Doughnuts, funny conversations, and stomach aches.

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stomach achesWhen my daughter’s friend, Esther, flew home to Taiwan after her visit, we drove her to the airport, stopping for her last American doughnut on the way.

She was flying United Airlines via Chicago to Taiwan, with escort service.  Paying for an escort service means there will be someone to escort her when she changes planes in Chicago, and when she disembarks in Taiwan.  It also means, unbeknownst to us, we are her appointed escorts until she boards the plane.

Meaning, my husband, whose name is on the paperwork, is her escort up until her departure, and at first the United staff wouldn’t let anyone but him through security to wait with her for the ensuing hour and a half.  Eventually they allowed my daughter to accompany them as well, but first I had to make yet one more circle around the airport in the family minivan, what I had been doing for the past 20 minutes or so.

Originally, I expected to drive around for only the short amount of time it took to get Esther on her way and to the security gate.  We hadn’t been informed of the requirement that we provide the escort service up to departure, which would not have been necessary had we simply dropped her off and left her to fend for herself.

The irony of this seemed to escape the airline employee, who couldn’t offer any excuse for our not being instructed of this constraint beforehand.  We would not have awakened our two other children at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning and dragged them to the airport for what was now going to be an hour and a half wait.  We would’ve said our goodbyes the evening before.

Our airport-circling abruptly came to an end.  We headed back to Dunkin’ Donuts, bought another round of doughnuts, coffee for me, juice for the boys, and hunkered down to wait.

Conversation proves to be enlightening in these unscheduled interludes, where time passes like the hours spent awake in the middle of the night, sleep an impossible dream.

Two Boston Crèmes later, my youngest son complained of a stomach ache, something he’d often done while living in China. Having recently spoken about matters of the gastrointestinal system with my mom during the previous weekend’s visit, I knew the right questions to ask.

So I cut right to the chase.

“Do you have regular bowel movements?” I said, leaning over for some privacy.

“What?”  my youngest said at full volume.  I leaned in closer, his older brother following suit, our three heads nearly touching.

“I said, ‘do you have a bowel movement every day?’” I repeated in an exaggerated whisper, hoping he’d copy my quiet tone. His brother began snickering. He’d gone through the same interrogation when my mom was here, and had been equally clueless to what she was talking about.

“What’s that?” came the anticipated reply.  He was giggling now, taking his cue from his brother, who went from sniggering to outright laughing.  So much for being private.

“It is when you go poop. Do you do this every day?” I queried, feeling as if I should have a doctor’s notebook out, pen at the ready.

“Uh, not usually,” he said.

“You don’t go poop every day? How often do you go then?” I pressed.

Clearly, I wasn’t the informed mother I thought I was. I had lost track sometime around the age of three when he insisted on going by himself. He was now eight and possibly constipated for months, even years. What had I been doing as he sat there, all backed up for who knows how long?

“Usually I go when I play Gamecube,” he answered, now being very serious.

“You mean you only go when you play Gamecube? Do you go any other time?” I asked.

“Yes, I think it just happens when I sit still for awhile. It must be that,” he said.

“Oh, well that’s good. That makes sense,” I said.

Armed with this information, I felt confident he wouldn’t require an immediate visit to the doctor for an enema. Even with video game limits, he has enough allowed play time to serve as a sufficient laxative-inducing substitute. However, his stomach aches would need continued surveillance, doughnuts or no doughnuts.

This instructive dialogue now done, we moved on from funny conversations to bigger and better things.  People watching.

I was sure that the janitor that kept sauntering past our table had a walking problem. It appeared that something was attached to his back side and impeding the normal progress of his gait. In other words, he walked like he had a stick up his butt.

My older son insisted that this was the way he chose to walk; he was walking cool.  No, I argued, he has a problem and can’t walk any differently than this due to some impediment. Besides, he was way too old to walk “cool,” even if this was supposed to be an impersonation of cool and not a handicap.

Five minutes later he strolled by with no sign of obstruction.  His backside was absolutely unhindered, all right.

See, he was walking cool, Mom.” he admonished.  “I told you.”

Either that, or he’d had a stomach ache and resolved it with a quick trip to the men’s room. Doughnuts or no doughnuts.

Talking to a spirit.

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 shine on

I was talking to a spirit.

If I believed that, then I was either crazy, gullible, or getting an incredible gift from the other side.

Several years ago at my church, our priest at the time stood at the altar speaking about his desire to know Jesus. The veil, he said, was almost palpable, and he raised his arms to press upon the unseen divide.

