just him.  Face to face.

It’s the first time in my life that tears were in my eyes during contemplative prayer.  And the first time that my throat felt full.  Felt stopped-up.

And since that time of prayer, when I think of the words, face to face, I choke up.  And tear up.

It is too much, I think.

Much too much.

I feel beyond inadequate.

At first, I felt like a child having been summoned to the principal’s office without prior warning.  What have I done?

But it’s not that, I’m assured.

Though, to be honest, I wish it were.  A nice, deep, thorough criticism; a complete listing of all my failures.  Once and for all.  Condemnation.  How wonderful that sounds to me.

I want a big, God-sized sheet pan to come down on me hard and flatten me to the ground.

But it’s not that, I’m told.

It’s not that.

This is going to be a very, very long and uncomfortable visionary time.

He spoke to Moses as a man speaks to his friend.

All I can say is, No.  Please, no.

I can’t be a friend.

A stone, yes.

I can’t be somebody in the eyes of God.

I am, after all, nobody.

I am nothing.

Amen.

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