Archive for August, 2009

One of life’s lessons

by on Saturday, August 22nd, 2009


Today was a magical day. Master sent Julie and me off into the woods to discover “one of life’s lessons.” We weren’t sure what he meant, but jumped at the chance to be away from the dingy tower for the day. Master gave us a map to follow and has us pack a lunch before we left.

We walked for the better part of the morning up into the foothills. As we walked, the forest became denser. The trees became bigger, both in height and width. The underbrush became heaver as well, and instead of just walking we had to find animal trails to follow. As we walked we started to notice that instead of getting darker as it had been, it started to get lighter as we continued.

The trees were still getting bigger and closer together, but the braches seemed to be getting thinner and more sunlight filtered through. The underbrush started to thin as well and patches of grass gathered in the patches of full sunlight between the trees. I asked Julie about this, since I had never seen a forest like this. Julie wasn’t much help, only saying that God liked to hide surprises where we could find them if we looked.

We studied our map and decided that we couldn’t tell where on the map we were; the map might be useful on our way back to town. We continued to walk, but we decided to walk towards the larger patches of grass and light. It turns out this was a good choice, or should I say the right choice. After another twenty minutes of walking we walked through a wall of trees and into a huge meadow.

The meadow was completely surrounded by trees, some small, some large. The trees formed a wall, with only a foot or so between the tree trunks and only two or three openings that a traveler would call a path. In the center of the meadow was the largest maple tree I’d ever seen. It was at least twice as big as the largest maple tree on the promenade. At that moment, I felt very small. I was wondering if that was the “life lesson” I was suppose to discover – that I’m not very big, or important, in the big scheme of things.

That’s when I noticed that there was movement in the trees around the meadow. Julie and I looked at each other; our eyes and bodies communicated the question, “forward or run away?” We both smiled and ran into the meadow, scanning the trees for any indication of what was causing the movement. As we slowed we saw that the trees all around us were weaving their branches together, turning what I had called a wall, into a true barrier. After a few minutes there were no gaps in the trees, and no paths out of the meadow.

We looked at each other and shrugged. Since there was no way out, we continued to walk towards the maple tree in the center. The sun felt good on us as we walked. We couldn’t help but smile. As we approached the maple tree, we stopped. We were both hungry and decided that it would be nice sitting in the warm sunlight while we ate. We sat there in the middle of the meadow and ate our lunches.

When we finished we continued towards the maple tree in the center of the meadow. We felt somehow drawn towards it. We approached its trunk and looked around. Neither of us saw anything noteworthy, but we were both feeling tired. I don’t know if I sat down first or if Julie did, but we found ourselves both sitting down, leaning against the huge trunk of the tree.

I remember closing my eyes, feeling like I couldn’t keep them open. I slipped into a dream. In the dream I was still in the meadow. Julie had gotten up and was dancing. I could hear music coming from all around. I got up and started to dance too. The music felt like it was flowing into my body, causing me to move. It felt like I was flowing, being one with the music. I remember looking over at Julie and seeing this stupid smile on her face and then I realized that I probably had the same smile on my face. Then I just started laughing as I danced around the maple tree.

As we danced, flashes of color moved with us. At first I wasn’t sure if the color was that of leaves or butterflies, but as we continued to dance the colors became more distinct. I could make out small wings fluttering, and forms of little people. It was at this point I realized that we had entered a fairy glen. From what little I knew of faries, I was privileged indeed to be here.

We dance for what felt like forever. Time lost all meaning as we experienced the music, the movements, the simply being. My past disappeared and my future didn’t seem to matter. I forgot my life and just danced. And when the dancing ended, that felt right too. The motion slowed and we fell down on the soft grass, the fairies joining us. We all lay there, sprawled in the grass, as clouds drifted overhead.

Again time seemed to stop, or speed ahead. The time of dancing faded into a pleasant memory. The thought of what would come next didn’t even cross our minds. We were just laying on the grass – looking up at the clouds drifting by, the canopy of the trees forming a stained-glass window above us. Small birds darted between the branches and leaves, doing their own dance for us to watch. My heart was at peace, my mind was at rest, my soul felt right with God.

And somehow the time of just being and laying ended and we all knew that it was time to talk and share, to tell the stories of our hearts, and to become one with each other. There was no fear in this place. We took turns talking and listening. I asked questions and the fairies around me talked and listened and asked questions, too. It was so freeing, not holding anything back, and not having to judge myself before I spoke. It was so refreshing listening to a fairy talk about soaring through the woods or gathering food, and not have to try to listen. Not only did I want to hear what they were saying, I cared about what they were sharing – not because what they were sharing about was so interesting, but because I cared about them, and if it was important for them to share, it was important to me.

We talked until we all said all of the words that we needed to say. I talked about my family, my home, my loss, but I shared it all with a sense of joy, not the sadness that usually accompanied those thoughts. And when I was done I felt free and I felt truly cared for. I felt like, for the first time in my life, someone actually knew who I was, and loved me anyway. I felt complete and didn’t care about anything else. I was loved, and that was all that mattered.

As the talking ended, my senses were filled with an uncountable number of delectable aromas. As each conversation finished, we got up and went to a large table. On the table were set all manner of food, from fresh berries of so many varieties I couldn’t name them all, to all types of baked goods, raw and prepared vegetables, and the juices from a hundred different fruits.

We all stood and ate. We all shared with each other our fondest memories of meals in the past and our fondest thoughts of meals in the future. Each bite was a joy to the senses. Each bite was like the first we had ever taken. Each bite seemed to last forever. We ate forever, but never got full. We enjoyed just being with each other, and sharing God’s abundance with friends that knew us so well.

Then at some point it seemed that the time of eating and sharing had ended and that it was time for us to leave. Julie and I gathered our things together and accompanied by a multitude of fairies walked back to the wall of trees that surrounded the meadow. The trees parted and showed us a path. We bid our new friends goodbye, sharing our heart felt hope for the other’s future and well being.

Julie and I left the fairy glen and walked for several hours before we spoke. “Was that a dream?” Julie asked me.

“I thought so. I remember falling asleep, but I don’t remember waking up. Maybe we’re still asleep.”

We made it all the way back to town in time for dinner, but neither of us was hungry. I still don’t remember waking up, but if I find this in my journal tomorrow then I’ll know that none of it was a dream.

So I’m sitting here, it’s almost 11 at night, and I’m still not hungry, I’m still feeling happy. And I still have this stupid smile on my face. I’m reminded about what Master said this morning, “You’re going to learn one of life’s lessons today.”

What did I learn today?

I need to learn how to read maps better.

I should expect the unexpected.

I’m not very big, or important, in the big scheme of things.

I don’t understand things as well as I might like to think I do.

The passing of time is relative.

Sure, I learned all those things, but I think the lesson that Master was talking about doesn’t have anything to do with these things. I think that today I experience God’s presence. Just being in God’s presence – dancing and lying and talking and eating – I felt the love of God. Now I know, at least a little bit, what it will be like when I am in heaven. Maybe I experienced what life can be like here if I’m willing to love and be loved in the way God loves me. I don’t know if I will ever be able to love like that, not judging, not thinking about myself, and not expecting something out of a relationship.

But I have had a taste of what it could be like, will be like. I don’t have to live in fear – I am loved.

The other funny thing about today is that I feel much closer to Julie than I did before. I feel connected to her. I understand her better. I care about her. I hope she feels the same way about me. I’ll have to ask her about it tomorrow.

Thank you God for a wonderful, awesome day.