So close. We are here, and beyond that veil are those we’ve lost. Yet they’re not lost at all. They are always among us. Christ said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Are they not with us too?

Where is this place? This heavenly kingdom described as the beauty realm*, where the first chapter of our eternity begins. It is described in Revelations as having a sea of glass and “many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand.”

This is where we find our beginning. This is where the glorious splendor of God’s majesty is revealed in its fullness as we stand before the heavenly symphony.

From this place the spirit came to speak.

“He’s really taking his time,” the spiritual counselor said, chuckling. A male, she said, was making his way over very slowly. My insides melted.

The counselor was young, blond, with a sweet smile. She asked if she could hold my hands before she began. Briefly she held them, and I said a silent prayer. I invited Jesus into this unplanned, unchartered meeting. “Amen,” she said, as if she’d read my thoughts.

“Is it your spouse?” she asked. No. “Is it your father?” No. “It’s a child.” Yes.

Feeling skeptical? Believe me when I say I am not only skeptical, I am fearful. How I came to sit in this seat before this woman who claims to talk to the dead is the result of a series of small events that culminated with a resounding “yes.”

She could’ve, I thought later, asked me if it was my grandfather – a safe bet, but she didn’t. My friend, who’d sat down to talk to her earlier in the day, said both her grandfather and mother came through.

I was waiting for one to come.

“It’s your nephew.” Yes. Jonah.

She said he suffered a long illness and died suddenly. Yes. She said she was getting a feeling of being cold and numb all over, with a very bad headache.

She drew a heart over her breast. “I’m getting a heart. I don’t know if he means love; I just keep getting a heart.”

I said nothing. By now my emotions were a wave of raw energy. I was trembling. I didn’t tell her until afterwards that the heart was his gift of life. He received it at the age of four and lived nine more years with this gift.

And it’s what took him from us that April day four years ago. A donated heart has an expected life span of less than ten years.

“You’re stuck.” I nodded.

This made sense. She told me at the beginning of the session that most of what she would share would be to help me move forward. She didn’t predict the future, and she didn’t understand what was conveyed. Sometimes I wouldn’t either. Sometimes it would only be later that I would figure out what something meant.

“He doesn’t want you to be stuck.” What he wants is for everyone to focus on the significance of his life and not on how he’s gone. “Pay it forward,” she said, he wants you to keep paying it forward.

She asked if I had a large family. I told her no. She tapped her left wrist with two fingers from her other hand. It’s not blood. He sees them all as family. Everyone must keep paying it forward by using what they got from his life.

When I told my sister, Jonah’s mother, about this, she reminded me what they are working on. Every year since Jonah died, they celebrate his life by paying it forward with the iRun for Jonah.

Each year, a child in the community who is ill and in need of financial support is chosen to benefit from the fundraising. The next one is only weeks away, held in a state far from mine.

This spiritual counselor doesn’t know my name. I didn’t make an appointment. It was a woman’s conference, and at the last minute as everyone was leaving, I’d decided to sit down. She knew nothing about my family.

The counselor said to tell his mom that when she thinks he’s speaking to her – she tapped her ear – he is. He’s always with her.

She waited a long time, her eyes closed. She shook her head, smiling. She finally spoke. She was getting hair, she kept getting hair. Then, “brown, messy hair.”

I had no idea what this meant.

“Do you wear something in honor of him?” No, I told her, but his mom does, and I made it for her. “He likes that.”

Something about angels and you remembering him, she said. Yes. “He likes that too.”

I wanted to speak, to ask something, anything, but I was unable to.

“He’s in a place of light and love,” she said, finishing.

The next day, my sister texted me. She’d figured out what the brown hair meant!

The young boy who was chosen as this year’s recipient for the iRun for Jonah had brown, messy hair. A lot of it. But he’d lost it all in the previous months from chemotherapy. She sent me before and after photos illustrating the dramatic change.

At that moment, my skepticism fell away.


Shine on, my sweet nephew; we will remember you. And we will pay our love forward.

*For a beautiful description and a journey into the beauty realm, listen to Mike Bickle’s free audio “Beauty Realm of God.”

Truth and love and ghosts.

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Ghost movieWhen you watch people being interviewed or read about their lives, ask yourself this question: Is truth and love their agenda?

Or is their real agenda money? Or power?

Usually, if they’re in the media, they’re “somebody,” according to the masses, and they’re looking to maintain either profit or power, or both.

