When I was eighteen years old, close to turning nineteen, I had a dream. Whether I was inside or outside the body I do not know, but I do know I have never experienced a dream like this before or after it. I am unsure if this detail is significant or not, but it happened during perhaps the lowest point in my life, when I was deeply struggling with depression. Perhaps only time will tell. However, it happened when I was living with my father in Medford, NY. Because of my location in the dream, this may be a significant detail, but I am again unsure. Anyways, this was my dream:
I suddenly found myself in the backyard of my childhood home in East Patchogue, NY. Specifically, in a fenced-in pool area. Surprisingly, I was not alone. I could not see the faces, but in my periphery, I saw what looked to be perhaps three other people standing beside me, in a kind of half circle formation. Then, suddenly, I noticed them all look up to the sky. When I turned to see what they were looking at, I saw Christ descending from the sky in our midst. When I looked at Him, I died. This may sound strange, and you may be wondering why I did not say I simply “blacked out” for a few seconds. And I would agree. It is strange, because though that explanation makes more sense, I somehow know that I died. I do not know where this knowledge came from. Perhaps it was given to me from without, without my knowledge. But I know I died. And a few moments later, I was brought back to life as Christ landed gently and gracefully on the ground in a way not too dissimilar to the way one might smell a flower. When I came to my conscious self, I was suddenly pushed face first into the ground by an invisible force. I say “pushed” because it felt like there were legions of invisible angels surrounding me, forcing me to the ground. This was the most terrified I had ever been and remains the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced to this day. It felt as if every cell; every molecule of my body was being controlled by someone else, and I could do nothing about it.
It would be an understatement to say I began to panic. It would be an understatement to say I lost my mind. “He could do anything to me. I could be thrown in hell immediately if He wanted to.” These are the thoughts that raced through my head in these moments [Afterwards the Lord retroactively revealed to me what I had experienced, when He showed me the many instances in the Biblical text where a prophet “falls down” on their face before God, and how the presence of the Lord is said to have a sense of “weightiness” to it. When I read these things after having experience this, I knew immediately what they meant]. Then, suddenly, Christ came over to me, gently touched my head, and allowed me to stand in His presence. I use the word “allowed” not because this word makes the most sense to me, but because, again, it seems as if knowledge was given to me that bypassed my own thought.
When He calmed the tempestuous winds of my fear, we began to talk. He was extremely kind and had a warm and inviting smile. However, there was this sense of transcendence looming over everything. Something deeply mysterious and unknown. A lion lurking behind the lamb. In other words, you knew where you stood.
I do remember saying the words “You don’t look like how we think you look like.” He had a reddish tint to His beard, and I remember being caught off guard by that minor detail for some reason. My memory has faded, so I could not recreate an image of what I had seen even if I wanted to. Though, when I read in the text that Mary Magdalene did not recognize Him after His resurrection, it did make me wonder if Christ could change His physical appearance. The only thing I still remember from our conversation was when He told me that he admired my faith. The compliment immediately brought me to tears, and still does to this day. The current state of my eyes, even as I write this, reminds me of why I still cannot tell this story in person. However, it is certainly the case that this event changed the course of my life. It was because of this dream that I began to study the Scriptures for the first time.
I felt compelled to write this down so that I could remember the story without having to open my mouth to tell it. Perhaps there are others out there who had similar experiences, but do not have someone to talk with them about it. Someone who understands.
If that’s you, let’s chat sometime.