Saturday, July 19, 2014

VOICE IN THE LIGHT -- Memoir






VOICE IN THE LIGHT


O Roseo Magnifico   (c) 2017 by N.C.



Text and Images
© Copyright 2017 by Neall Calvert  




"WHAT IS HEAVEN," I asked "all angels singing and harps of gold?"

It was the early 1990s and I was sitting at a table of the platform restaurant at the Hauptbahnhof, the huge main railway station in Bonn, Germany, wanting to relax with coffee and strudel. Electric-powered trains rolled quietly and efficiently and hypnotically in and out on the dozen tracks in front of me. I seemed to go into a kind of trance and then, between the third and fourth set of tracks, a glowing ball of white light almost a metre in diameter had appeared, and something in it had begun to talk to me. The communication came not in words, rather through thoughts . . .

After four weeks of European travel with my German-Canadian girlfriend I felt tired. On the plane coming over to meet up with her, I had had a panic attack and in its denouement my first encounter with a non-physical, helpful spiritual force [described in my poem Cultivate Ordinariness at http://neallcalvert.blogspot.ca/2009/08/three-spiritual-poems.html], and then a level of inner peace I had never thought possible, especially five miles above the Earth. 

In Amsterdam that night, solo after midnight in the wrong part of town, I had been accosted by a pair of dark-skinned would-be thieves. Despite one of them already holding me and the other having his hand in my pocket, they fled after I made direct eye contact. I can only guess that the fearlessness I still experienced upon leaving the airplane was radiating from me and somehow affected their nefarious intentions.

Suzanne and I had been to Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland (Carl Jung’s home and the Jung Institute), Italy, Greece and Austria (Sigmund Freud Museum). After bathing nude in the warm Adriatic off Corfu, while travelling by scooter late in the afternoon we‘d had to hit the ditch when an errant motorist came down a steep, winding hill in our lane. Then it was a 30-kilometre rush via bent moped to the nearest hospital for repairs. My left forearm had been bared to the bone and gravel was embedded deep in my split-open left knee; my friend’s ankle had been burned from the vehicle’s exhaust pipe.

In the Austrian Alps we had meditated for a week with a yoga master. “A small accident and the karma is gone,” was his wisdom for the two bandaged and limping disciples. It corroborated my own intuition—of inexpressible anger towards my mother (a devout Mennonite to whom holidays seemed unnecessary) hidden deep in that arm.

Leaving the meditation retreat, I had spent half an hour in an ornate room in a Viennese castle where Mozart had once played. Now I had three more weeks to spend in Europe and I would be living in too-close quarters, I thought, with my girlfriend and her parents in a high-rise on the edge of Bonn.

At the moment, though, I seemed to be connected with a force that had a lot of answers, so I had asked my question. It sat at the top of a list of questions I mysteriously seemed to have prepared 'just in case such an encounter ever occurred'. My inquiry reflected the often-sombre fundamentalist Christian beliefs with which I had grown up. I had tried to find happiness in these teachings, but since it was a philosophy where joy, enthusiasm and ecstasy are suspect and must wait till one leaves 'this earthly vale of tears' and meets Jesus in the afterlife, there seemed little chance of me reaching my goal.

The speech traits of the Voice in the Light closely resembled those of my father, and at first I had assumed the voice to be his. But I quickly remembered that my father was still in British Columbia and simultaneously realized that this was a force with far greater knowledge. This being had been party to every word, every feeling and every event, large and small, of my life growing up. It knew my physical, emotional and spiritual history in its totality. And in these moments I got a larger perspective—I could see it all too.

I relived the great beautiful mystery of, as a child, resting calmly before sleep arrived and hearing Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” (“A Little Night Music”) broadcasting into the darkened bedroom along with beams of light from the adjoining kitchen. As the theme song of the CBC’s nine-o’clock classical music program, the piece aired every weeknight, and I was especially pleased when the announcer, before beginning his show, let it play past the opening Allegro movement into the flowing Andante section titled “Romance.” To me this was the highest expression of music in existence. My parents listened only to classical music.

I reviewed my tastes in music changing abruptly at the age of ten with the new and exciting realm of rock ‘n’ roll—Elvis Presley in Love Me Tender—and a year later another kind of mystery with the greats of rock ‘n’ roll playing at the Cloverdale Community Centre, two kilometres down the hill from our house. In its cavernous hall I had peeled dozens of the hefty local potatoes so Surrey Brass Band mothers could raise funds for our outings by cooking and selling turkey dinners at the Cloverdale Fall Fair.

Few Surrey (British Columbia, Canada) citizens remember that Roy Orbison, Buddy Knox, Conway Twitty, Ritchie Valens, Johnny Cash, The Cascades and Bob Luman—all the top acts of the mid-1950s—played this room because it had the largest dance floor in the Fraser Valley. We neighbourhood kids pooled our money to buy one ticket; one of the older guys used it to enter, then he opened the fire-escape door to let the rest of us in.

