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Chapter 17

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Chapter 17
The Vision

There are three things I wish to address before we move on. I’ll address them in the order of emotional difficulty for myself. It may not be the logical progression (okay, it’s not at all), but it will be easiest on me.

The first thing that must be addressed is the vision and the circumstances around it. It is the beginning of something far larger that runs through the next 16 years of my life. The keystone, the foundation, whatever… to all that comes after it in the area of spirituality.

At the time, I was adamantly, strongly, deeply Christian. I was as devoted a believer as I’ve ever seen. I prayed and I read the Bible obsessively. I’d learned this from Tony and Corenn. Tony and Corenn are the two most beautiful and amazing examples of all I’d been taught Christians should be. Their love for me, despite the hardness that had settled into me through years and years of neglect, abuse, loneliness, and misery… well, I can’t really express it. Let me just say that it was incredible. Amazing. Inspiring.

I was already a Christian before I met them. I’d studied the Bible obsessively when growing up with George and Edna. I knew why they were Seventh Day Adventists. I understood without any shadow of a doubt that God existed. Perhaps part of that came from dying as a child. Wherever it came from, though, it was as certain a certainty as my knowledge of what color the sky is.

And since I’d been Christian for so long, I simply accepted that the Bible told the one true story of God. I doubted often, and asked questions, but my questions were always answered in ways that I couldn’t figure out how to overcome. Not always (not often) in ways that really made sense to me, but simply in ways I didn’t know how to counter.

The most common way that my questions were countered was with the fact that I just had to have faith. That God is unknowable, that we’re merely stupid humans, and that if I had but the faith of a mustard seed, God would start answering my desperate prayers.

At this time, while living with Jeff, I decided to fast and pray. Because they were ‘Christians,’ they supported this decision. I’m not sure why, maybe because since I found support for it in Psalms, they couldn’t deny me doing so and still look like Christians. Maybe they believed themselves to be truly Christians and like so many others, thought they were doing the right thing in “rescuing” children from single mothers with no family. Whatever, I don’t know. Like you, can only guess, assume, or speculate.

But the final point is, they allowed me to fast and pray for three days and three nights. However, afterwards (ah ha?), they told me that clearly Austin was neglected, as I’d neglected him in order to fast and pray. Anything to build up my ever-growing insecurity.

Back to the vision, though. It was this that created my first true spiritual crisis. Yet it’s a strangely evocative and living memory for me.

I prayed during that time for deliverance, together with my son. As you already know, I didn’t get that. But I also prayed for faith. And in obedience to Psalms (don’t remember where it is, won’t look it up right this minute– do you know how many Psalms there are??), I prayed also for wisdom, discernment, and understanding. Somewhere in Psalms, it directs the seeker to pray for discernment, but never without praying also for understanding. And never pray for understanding, without praying also for wisdom.

So that’s what I did. I fasted and prayed for faith, deliverance, and understanding/wisdom/discernment. For three days, I poured over the Bible. I prayed “in Jesus’ name,” and I read everything that Jesus had said in the Bible. I’d been raised to believe that if I only had enough FAITH, then I would get my prayers answered. And boy, oh boy, I needed this one answered!

At the end of the fast, I was sitting on the sofa, Austin in his little bouncy chair close by. I was studying the Bible again, and mentally trying to find ways out of that place. Then the vision came.

It’s the only vision I’ve had in my life that seemed real. It felt real. I understood as I was having it that I was having a vision, but it was like being in a waking dream.

In the vision, I was standing in the clouds. Before me was Jesus. It was Jesus from the pictures I’d grown up with. I was skeptical, though. So I questioned him.

“Who are you?”

“You would call me Jesus.”

“Why are we here?”

“This is where you expected to be.” He grinned, like a child who has presented you with a toy that he thinks you’ll just adore.

So, I had to test him. Something seemed off. I’d been raised in a belief system that said that demons are very real. I’d been taught how to handle it if I ever encountered one (seriously? yep).

“Get thee behind me, Satan! In the name of Jesus, I command you to begone!”

He stood there, still smiling. “All done now?”

“I guess so.”

He turned and gestured. “Good, shall we walk and talk, then?”

“Okay. Well, it feels a little strange. I’m walking and talking with Jesus in the clouds.”

“I suppose you would see it that way.”

“How else can I see it?”

“I couldn’t think of any other way. That’s why we’re here.”

I was a little irritated at this point. “Do you have to talk all cryptic-like?”

