Last night seemed a menagerie of dreams, but this, smack dab in the middle: Jesus flew in. I kid you not, all of a sudden I'm standing on a cliff's edge and there's something above me in the sky, circling ever closer. And then I see clearly, as if the scales have been removed: its the Christ the Redeemer (O Cristo Redentor) statue with the outstretched arms that stands above Rio de Janeiro. Picture that statue, not vertical as usual, but horizontally flying in, like a little kid plays airplane in his front yard. That's what I saw, honest to, well, O Cristo Redentor.
Jesus just kinda lands beside me, like a hawk might descend to its nest, and he's smiling so big, almost comic. I remember, in this dream sequence, feeling so happy and excited to see him, almost childlike. We sat down on this cliff's edge and Jesus lowers those concrete and soapstone arms to his sides and just looks at me, like he came just to see me, little old me, John.
As best I can remember, here's the dialogue:
Cristo: It's so good, so good to see you, John.
Juan: No, it's so good to see you.
Cristo: (laughs boisterously) I wanted to remind you that you don't have to be afraid. Do you remember, John? It's all love.
Now folks, I get a little shifty when one of those "intimacy" songs cranks up in church. But I must tell you, when Jesus spoke that last line, his words and expression were the definition of intimate, close, proximal, palpable. His love drew tears to the surface like a magnet draws metal filings.
At that exact moment, Jesus' eyes grew bugged and he looked above me.
Cristo: John, duck!
As I turned to look, a huge figure reminiscent of Rubeus Hagrid from Harry Potter, is running the cliff edge and leaps over Jesus and me. Following the Lord's command, I ducked. And the dream slipped away. I did everything I could, kinda like Christopher Reeves in Somewhere in Time, to get back to that cliff's edge, but I could not.
I had been reading earlier in the day about Liz Gilbert's experience with the Divine and the distractions she encountered in prayer. That could've been some of the basis for my dream. Then again, I don't know. I don't care. I'm just glad Jesus flew in. For you see, dear ones, I've heard his words before. He said, and I quote, "Do you remember, John? It's all love."
Years ago, I stepped up over the North Rim of the Grand Canyon after three days of backpacking with a couple of friends. It had been a glorious trip; one of those once-in-a-lifetimers. As I stood and looked back over that holy ground, rain clouds were beginning to move in. I could see them in the distance. After days in the belly of the whale that were nothing but sunshine and grace, days when the storm clouds seemed to have been held at bay, now, now that we were finished, they were released. Folks, I've never heard God speak in an audible voice, never. I'd like to someday, really. But as of now, in my forty-first year, it's never happened. But standing on that cliff edge years ago, I heard a voice in my soul that I then believed was God's and I believe it to this day. Wanna know what he said?
Cristo: John, remember, it's all love.
Those may be words you need to hear today. Then again, you may read and think, "Well, what a sweet story." Either way or something entirely different, I don't care. Such as I have, I give to you. And that's why I shared those stories with you, because, dear ones, that seems to be the message I'm to give: Remember, it's all love. That may sound a little mystical to you. Then again, you may feel that phrase is just universal enough to be dangerous. Again, I don't care. It's my story and I'm sticking to it. And my prayer is that everything I write, from blog posts to novels, has that thread running smack dab through the middle. I believe it's all love. I believe love wins in the end. I believe love will trump all cards, those of this world and beyond. I believe love is the strongest force in this beautifully damned old world and if anything is going to redeem it, then it's going to be via the outstretched concrete and soapstone arms of O Cristo Redentor that I believe became flesh and blood and bicep and elbow and thumb for us, for little old us.
That doesn't mean there won't be wild-eyed Hagrid's leaping over us from time to time. In those cases, I share with you the Lord's other words: Duck!