There was darkness outside, but inside, hundreds of teenagers (all much older than my eleven years) moving to the beat in raucous Saturday-night sock hops. It was a different, and much larger, world than the one I wanted to escape from on The Hilltop, where for reasons unknown the family had stopped singing together a few years before, and when I tuned in to popular music on the radio or played records my reclusive, book-loving father would bristle: “Are you listening to that crap again?”

Through this movie now playing in my mind I experienced summer nights when our group of neighbourhood kids prepared to sleep in our back bush, in the cabin my father had built for us. After dark we crept out of the woods using flashlights, tiptoed silently through our own yard to the street and walked three kilometres to Hillcrest Drive-In Theatre on the (former) Trans-Canada Highway, where we lay in the tall dried grass at the back and caught the end of the Saturday Night Triple Bill.

I relived the rich but rare moments of family togetherness when there was no other place I wanted to be; the puzzling but satisfying first solitary hours as a twelve-year-old, hitch-hiking 15 kilometres to the town of White Rock and standing on the beach, gazing at the ocean; and when I lay, reading under my covers till dawn with a flashlight, my father’s Reader’s Digests stored in the boys’ bedroom, repeatedly, until by looking at any cover image I could remember all the articles in an issue. 

I recalled the seemingly endless silences between my stressed-out father and myself, contrasted by his attacks that began with an incident of explosive religious rage when I was four in which I was struck so hard that my soul and body separated—a hundred Thou Shalt Nots now buried to the bone—and then bullying and criticism that continued until I was as tall as he was (thankfully, with fresh cow’s milk every day, at age fourteen) . . . 

. . . There was terror in the whole family from never knowing when, and for what unwritten transgression, the next raging outburst would come; then in early adolescence longing for my mother to introduce me into manhood; at twelve starting to shoplift, at thirteen to smoke cigarettes, at fourteen to drink beer and hard liquor, and at sixteen after initiation into driving to race at speeds over 160 kilometres per hour Dad’s powerful ‘56 Meteor station wagon (292-cubic-inch V-8 engine, four-barrel carburetor and a ‘three-on-the-tree’ gearshift) on rural and not-so-rural Surrey streets, day or night; spending my high-school graduation night—that second unsatisfying rite of passage in western society after achieving a driver’s license—drinking and racing full-bore, tires screaming, a fellow student around twisting Stanley Park Drive in Vancouver . . .

. . . There was the near-death experience of barely missing another car at 130 kph in our tiny two-seater Austin-Healey Sprite when my pal, for unmentioned reasons of his own, one night began running, one after another, the stop signs that appeared every mile at intersections on 168th Street; the two-year college diploma earned at twenty and the ensuing good fortune of being hired for a position in Eastern Canada, 4,500 kilometres away—the answer to my first self-created prayer: the one I had intoned on my fourteenth birthday asking Jesus to get me far away from that concentration camp and my 'holocaust on 184th Street' . . .

On and on the stories came. The Voice in the Light, free from judgment about any of them, then stopped showing me images and began communicating in sentences again. 

"As you let go of the pain of your growing up," it thought into my mind, "your life will improve and you won't be so tired or suffer so much stress being close with unfamiliar people."  

At that moment I realized I had missed out on a basic human relationship—that of being fathered: nurtured, instructed and guided by older male presence. However, I now seemed to have just the kind of attention, guidance and caring I longed for, some of the fatherly wisdom for which my whole being thirsted. Then I asked the question that begins this piece of writing. 

"You can see angels," came the reply. "You haven't forgotten how, while many others have. You are a seer . . ." 

And Heaven? 

"Heaven is all around you, wherever you are . . ."

I emerged from Bonn's Hauptbahnhof energized and radiant, feeling stronger than in months; all tiredness had vanished . . . 

 [ Twelve years after this European trip and three years after my father's passing, one evening as I sat quietly in my kitchen balancing my chequebook, another voice began whispering in my mind. "I'm sorry," it silently said. Then again, "I'm sorry . . . I'm sorry . . ." This time it was the voice of my physical father, and the nourishing message, repeated for perhaps twenty minutes as my tears fell, began to re-establish a communication that had been lost for decades. Much later, during a channelling session I attended with Sananda/Jesus, I was told that it had taken my father three years out of his body to do his emotional healing. ]

Four days after my visit to the station restaurant where the Voice in the Light had communicated with me, and drawn my that experience, I wanted to stop by the Hauptbahnhof again. This time Suzanne was with me, and as we approached the vast structure, tears began flowing down my face. Asked what was happening, I couldn't find words to describe the experience. The tears streamed so freely and for so long that she began moving away from me, seeming to wonder if I hadn't lost my senses along with my ability to speak. . . . 

Finally I was ready to comprehend the unfamiliar new feeling—it was joy! At age forty-five I was having my first, almost unfathomable, experience of adult joy. I was relaxing on a long European vacation with quality companionship, happy to be practising my German—spoken exclusively till I was four years old—in Germany; happy to at last experience the presence of a caring Father . . . happy today and still on this Earth. . . . 

French philosopher and priest Teilhard de Chardin wrote: "Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God."





 ~ J ~ O ~ Y ~




Thinking of Home
(c) 2017 by Neall Calvert


 
 



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