There was a moment of intense and quiet stillness. After the impact there was a terrible moment of pain, but it was gone now like I was torched with fire and then doused quickly with water. My limbs felt light, as if I was floating in a large pool, but instead of water I was surrounded by a gray, quiet fog. It wasn't wet or cold, but kind of warm and comforting, humid almost, and it covered me from all sides like I was stuck in this glove or quilt. I hovered there for a while, spread-eagle, feather pillowed, then drifted to the ground. There was grass under my feet.

The sky around me was a soft bluish-purple color, gray in places, as if it was waiting for the sun to rise. I guess I'm in what a person would call a moor: an empty, flat plain with a light at the very end. I was standing in the darkness, a shadow of something that didn't have any form but stretched across the expanse, separating me from the light. It wasn't a scary darkness-in fact, I kind of liked it. It helped me to hide. I saw the light-the light that could be the sun, but somehow seemed different than that-and it made me want to hide all the more. Yet at the same time it sparked within me the weirdest feeling. The light made me... I don't know. Yearn for it. To shout out, to sing, to do something, anything to let it know I was here. As stupid as that sounds, it was like that light was calling my name, and the sound was beautiful as it was ... horrible. Frightening.

The feelings warred within me-I didn't want it to see me. God, I would die if it did. But again, the voice within me, like I was losing my mind... Look at me! Do you see me?

The voice was quiet now, but it was getting louder.

The light wasn't pronounced; just a white glow on the horizon. Though I knew that if I walked toward it, it would get brighter. I found out what the trouble was-I was afraid of it. Deathly afraid. But I soon found I was afraid of the darkness, too. Again, there was that warring within me, as if there were two minds inside me that fought for control. See me! No! See me, please see me! "Help me, God," I whispered. My voice sounded funny to my ears-dull, as if it wasn't as real as everything else. The light flickered on the horizon-whether it was in response to anything, I didn't yet know. But it started getting brighter.

I didn't really realize yet what had happened to me. I could finally feel the ground under my feet now-the grass was cool but the ground rock-solid. But I was in a car a moment ago, my mind wondered. Someone had pulled out in front of me, a green Mazda two-door... Oh, God. And then I was here. In this gray emptiness of a world, waiting for the sun to rise.

Somehow I wasn't sad. I don't know why, but suddenly all my thoughts were focused on that light. That's hard to think about and realize, sitting here in the real world, the one-mindedness of it. But everything inside of me was focused on that horizon. A terrible and wonderful hope bloomed-it was fluttering in my chest like a bird in a cage, and it took all of my strength not to start crying with the fear and doubt of it. No, it couldn't be. It couldn't be. This can't be real. They said you couldn't be real. A part of me was appalled at my doubt, afraid that it would scare away the reality. That by doubting the real I would forfeit it. "Too bad. You doubted. You really didn't believe." I was so afraid that the light would disappear, be sucked up under the horizon, and somehow it would be all my fault. Was it enough that I really hoped it was real, and did not believe it?

I suddenly realized it. I was dead. And this... dare I hope it? Am I worthy? Am I finally going home?

I looked around. There was more color in the grass now, more color in the flowers, even though the sky was still gray. The light started getting brighter, the rays shooting out over the grayness in waves. There was a melody in the air. I longed to see it: would there be stars? There were-they didn't flicker on one by one, but suddenly were there as if they were there the entire time. Shimmering. Was it from hence this song came? This song that seemed to envelop me?

A figure was walking towards me. My eyes rested on him, I knew who he was. I knew the moment I saw him.

Cheese, cheese, such cheese. My friends at school would be laughing at me now. But this was both the most exciting and terrifying thing imaginable. I felt so... exposed, standing there in the gray darkness, waiting for him. Yet I knew that even if I tried to cover myself with my hands or turn away, that light would pierce and find and destroy every method with which I would try and defend myself. Besides, I couldn't make my hands do something like that. As it was, I could barely keep myself standing under my own will.

I was also scared. He was now near enough to see with detail, and I looked up into his face-like, yet so unlike, every image and picture crafted-and he looked back into mine. His voice was calm, yet through it I could detect a quiet affection in his voice. "Child," he says, "why do you not run to me?"

"I'm scared," I said. I couldn't contain my tears; and I did not try to, either. To even attempt hiding anything was beyond my power. "I'm so scared. I'm scared that you wouldn't love me, that you'd push me away." I heaved a great sigh. "Oh, Lord, I was so scared that you weren't real." The tears were streaming down my face now, and I was sobbing so hard I couldn't speak. If only he would soften his gaze, open his arms... But he stood still, looking at me.

