Revelation in text

If an incorporeal, self-existent, all-powerful, supernatural creator of nature exists, how might he reveal himself? Maybe if I saw him with my own eyes I’d believe, some skeptics will say. Saw a spirit? a transcendent mind? Our sometimes unreasonable expectations of sensory input create a barrier.

Barriers plus.001

Walking alone through a cemetery at 2 a.m. was not in her plans for the evening. How she found herself there is a story in itself, but suffice it to say that she had grossly misjudged the young man she had agreed to go out with that night. Now she just wanted to make it home safely, and though this cemetery wasn’t too far from her apartment, she had never been through it in the daytime, let alone at night.

She looked up at a sky that was inky black. No moon, no stars, no light at all. Thank God she had her cell phone at least, she stock-footage-phone-text-message-touchscreenthought. It shines a pretty bright light. But as she drew it out of her pocket she gasped. “No! Ten percent?!” Now she really began to panic. The only way she could hope to find her way out of there was with the light from her phone, but it would be dead within minutes and then she would have no way to call for help if she needed it. But if she called someone first she wouldn’t have any light to keep moving.

As she stood there frozen, weighing her options, a text came through, lighting up enough of the path to enable her to take a few steps. It was from a number she didn’t recognize. “Listen to me and I will get you home,” it said. Huh? Who was this? The only one who even knew where she was obviously didn’t care enough to make sure she got home. No name, just a number. “I know who you are, and I know where you live,” the text continued, proving it by supplying her full name, spelled correctly, and her address, including an accurate description of the slightly rundown, 1960s apartment complex.

She was pretty freaked out by this but had mustered up the courage to respond when the alert sounded again and the message said, “Your battery power is now at 100%. You can turn the flashlight on.” Sure enough, it was. What was going on? She didn’t know what was more frightening – being lost in a cemetery in the dark or having some nameless individual taking over her phone. But there was no time to even think about it because the texts were now coming one after the other, telling her to walk about 15 steps then turn left at the fork, continue until she sees the tombstone for Gardner, angle to the right and walk for a quarter-mile, just beyond the Williamson mausoleum. And as the directions continued she found herself walking swiftly, still fearful and perplexed, but strangely confident that her choice to follow was the right one.

And when the parking lot lights of the local 24-hour convenience store came into view, her confidence was confirmed. She knew where she was now, and that she would be alright.

Feeling curiously safe, even though it was still the middle of the night, she sat down on the grass at the entrance to the cemetery to try and find out who this nameless guide was. “Thank you,” she texted. “Who are you?”

“I am the way,” came the response. Well, that certainly seemed appropriate, she thought. But it hardly satisfied her curiosity. “Okay. But how do you know me, and how did you max my battery?” which, interestingly, was still at 100%.

“I have known you from the foundation of the world,” she read, “and maximum power is my specialty.”

Well, this was paradoxically what she expected as well as what she never would have expected. In the quiet of her solitude and in her emotionally-heightened state, she felt emboldened to respond. “I have heard of you,” she slowly and deliberately typed. “May I see you?”

After a 5-second pause that felt like an eternity, she got her answer. “Have you ever seen a mind? Do your thoughts have shape…depth…dimension? Can you draw a picture of the wind, or gravity, or logic?” As she pondered this, suddenly a light brighter than anything she had ever seen completely enveloped her, forcing her eyes shut and paralyzing her with fear. Then as quickly as it came it was gone, and the alert sounded again. “And any representative manifestation would have either blinded or frightened you.”

As she sat transfixed, staring at the screen, the magnitude of what she was experiencing caught up with her. Oh, my G…, she began to herself, then stopped short. With fingers visibly shaking, she scrolled up to review what had been texted to her. Yes…she thought to herself…now I see. Texting I understand. This revelation was frightening but not immobilizing, perplexing but able to guide. And the words…they revealed much about the one who wrote them, even though they would barely fill a page.

She had begun to wonder if this quite miraculous revelation was now ended when another text startled her out of her pondering. “You know,” it began, and the familiarity made her smile, “there’s more from where that came.” Her smile gave way to a quizzical frown. “Words that fill many pages,” it continued. “They’re ancient, but timeless. It seems like only yesterday I spoke them.” And as the text in question became apparent to her, a final word: ”Thank Me I had a few folks write ‘em down.”

Sudden headlights from a convenience store customer lifted her gaze and when she looked down again at her phone it was dead. Though she tried repeatedly, none of her efforts to restore life succeeded. She sensed a foreboding temptation to write off the last few hours as a dream, but instead determined to hang on to what she knew was reality. Anxious to make it home quickly and recharge her phone, she hoped…and prayed…that the text was still there. The one on her phone, and the one a friend had given her years before.

Rising to her feet, she looked back at the cemetery, then away, and began walking to where there was light…and life.

This post was originally published in June 2014.