Child of God
As a child I had memories of many places, people, things from a different time. I would see all sorts of things in my young head. I didn’t know, at the time, that they were memories of past lives. To me, they were just vivid memories in my head. Some were colorful, some were thrilling, some smelled funny. I thought they were real because I could remember tiny details; like the feel of the water or breeze on my face, the sound of blowing flags, the small of fresh warm bread, or emotions that came with the sound of certain things or people. I spent quite a bit of time inside my head. Teachers and parents around me called me thoughtful and I liked that. Around age 5ish, my small family went to the local church to attend Sunday School. I always enjoyed the stories of the Bible and sometimes the stories reminded me of places or people or food or dust.
One Sunday, one of the stories rang a bell inside of me and the word “Nazareth” was shining brightly before my mind’s eye. It sent chills down my spine and I thought I remembered something very important that happened there. The Sunday School teachers started talking about Nazareth, Jesus and his followers. That’s when the initial memory resonated inside of me, and quickly waves of memories came flooding into my mind. The Sunday School teachers were saying things that just didn’t feel right. I can’t explain that feeling, but it did not feel right. The picture they showed didn’t look like him. I was confused. I told my teacher that what they were saying wasn’t all the truth. The teachers looked down at me and asked how would I know that? I did not have the vocabulary to tell them what was in my mind or heart. I stood innocently looking up, expecting them to listen, expecting them to understand, but they had mad faces. My teacher grabbed my arm, hard, and promptly took me to my parents. They were instructed to never return, because I would cause the other children to be confused. My whole family was banished from the little church. As both of my parents crossed their arms and looked down at me, I had my first lesson in keeping quiet and I wanted to go home.
That night, as I lay in bed, I thought about the memory that was dredged up by the teacher’s words earlier at Sunday School. Nazareth. Nazareth. The word sounded so beautiful. It danced in my mind. Suddenly I was back in time in a place that felt like Nazareth. I looked down at my body and realize I was a small boy a little older than me. He was a street orphan, hiding in the shadows for safety. I relaxed and melted into the memory unfolding in my mind.
Year: Time of Jesus
Age: 7 yrs.
Life path: Street Orphan
I was standing beside a big brown building and my back was against the wall. The sun beat down. I was hungry. I had no money in my worn pockets. Suddenly, I heard a loud clamor of noise. I peeked around the corner of the building to see a tall, striking man walking towards me with a large group of men following him. I was aware of the sound of the streets, the smell of animals and wagons, the mid-day sun, the wind and dust that came around the corner where I hid. I stood mesmerized by the sight of this striking man walking towards me. His appearance was magnetic. He had a flowing robe that was the color of sand. Men scurried to keep up, chattering away and I secretly followed along hidden in the shadows. I had to know who this man was and why people would be with him. I wanted to be with him. I followed them to the edge of town where he met with a big gathering of town people, all sitting under the shade of a huge tree with long out stretched branches, like big arms.
His voice resonated like music on the wind and I leaned forward trying to make out any of his words. I was just barely able to hear a few words, which were “My Children” when I was abruptly grabbed from behind and held up in the air by one foot, by a bad man shouting about a street heathen. I was so afraid as he dangled me in the air, what would he do to me? Behind me I heard that same resonating voice of the striking man and he was instructing the bad man to put me down gently.
He told the bad man I was a “Child of God”.
I was confused because I had no relatives named God, actually, I had no relatives at all. I had no idea who this man named God could be, but if he wanted to claim me as his child and save me from this bad man, I was ok with that. The bad man turned me towards him, we looked eye to eye and his glare shot through me. My eyes squeezed tightly shut. Expecting the worst, I prepared for the impact that I knew would happen any second. But the bad man set me down, and for a moment I stood there like a statue. The kind, striking man spoke to the crowd stating in that wonderful resonating voice “that we were all Children of God in His eyes and that we must love one another. That God wanted all his Children to live in peace and harmony.” I looked at the kind man and his eyes were mesmerizing. I looked at the bad man and his eyes tore through me like a hot iron. I looked at the crowd and felt all the eyes on me.
I stood for a moment feeling all their eyes and I felt very small. Suddenly fear swept through me, so I turned and ran. I ran as fast as my small legs would carry me, past the crowd, up the hill, towards the shadows and when I got to the top of the small hill, I stopped to look back. The kind man had his eyes on me, he had followed my exit up the hill. I stopped, catching my breath, and our eyes met. They were loving patient eyes, and I paused for a short moment to absorb his loving look. I wanted to run back and thank him for saving me. But I was too afraid and ran into the shadows to disappear.
This moment in time has since become burned into my memory, all the tiny details of that brief encounter are crystal clear in my mind, down to the smallest details, even the design on His robes and the stench of the bad man. I was convinced that the Sunday School teachers would never understand and I myself wasn’t even sure what this memory was. I only knew that it was real, very real, and that Nazareth was real, that the kind man was real, and that I loved Him and I would follow him anywhere . . .
My next glimpse in time comes a few weeks after this experience. I was in the shadows listening to people talk. I often did this to learn where food might be found or about happenings in the village. I was crouched in a corner under a small tree, when I heard the men gossiping about the kind man. There was a big, fat man who was talking and he said that the kind man was coming back. That everyone should go to hear him and that this name was Jesus. His name felt so sweet on my tongue as I repeated it over and over. I thought about his return and if he would remember me if he saw me. My mind drift, but suddenly the cafe owner saw me in the shadows and pointed towards me.
I jumped quickly and decided to dash across the street to another shadow. As I turned I left the safety of the protective shadow and entered the street, however I immediately realized my mistake. The driver of the big, heavy wagon never saw me. At the same moment I realized my error, I saw a huge roman wagon wheel heading directly at me. It was so wide with iron on the edge. The first wheel felt like a squish as I was knocked to the ground in the soft dirt and it passed over me. The second wheel was unforgiving and deadly, Bang! it hit my head. I became aware that I had left my body and was rising above my crushed, bleeding scene below in the road. Time passed.
Would anyone come to my assistance? Would anyone care? Would they leave me in the road? I watched the scene play out below me. A man came out from one of the buildings to clear the road. He grabbed my broken leg by one hand and threw my body into a trash heap. My funeral was over. No words. No moment of sadness. Just a clap of his big hands to dust off any trace of ‘me’ left on his hands.
I turned and looked up to see a loving light that was waiting for little me. I felt the love radiating and knew that it was here to get me. It enveloped me in a big hug and I felt so warm and safe. Safe! I was finally safe, finally home. I willingly drifted into the warmth of the golden light . . .
I heard him tell the bad man that I was a “Child of God”. I was confused because I had no relatives named God, actually, I had no relatives at all. I had no idea who this man named God could be, but if he wanted to claim me as his child and save me from this bad man, I was ok with that.
After this last memory, I drifted off to sleep. The next morning I awoke with love and joy in my heart for my friendship, however brief and however distant with Jesus Christ. I have always wondered what the importance of this life really was. This child was orphaned at a young age and struggled, living his life in fear. I assume that his connection with Jesus was the thread that brought him into this life. I know what it feels like to be unwanted, unloved and an outcast. Also, to have the wrong color of skin. To be dying of starvation and absolutely no one cares if you live or die. The feelings of happiness and joy that I experienced when I saw the angel that was there to take me home to heaven brought a love to my empty emotional soul, and I felt like I was worth so much.