Rarely does someone come along who is genuinely working to promote truth and love. When you promote what you love – that is, selflessly, sincerely, and with compassion for others – your hope is to share something intangible.

You can’t put a price on it. You can’t manufacture it. It’s not for sale.

Watching certain people bow to the golden calf is like watching them sell their souls. Their hope is in false promises and impermanent rewards.

What’s not believed or seen is, for the golden calf worshippers, something impossible and ridiculous.

In the movie Ghost, a supernatural response to disbelief and disregard occurs when the dark shadows arrive for the sinister Carl. And by then it’s too late.

But who believes in that stuff?

Do you believe in ghosts? If for one moment you’ve considered the possibility there’s such a thing as spirits, then you’ve entertained the notion of an afterlife. If you’ve lost someone close to you, or know someone who has, there’s a chance you’ve heard how the spirit of the dead visited the living.

Don’t think it’s at all realistic? And what’s this got to do with truth and love anyways?

It’s a sign. Something beyond our understanding is occurring. Money, status, and power will be like the dust of our bodies.

When my nephew Jonah passed away, his mom’s long-distance friend had a strange experience. She was struggling to get her preschooler into her car seat, telling her slightly older son to climb into his while she helped his sister.

He persisted in remaining standing outside the minivan door. After repeatedly asking him to get in, all the while distracted with her daughter, her son said, “I can’t.”

They were leaving the field after his ball game, and you can almost hear a mom’s exasperated huff when she’s getting only resistance to her requests.

“I can’t get in my car seat because Jonah is in it.”

The boy’s mom looked and saw nothing. But her son continued to wait for Jonah to move so he could get in his seat.

Time grinds to a stop when the supernatural enters our world. All the extraneous stuff falls away and you’re left with this enormous and immeasurable concept.

What if it’s all true? What if we do go on and exist apart from this physical realm?  What if what I do here and now does matter somehow?

Then we’d better make it a good one.

“When we’re talking about truth and love, you can wield your profession, your craft, in a way that hurts people because you’re so good. And so when someone can present it in a way that’s inviting them into their joy, that’s when the most beautiful things are formed.”  ~Josh Garrels, “The Sea In Between

The Sea In Between – Trailer from Mason Jar Music on Vimeo.

 

Try this de-stress exercise for five minutes.

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All Sons and DaughtersTry this five minute de-stress exercise. You’ll decompress like an overfilled balloon about to explode.

You might not want to stop.

There’s just one small requirement. It works better when you close your eyes.

When you lift your hands up, it works even better. You’ll see.

It doesn’t matter what God you believe in. Or even if you believe in some life-sustaining, indefinable energy source. There are forces around us and within us that we have only begun to comprehend.

Tapping into that powerful life force will change your day.

There’s energy and power in music, and this song holds power. Start the song. Close your eyes. And focus on what you hear.

 

“Wake Up,” All Sons and Daughters.

Don’t let the mean people get you down.

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you are lovedIllegitimi non carborundum: mock Latin for “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”

They’re everywhere. Christians clothed in self-righteousness, masquerading as truth-tellers. Online, they amass like hordes of dust particles beneath the sofa. They like to write snide and hypercritical comments in response to informative, heart-felt, and honest articles.

Imagine this: Unkind comments are Christian responses to an article in an online Christian magazine. The harshest critics can be stuffed with such sanctimonious moxie. They hector and point fingers and condemn with the zeal of Caesar’s Roman soldiers.

Recently an online acquaintance, an author whom I feel a kinship with through her writing and social media, was getting smacked with such comments. This author is brave and sincere and intelligent. And she is a Christian in the deepest, truest sense of the word.

That Jesus character she claims to believe and follow? He tells us to love our neighbor above all else. He would never speak an unkind word. Not even to those who condemned him. She’s like that. A true witness.

There are too many examples of this unkindness by brothers and sisters in the faith.

A hip hop artist is so beleaguered by fellow Christians that a fellow Twitterer and musician is Tweeting a song he wrote in the artist’s defense. Calling Lecrae a member of the Illuminati? Dear God.

A company that sells products designed to remind us “to imitate God by loving others every chance we get – no strings attached” has received numerous attacks by Christians on other blogs. Walk in love’s owner was moved to respond with his own blog post, “End With Jesus.”

(I responded by purchasing a shirt, complete with its little “walk in love. tag.)

mean peopleIt breaks my heart, mean people and their words. I have little to say to those who choose to cause hurt and harm, who shoulder hypocrisy like a yoke of privilege.

