(This vision occurred in early 2002. My mindset has changed since then. However, I still remember how I was then, and will write this from that point of view. It’s dominating my thoughts again, and I write it down to contain it.)
Classes were over early for the day. Don’t go to work until late tonight. Time for study. Home was too hectic with all the drama, so I went to a church friend’s coffee shop. I knew the morning rush was done, and the afternoon rush was still two hours off.
Two hours of uninterrupted study. That’s worth the price of a medium mocha.
The drive from the university to the strip mall parking lot was uneventful. Traffic was as expected, congestion was as expected, the lot was as expected. There was nothing to indicate today was going to be any different from all the other days I have hidden in the coffee shop to study.
I pulled into an open spot, facing west. I grumbled a bit because my seat would be in the sun while I was inside. But I would only be in there for two hours, and it really wasn’t worth the trouble to drive around looking for an east facing or north facing parking spot. Ah well, I gathered my gear, and checked my phone for any missed calls.
The sun came out from behind the slow moving clouds. A rain storm had gone by over night, leaving a trail of low clouds to shadow us with. The yellow tinged light quickly warmed up my car. I cracked the window for air flow, while deleting yet another series of text messages from classmates that thought begging me for my notes was a form of flattery.
I stopped in mid-chuckle. The light had changed suddenly. Gone was the yellow tint of Sol. The light that shone on me was of so white, my eyes mistook it for blue until they adjusted. The birds that had been playing tag in the parking lot trees had suddenly gone quiet. Even the breeze had stopped. Everything was still, and flooding in a white light that was growing in intensity.
My peripheral vision told me the nature of the sun had changed, but I was afraid to look. I wasn’t supposed to be having visions anymore. I had repented of my sorcery and had rebuked the lying spirits and demons. I had surrendered to God, with faith in Jesus Christ. The church had prayed over me, laid hands on me, and removed me from the demonic high place my ego had wanted. Right?
I looked around the parking lot. All the other people that I had seen after parking were gone. While the coffee shop was likely empty, there were many other stores that were popular at this time. Statistically, I should see at least 10 other people in the lot, coming or going to their cars.
A familiar taste swirled in my mouth. I was indeed, having another vision. A thought burst into my mind. Earlier, an eldress of the church had asked our pastor, if God would bestow upon me the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as a way of preventing the demons of my youth from repossessing me. Since, it was clear I would always have one foot in the supernatural for the rest of my life, the Holy Spirit would find me a willing vessel.
“That is not up to us to determine, Madam. Only God Himself can make that decision. And if He does, rest assured, Keri would ever be changed.”
Nah. It can’t be. That I am doubting means there’s no way, right? Just last night, I was chastised for not being submissive enough. Where an Elder had disagreed with Strong’s Concordance, I chose the reference book’s definition over the misogynist view of the Elder. When I spoke up in inquiry, I was reminded again, how quick I was to listen to demonic feminism. But another Elder spoke up on my behalf. “Keri isn’t like most women in the Church. It may be, she will have a different inner light to shine than what we are used to. The Holy Spirit may come over her, yet!” So… maybe…
I rebuke lying spirits and shadowy demons loudly in the name of Jesus Christ. Taking my security by faith, I picked up my gear and exited the car. The white light was now of such intensity, everything else in the parking lot was glowing. I was still, the only human out here. Now facing south, with the noon sun high overhead, fearfully, I look up into the backlit clouds.
All seems normal, just unnaturally white. I discount the color shift as the effect of thin clouds filtering the sunlight, when a great slash of white light crosses the sky from south to north. I feel a rumbling deep in my bones as the sky begins to part along that vertical line. The clouds on either side of the slash form two giant hands. The hands grip the sky and slowly push it apart. I watch the post-rain clouds turn over on each other, rolled up into the east and west like scrolls.
The revealed sky is considerably different from the normal Southern California sky I’m used to. For one thing, the air is clear. Perfectly clear. The blue that is revealed is of a hue I’ve only seen in National Geographic pictures from lands far beyond the drudge of masses of “civilized” humanity. The revealed clouds are different also. Small minute wisps assemble in the clearing. But they are not obscuring the white sunlight. More and more come into the clearing, until the whole of the sky is covered by them, yet still, no filtering of light.
Then I hear the singing. I look around the parking lot, wondering where the singers are, or from which vehicle is the music being played that loudly. There are no accompanying instruments, just the multitude of voices singing in a language I have never heard. A chill runs through me, as I realize the songs are coming from above me. I rub my eyes and look upward again.
What I had thought were twists of wispy clouds, were humanoid forms. I didn’t have to ask what they were, I knew. Angels. I look to the extreme west and east of the sky. There the normal sky was still rolled up, held back by the hand shaped clouds. As I pan from east to west, I note the multitudes of angels. Most were singing, facing the sun. Some were eyeing me, with swords in hand. My sweeping glance did look at the sun, but I was too busy being afraid of standing before the assembled angels to notice the sun. At first.
I looked back at the sun, and found myself staring directly into it without pain nor glare. I looked down at my hands, and found no after effect imprinted on my retina. I looked directly into the sun, and was as comfortable as looking at a sheet of plain paper.
The angels were still singing. They were swaying slightly now, in song. As they moved, I realized some of them were behind the sun. Wait. Trick of light. Clouds can’t be behind the sun.
No. These aren’t clouds, these are angels, worshipping with song. And that’s not the sun. The sun is a spherical object. That’s not a sphere. It’s seated on something. Something bright and golden. I missed it at first because the light was so bright and it was reflecting off the golden surface. Willfully ignoring the source of light, I stare at the golden surface and realize it is a throne.
I’m seizing. I have to be. This can’t be happening. I’ve fallen and hit my head and probably robbed blind by now. Right?