I looked up, and I saw kindness in his face. "Why do you doubt, my baby?" He asked me. "I am right in front of you."

"You were right in front of me before, too," I whispered. "You were right with me when I was sad, and when I despaired, and still I didn't believe."

"Oh, but you did," he said; his voice was so tender, so full of love. "You did. You cried out to me then, and I answered, and my touch filled your heart with joy and comfort."

"But I forgot it, Lord. I forgot the feeling, and it collapsed into memory, and I... I doubted the memory. I doubted, even though you were right in front of me... Oh, no." I couldn't believe this was happening. I felt like crawling into the ground, run yammering into the darkness if it would still have me. "I don't deserve this. I don't deserve you."

"I know you don't." He still stood in front of me, motionless. I could see his robe now, shimmering white. He was slowly coming into focus. My heart was quelled at the sight-he was so frightening, the realness of it. I waited for him to sour and turn away, but he did not.

I whispered, "Why? Why don't you hate me?"

He started to laugh. As if he was filled with such joy and patient affection that he had to let it out somehow. "Because I love you." He knelt down now, and the light lessened a little, but it still was so bright I could see every line in his face. He reached out his hands to me. "Run to me, little one. Do not fear, do not despair. All of that is over now."

The darkness pulled at me. My other mind screamed at me. Don't! It's a trick! But all my rationality and my punctuality and all the -isims in the world couldn't compete with this. Words, words, nothing but words, my mind screamed. My heart knew what I ached for, but my mind couldn't handle it.

"It... It doesn't make sense!" I screamed it; not to him, but to myself. I couldn't scream at him if he wasn't real. No, no, he's not real, I'm a fool... I...

No! See me! The other mind sang. I whirled on it. Idiot! Stupid, retarded, narrow-minded little idiot! You're getting sucked in!

"You're chained." He looked at me with a worried expression. This shocked me to silence, both sides of my mind. I looked at my hands and huge, enormous cuffs were fashioned tight around my wrists. Chains as thick as firehoses dragged me down as soon as I saw they were there. I contorted my body to let my hands feel my neck-a cuff was there, the largest of them all, with sharp barbs that pierced my flesh, caused it so I couldn't even open my eyes with the pain. I knew he was still there-I could feel the heat of his light on my face. Yet with the chains and the barbs there was no way I could see his face again.

"I'm lost," I whispered again. "Oh, Lord, help me." The chains loosened their hold a bit, and I was able to open my eyes a little to the glow. I saw the figure open his arms, and I threw myself at him to be stopped by the chains. Those horrible, horrible chains. Chains of my logic, my wariness, my distrust and my conceit. I am, and there is no other besides me. Wishful thinking, all of this. This is all there is.

"No!" I remembered the moments when I was free, as the chains drug me down. I remembered the certainty that I had, that I loved him and that he loved me, and somehow everything was going to be okay. That peace that defied logic, that defied every doubt and defense my mind could conjure up. Mental illness? Why did my heart feel so light, then? Why was I the happiest then, in the depths of my madness, than I was in years of painful sanity? Sanity. Give me madness! Give me ignorance! Give me un-enlightenment! God, I was happiest when I was in your arms!

"I see now, Lord! Set me free!" I couldn't open my eyes, just shout as best I could in my weak, dull voice, and hope that he could hear me over the singing of the stars. "I can't do this alone! The way I am, I can't defeat it! The death that hangs over me, these chains that are dragging me down and making me not believe!" I struggled again at the chains, and again the barbs pierced me and the weight dragged me down. "Oh, God." My tears were pouring down my face now, and I cursed the part of me that kept me still when he beckoned. "I can't do this. I can't do this alone. God! Make me into the person that you want me to be. Make me able to hear you. Make me into a new person that doesn't doubt!" I shouted out the words, higher than I think my voice had ever been lifted before. "I know you can do it! I know you can save me! You moved the mountains! You created worlds! Please make me anew!"

The chains were lifted... No. I broke them. A new power filled me, and it propelled me right into His arms.

Author's Note:

Started out in my journal, but with an unhappier ending. Whoever said that Christianity (or any religion) was taking the easy way out never had an inside look on the horrible fits of doubt and despair one has on the road to the Creator. But it gets better, folks. I promise. And that's why I changed the ending.

May God bless you in your endeavors.



"Oh righteous Father, the world hath not known thee

But I have known thee. Joy. Joy. Joy. Tears of joy."

-Blaise Pascal