Yet we are called to this:

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)

To those who endure the burdens of these shameless persecutors, you are not alone. You are loved and lifted and carried by so many here on planet earth.

For all of you who have felt the pain of heartless words – especially when it’s from people who claim to be believers – I bring you this song, “Bring Your Weary Soul To The Altar” by Sanders Bohlke.

“Bring your weary soul to the altar
Close your eyes and bend your knees
Lay your worries and your burden down.”

 

The image, “Don’t let mean people get you down,” is a derivative of “Sad Brown Cat” by Francis Victoria Gumapac used under CC BY.

What is the world made of?

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God is in the details“If you really want to understand what people think the world is, ask them what they think it’s made of.”

Take a truck. In “Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl: Breathing Characters,” N.D. Wilson asks what a truck is made of. Typically, the answer is steel.

What’s steel made of? Iron from the ground. What’s iron made of? Molecules. What are molecules made of? Atoms, which are in turn made of electrons, protons, and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are made of up quarks and down quarks, whereas electrons are elementary particles (they can’t be broken down).

Whew. So there it is. We got to the bottom of it. That’s what the world is made of. Quarks.

It turns out there are six types of quarks. Up, Down, Charm, Strange, Top, and Bottom. They even have colors and flavors, but don’t ask me to explain any of that. It’s beyond me.

Infographic: The subatomic particles of the Standard Model. Source:LiveScience

The thing is, no one has actually seen a quark. Theoretically, however, scientists are satisfied quarks exist because “they explain too many things too well not to be in there somewhere.”

How’s that for an explanation? It reminds me of faith. The reverse also works. Too many things are left unexplained without a Creator in there somewhere.

The world is spoken, Wilson tells us; it’s “a swirl of story.” Everything around you, from the elaborately mundane to the incomprensible extraordinary, is part of the spoken word. In this spoken story the new question becomes: What character are you playing?

Are you a character that you would choose to be in a book? Or are you an unsavory character that playacts a version of Hamlet’s Claudius? Is God paying any attention to your story? Does your story matter?

“He’s not speaking English,” Wilson tells us, but He’s constantly talking in narratives all around us in every moment of every occurrence. He’s in the details, the monosyllable utterances and the single frame image. He’s in the overarching theme and the underlying intrigue.

What is the world made of? It’s made of this cosmic energy that no one can see, but we know is there. It’s our humble grasp of the secrets contained within “the lofty structure of all there is.” (Einstein)

Quarks. Yeah. Works for me.

“The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as of all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all there is.”    ~Albert Einstein

Thanks to Kenneth Padgett and The Fifth Servant for sharing this video on his blog.

The image, “What is the world made of?,” is a derivative of Planetary Pasture by Nicolas Raymond used under CC BY.

The irrationality of Christmas.

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mystery of the incarnation“I am coming soon.”

How do we begin to comprehend this mystery of the Incarnation? A story so beyond our human ability and propensity to reason. A story filled with a promise holding unimaginable consequences. A story written for each one of us.

Understanding a perfect Creator, born into an imperfect world as a human child, sentenced to death as an innocent man, and risen to set us free. Who can wrap their head around something so enormous?

In Madeleine L’Engle’s The Irrational Season, the third installment of The Crosswicks Journals, she explains her own struggle to understand. It allows us to gaze into her soul, and gives us a vision of what this joyful mystery means.

She points us to our minds and our hearts combined. With the mind in the heart the impossible becomes conceivable, the irrational achieves balance.

“The irrationality of Christmas”

Art is for me the great integrator, and I understand Christianity as I understand art.  I understand Christmas as I understand Bach’s “Sleepers Awake” or “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring;” as I understand Braque’s clowns, Blake’s poetry.  And I understand it when I am able to pray with the mind in the heart… I am joyfully able to affirm the irrationality of Christmas.

At its root is love

…  Christmas evoked in me that response with makes me continue to struggle to understand, with the mind in the heart, the love of God for his creation, a love which expressed itself in the Incarnation.  That tiny, helpless baby whose birth we honor contained the Power behind the universe, helpless, at the mercy of its own creation.

A paradox redeemed

Cribb’d, cabined, and confined within the contours of a human infant.  The infinite defined by the finite?  The Creator of all life thirsty and abandoned?  Why would he do such a thing?  Aren’t there easier and better ways for God to redeem his fallen creatures?

A choice

I live by the impossible… How dull the world would be if we limited ourselves to the possible.