“Kerian.” The voice was soft and deep and strong and smooth and intense and almost imperceptible except I heard it not just with my ears but with every fiber of my being. I started crying at once. The voice came from the light seated on the throne. “Kerian. Look upon Me. Do not be afraid. This I ask of you, look upon Me.”
I shook my head, not in refusal, but in fear. Somehow I managed to throw my gaze onto the asphalt at my feet. The logical portion of my mind had already added up together all the scattered ones and zeros that I had seen thus far. It told me what should logically be seated on the Throne of Light, in the midst of the Heavens, receiving the songs of worship and praise from the multitude of angels that were layered in uncountable numbers.
I shouldn’t be here. I’m tainted. I struggle with a demonic bloodline. Spirits come to me and take me. I’m unclean, of Lilith’s sin because I divorced my husband and refused his rule over me. I’m an unworthy bastard of mixed blood. What the hell am I doing in the presence of…
I couldn’t finish the thought. I couldn’t acknowledge where I was. “Kerian.” The voice whispered in my bones, feeling like it spoke with the roar of a raging wind but with the softness of a forgotten breeze. “Kerian. Look upon Me. If you were not to see, you would not see. Look upon Me.”
The first time was a request. This was a command, and I was unable to defy it. I looked up. Past the angels that had lowered closer to me. Past the flaming swords and the swords of light. Past the golden throne that was planted firmly in the heavens. To the light that was in the form of a man. A Man clothed with the light of the sun. With the sun at His feet, and the stars as jewels of His crown. He held a hand out to me. And in the palm of that hand, was a wound that had ceased bleeding, but was still open. “Kerian. Take what I have for you.”
I couldn’t feel my body. I was completely numb. I knew what I still held in my hands. I knew I was still standing. But it was a distant knowledge. I started to reach up with my own empty hand. I knew that all I had to do was accept, and the distance between me and the opened heavens would be as nothing. Just reach up and…
No. I’m tainted. Besides, who would believe me? The Church tells me that my salvation is at risk. I have not repented enough. I have not prayed enough. I have not served enough. If God were to split open the heavens, it would not be to pour His mercy and grace upon me. It would be to complete my damnation. If I was truly worthy, then the dreams and false visions that still plagued me would have ended. The Elders would have pronounced me clean like the others. There would be no need for the purges and the purifications.
I’m looking at Jesus Christ seated on His throne, with His hand stretched out to me, and I know I am unable to accept what He has for me. Because I am unclean. It would destroy me. I’m sure of it. It’s what I’ve been taught. No, my only hope is to continue working out my salvation with fear and trembling, so that maybe, one day, I’ll be worthy of His gift.
I withdraw my hand. I did not realize I had started to lift it. Silently, I look upon His standing Glory. And cry. Streams of tears flow down my face and fling themselves to the dirty earth below. I look down, feeling His condemnation for my silent refusal. Or so I thought. It felt like love. Like I was being wrapped in a multitude of unseen hugs. Like Someone saw the pain in my heart, and loved me anyway. And poured Himself out for me, anyway. Even though I couldn’t accept it, I was loved.
It was too much. Some of the armed angels looked at me with what appeared to be contempt. I deserved it. Unclean filthy demonic woman! Wordlessly, I walked across the parking lot, with Him still standing before the throne, still holding His hand out to me. I walked to the coffee shop, listened to the choirs still singing behind me, and entered the shop.
When I passed through the door, there was a great force of wind that accompanied me. It pushed me completely into the store and blew items off the tables nearby. It continued blowing, all the way over the back counter where my friend looked up in surprise. “Keri! What…”
She raced around the back of the counter. “What’s wrong? Why are you crying?” I was, indeed, still crying. But now, I was laughing. I tried to tell her what I had seen, but could only point at the windows. “There’s nothing out there! Did something happen to you?” I was laughing and crying to the point of wheezing. I looked out the windows, and saw the normal light of day had returned. When I walked in, there was no one else in the parking lot, and now there were dozens of people! Many of them, were standing near where I had been. But all were milling about as if nothing had happened.
I had fallen to my knees, still laughing uncontrollably, still crying at what I had seen, at what I had done. I couldn’t answer her. We were the only two people in the coffee shop, thankfully, so she stood over me, Eldress that she is, and began praying and interceding on my behalf.
Which did not help my burdensome guilt, and I cried even harder. Laughter gave way to wrenches of sobs as it sunk in what I had just done.
I walked away. He stood there, with outstretched hand, and I walked away.
“The light…” I tried to speak.
“What light, Keri?” She pulled me to the couch. After seating me, she went to fetch a glass of water for me.
I took a sip and tried again. “Did you see the light changed outside?”
“Nothing changed outside, Keri. Where were you? I didn’t even see you walk up!” I looked up at her strangely. Her shop has floor to ceiling windows. I had parked in a lane directly before the shop. She should have seen me from the moment I got out of the car.
Indeed, I pointed to the car. “I was right there. You didn’t see…”
“I saw your car when you pulled up. But when I looked up, you were gone! I thought you went into K-Mart or something.” I just shook my head at her.
“But, I was right there. RIGHT THERE! The entire time that…”
“That, what, Keri? What happened? I want you to tell me, and hold nothing back! Because there was something in the wind that came with you.”
“I’ll tell you. And if you want me to leave, I will.” So, I did. And when I ended the tale, I was in tears again. She told me never to speak of the vision to anyone within the Church. And I never did.
I have told it to a few other people since then. And though, now, I am no longer a Christian, I still hold this vision to be a true one. Sometimes, it haunts me. Sometimes, it scares me. And sometimes, I wonder, what would have become of me if I did take Jesus’ outstretched hand. And then I get angry, because I was so browbeaten and humiliated by the Church, I was unable to accept anyone’s love for many, many years.
Make of that, what you may.