The Things I See
This morning my dogs and I were walking through the woods in a local park. Ahead on the trail I saw a woman in a flowery blue dress with her white hair pulled back. She was walking towards us. An angel whispered in my ear that she was seventy-six years old. I momentarily looked away to check on my dogs. When I looked up again there was no woman. All I saw was a young girl in a pale blue shirt. The angel told me that she was the same person, but she was six years old.
Some twenty-five to thirty years ago I was on the C line trolley in Boston heading home after another day’s work. Opposite me was a man in a suit. The angel told me he was in his middle sixties. I looked away for a couple of seconds. When I turned back the man was gone. In his place stood a young man. The angel said he was the same man in his early twenties.
There are also people who have seen me in places where I have not been. People have told me they saw me walking through downtown Boston when I was on the other side of town or in the suburbs. During the time I lived in New Mexico it was not at all unusual to be asked if I’d just been in Los Angeles. Someone would say they had just seen me there when I had been in Santa Fe the whole time. I thought. For all I know, I may have been unconsciously bilocating.
Those are just some examples of how I see people and they see me. It isn’t at all unusual for me to see what cities and towns looked like before there were roads or buildings or even Native settlements. It is how my life has always been.
I discussed the sighting of the man on the trolley with the Franciscan priest who was then my spiritual director. Father D, as I’ll call him, was widely considered a good and holy man. He was a quiet man with a superb sense of humor. His Franciscan brothers loved him. He was also well-loved around the city and within spiritual direction circles.
Upon hearing about the man on the trolley Father D told me it didn’t happen. I expected that response. He did not believe I saw God or angels or spirits of any kind. It was never precisely said, but I often wondered if he thought I suffered from some sort of hysteria or delusions. At the time I had a managerial position in a corporate finance department. A finance manager who suffers from delusions is one who thinks the company has more in the bank than it does. That was not a problem I ever faced.
While some people might find him annoying and drop him, I kept Father D as my spiritual director because he was skeptical about the spirits in my spirited spiritual life. The things I saw and the voices I heard did not match anything in any of his theology or psychology textbooks. The experiences I’d had with my maternal grandmother and other deeply spiritual people were not in the book, either. Our experiences are more along the lines of books written by mystics.
Father D’s refutations and frustrations kept me coming back. I knew he would tell me that what I saw was impossible. The moment I walked out the door I washed all of his nonsense out of my mind.
It is good for someone with the sixth sense, someone who is a mystic or psychic or whatever we are called, to be challenged. Reading the works of mystics from the last two thousand years and earlier has helped shape me. It shapes my ability to verify to myself that what I see is real. Knowing that I am among many others reassures me.
Some things I know are real. I know it’s real on the days when I make a strong cup of Irish breakfast tea after having my coffee. The tea does something that makes me feel happy and warm. If I can’t be in the Irish isles with the saints and the sprites, I can at least have a momentary taste. The tea brings back memories of things I should not see.
Things that transpired tens of thousands of years ago. Or things I see happening today or things that have yet to occur. Things that I could not possibly know about because I am in America. Because in this life I have not been to any of the Celtic lands. Yet. One can always hope.
The phrase “put yourself in another person’s shoes” has a very real meaning. At any time I can be shown what is taking place somewhere around the world. It usually takes place when there is some sort of disaster.
I find myself in the place. Sometimes in the present. As often as not in the far distant past or future.
I am shown what has been and what could be. I am allowed to see possibilities. No matter what is taking place in our world, I am shown what our world can become.
It’s up to us.