How do you choose to live? Within these parameters of indefinable possibility, where the impossible – by our current standards – illuminates the expanse of untamed and uncharted waters, there’s always a choice.

Dull is not an option for me.

This is the irrational season
when love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
there’d have been no room for the child.
 
“After Annunciation,” by Madeleine L’Engle

“Son Of God” movie clip featuring “O Holy Night” by Jewel.

Born to set thy people free.

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ChristmasAs a child, the days preceding the birth of Christ were filled with anticipation of the white-bearded man in a red suit. Today, it’s almost a relief that I no longer have to feign the arrival of this merry elf-master with a bowlful of jelly in his shirt front.

Nothing against the guy. I just find it convenient that I can wrap all the gifts in any wrapping paper, and I can mark the gift tags from mom and dad, with an occasional “from Santa” for old time’s sake.

For all the hubbub over this jolly gentleman, we never once heard his reindeer prance on our house’s roof, nor did his late Christmas Eve entrances leave a trace of footprint. And when he visits the local mall, why is it he appears a shadow of the St. Nicholas we are hoping for?

What, I wonder, is all the fuss about? We have someone who has promised us something far more relevant than any gift that can be wrapped and stuffed under a Christmas tree. What can a mere suited man with a stump of a pipe held tight in his teeth promise us compared to the promise of freedom?

At the mall where Santa holds court, and his tiny followers wait in line for a chance to learn if they are naughty or nice, where, I wonder, is the line to see Jesus?

The angels bending near the earth, the brightly shining star, the poor shepherds and three kings of Orient, where are they to be found in the Christmas merrymaking?

Good ol’ St. Nick, while he’s an obvious charmer for the tots, has stolen the spotlight. If placed side by side, whose face would be most recognized? How many comprehend that the day of Christmas is a celebration of birth?

“O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,” spare us the “depths of hell,” “Satan’s tyranny,” and give us “victory o’er the grave.” In one song we are reminded of how immense is the promise, how far-reaching are the ramifications.

This Advent season, may you find your rest in the one King, born to reign forever, born to set us free.

Come thou long expected Jesus
Born to set thy people free
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in thee

“Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” by Kings Kaleidoscope

The work, “Jesus Knocking at the Door 14“, is a derivative of its original by Waiting for the Word, and the work “bernanke- santa claus” is a derivative of its original by valeriy osipov, both used under CC BY.

The Manchester Road Race and Patriotism With Captain America

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Captain America

Captain America raises the flag for the National Anthem. He even remembered to remove his mask.

The crowd filled in, and the 15,000 registered participants of the 77th annual Manchester Road Race found warmth in numbers on Main Street as they waited for the start.

The National Anthem began to play and we searched for an American flag at which to stand at attention. It took Captain America, my son in costume, several seconds to realize he was carrying one.

The surrounding crowd cheered as he raised his flag, a GoPro attached to its pole and filming Main Street blanketed with people. They cheered again just prior to the song’s finish, their exuberance at high pitch. (The video below captures the song and the premature cheers.)

Captain America, an icon for what’s loved about America, was continually rooted for, photographed, and offered beer (which he politely refused) throughout the morning and the race.

It was the first time for two of my three kids and I to participate in the Manchester Road Race, although we’d heard all about it’s tradition for zany costumed runners and enthusiastic spectators from my youngest son who’s ran it before.

Nothing, however, could have prepared us for the patriotism and the zeal for a long-standing Thanksgiving Day tradition of running a race. Manchester, they will tell you, knows how to do Thanksgiving.

And they do.

The spectators lined the 4.8 mile course with high-five slaps, shouts of encouragement, and music. There were two groups of bagpipe players and more bands than I could count stationed along the route. Running nearly five miles was, for a supreme novice, never as easy as this.

If we have a choice in the matter, we know how we will do Thanksgiving in the future, and as long as I can run it, I will.

Here’s the moment of confusion preceding the American flag being raised and the National Anthem is sung for Manchester’s 77th Annual Road Race. God bless America!

The Spirit: Like the blowing of a violent wind.

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holy spiritMy first encounter with the Holy Spirit took my breath away, literally. It was an encounter I anticipated with much skepticism. To have it flatten me like a blade of grass was the closest I’ve come to sheer stupefaction.

A close friend had invited me to her church, so I went out of curiosity and a desire to experience something new and perhaps a bit bizarre. I am always up for a little je ne sais quoi.