“Who’s being cryptic? I’m not. Maybe you should ask me questions. This won’t last forever, you know. You do have to go back.”

“Well, who are you?”

“That’s the best you can come up with? All the questions in the world, and that’s the only one you can think of?”

“No. But it’s the most important one. If I’m talking to the devil or a demon, then I can’t believe a thing you say.”

“I thought you already covered that. Do you think I’m the devil or a demon?”

“No.” I honestly didn’t.

“I’m who you think I am.”



“Why are you here?”

He stopped then, and faced me while he spoke. “Your son.” Then he walked on.

“I have to give him up.”

“You don’t have to. It’s your choice. But I’m here to ask you to.”

“I don’t want to. I love him.”

“I know. I’m here to tell you why it has to happen. You turned out to be more stubborn than anyone thought you would be. So I came to ask you myself.”

“I have to give him up because you’re lonely.”

“Does that make sense to you?” He looked at me strangely.

“That’s why you made humans, isn’t it?”

He gave me the same strange look. “Sandi, you wouldn’t be here if you really believed that. If you could make sense of the reasons you’ve been taught about why things happen– why those things happened to you, you wouldn’t still think you lack faith.”

“I do lack faith.”

“You’ve never lacked faith in me. You’ve always known me. You lack faith in what you’ve been taught.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I know. You won’t for a while, either. I can’t help that, but for what it’s worth, I’m sorry.”

“Why are you taking my son? And who are you, really?”

“I’ll tell you, but you won’t remember. You won’t understand it now, either.”

I think I was a bit smug as I told him, “I remember everything.”

He laughed, “Yes, you do. But you won’t. It’s part of the plan. It’s part of the bigger picture. You can’t understand it all yet.”

He did explain. I don’t remember. But he was right, because he told me afterward that the fact was that even remember that he had explained it, and that I would understand it one day, would be enough to bring me comfort. It did, though not until much later.

I asked him more when he was done explaining. Some of the questions, I don’t remember his answers to, but later on realized that they had been his answers.

Then, he told me that if I would give Austin up now, I would have another family later. I told him, rather bitterly I confess, that I didn’t want another family, I wanted my son.

“I know. Again, I’m sorry. You can choose not to do this. But if you do choose to do it, remember and know that you’ll have another family one day.”

“My reward.” I was really bitter now. I remember Job and how he got ‘a new family’ after his was destroyed. I’d always hated that part of the Bible. God’s big joke, his petty, childish bet with Satan.

“No. Recompense, restitution, perhaps. But not reward. Your decision now is a gift to many later. There’s no attempt here to replace what you’re losing. There’s no diminishing of what you’re going to experience. To reward you would be to belittle you. I told you of the future so that you would have the strength and the courage to make it through these things.”

“Why me?” The inevitable query that comes to us all in the midst of suffering.

“Because you can do this, and survive. Because of where you’ve been, and the weight that those things will have when understanding all that comes after he is gone.”

“That doesn’t make sense. I don’t want to do this.” The last was plaintive. I was begging. I could as well have said, “Please, please, not me.” I think I might have said it, but I somehow knew it was fruitless. I somehow felt like it was me or no one.

“I’m sorry.” He said nothing more, and we walked in silence.

After a while, he said to me, “You know you’re strange, you know you’re different.”

I nodded. What could I say? I’ve always know I was weird, different, strange, unusual. Not like everyone else.

“Then why do you persist in thinking that you’re average?”

Because I know that to be absolute fact, too. “I am average.”

“Don’t you think that’s strange?”

“No, not really.”

“Okay.” Then a while later, “It’s time to go back now. I’m sorry.”

I nodded, and woke gasping on the couch. Once more, I was bereft, and I held Austin and cried.

Then, I made that phone call that I told you about, “Jeff. You know someone who wants to adopt.”

It was my gift to God. It was my gift to humanity. It was the worst and most painful event of my entire life. I didn’t feel noble. I didn’t feel good. I didn’t feel like I was giving a gift to anyone. And I want to make it clear that my son was NOT the gift. It was experiencing that loss which was my gift. The line may seem rather faint or difficult to understand, but in reality, the difference is huge. Grand Canyon huge.

No child, taken from the arms of his weeping mother, is ever a gift. I cannot speak more clearly than that. It is a theft, a bereavement of mother and child both.

Written by sandit4glp

July 30, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Posted in Chapter 17