My initial impression when I saw how many cars were in the parking lot was surprise. Peering through the window in the door to the chapel, I saw the enormous crowd inside. The man standing in front of the altar, a large middle-aged man with a great crucifix hanging about his neck, was speaking to them.

I spied a seat in a pew to the far right and waited there for my friend. The speaker from New Mexico, Dr. Bob Rice, a recent convert to Catholicism, explained what was going to follow, given the multitude of people in attendance and the need to create some semblance of order. Each individual would first approach the altar, then take a place around it on the vast expanse of carpeted podium. Behind each person a man, ranging from high school age to a gentleman with a shock of white hair, would come and stand.

Before this took place, Rice spoke passionately yet humorously, causing the huddle of three women in my pew to burst into fits of giggles. Rice clearly knows how to speak to the human condition, goading us while encouraging us at the same time. I had missed the day prior in which he spent a full day speaking, providing stories of his life as well as the many healings he has witnessed, healings that are as normal and expected for him as a stroll in the garden.

Rice reminded us of the Spirit’s presence within each of us, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

For the first time I participated in singing the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in public worship. It was a moving experience, hearing so many voices echoing the very words I have sung so many times. Afterwards, there were two large tear puddles left on the top of the pew we kneeled behind, one mine and one my friend’s.

Our chief difficulty was that we had only three tissues between the two of us.

Then it was time to begin the procession to the altar, where we would stand in a circle in small groups. It was clear from the direction of the lineup that we would be some of the last people to go, allowing me ample time to observe others and know what to expect.

The first group consisted of women, all of whom promptly fell. By this I mean they literally leaned back and keeled over like the softest pillows were piled behind them and not just a single man who may or may not be able to catch them as they did the Lipton tea plunge.

This must be a particularly gullible group of women, I decided. I noticed my son’s soccer coach was standing with his youngest daughter across the church from me, and I worried that I would look like an idiot and fall over, too.

To my disbelief, grown men were also falling over. Nearly everyone that Rice approached fell over. I watched closely, and there was definitely no pushing going on. He simply placed his fingers below their jaw, barely touching them. “Be healed in the name of Jesus,” he said.

After witnessing my son’s soccer coach falling over, which I had to crane my neck to see, I quickly revised my worries. Now I hoped I wouldn’t look like an idiot and not fall over.

I had been praying that my friend would fully receive the Spirit, not resist it at all, for she had been to several healings and never fell, due to what she believes is her resistance based on fear. I didn’t know what to pray for me, but I was eager to embrace the Spirit in any way it would manifest itself.

As we stepped up to the podium, I said, “Wow, there sure are a lot of angels here.”

Why I felt that, I don’t know, other than I had a sensation of great movement around me in the arches of the ceiling. As we waited our turn, I wondered if the heels of my shoes would allow me to tip over backwards, and I had a strong temptation to inconspicuously test them out.

And then my friend’s daughter fell. My friend said, “Oh, my God” in response, and then Rice stood before her, and she didn’t fall, just as she’d predicted.

I closed my eyes as Rice walked in front of me, forgetting to check if there was indeed someone behind me, and if he looked strong enough to catch me. The first thought I had was, “See, I knew nothing was going to happen,” and then I was overcome with the compulsion to gasp.

I felt a force like the wind. But unlike the energy that moves tree limbs, it was a wind that can’t be felt in a tangible way. Simultaneously, I gasped and fell over. Before I could think a conscious thought, I found myself on the floor.

“I didn’t even bump my head,” was the next thing I did think.

Opening my eyes, I lay there wondering what on earth had just happened to me. I thought of Genesis and God breathing life into Adam and considered that perhaps the energy I sensed contained within these walls had something to do with what had just touched me with only the barest of its strength.

Because I knew that what I had felt was only the tiniest increment of what this energy was capable of.

And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit,’” and in 50 days, at Pentecost, the Spirit would come…

Like the blowing of a violent wind,” the Spirit entered this space and somehow entered me and the other participants. This powerful energy that Christ left behind when he joined God over two thousand years ago, the Spirit of truth, the Counselor, the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, the third person of the Trinity, that dwells in our hearts, fills us, baptizes us, sanctifies us, vindicates us, and empowers us.

“Harry Potter is one boy in a long line of mythical heroes who have reminded the human race that we are so much more than we think we are, so much more powerful than we seem to know. Jesus said that we would someday do even greater works than He; should we not take Him at His word? And should not ‘someday’ be today? It’s time for us to start working miracles, if indeed we have the capacity within us to do so.”
Marianne WilliamsonEveryday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness And Making Miracles