Not before or since. Such clarity was breathtaking. Almost unheard of. The moment will forever be emblazoned into my memory. And while my body trembled with the sight of it all, I felt an odd sense of peace. Peace, and the knowing that one day I'd be compelled to share….publicly.
I was at school working on my Masters from The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. We were in the cafeteria at the Mercy Center in Hillsborough, California, a nunnery converted into an all-girl’s high school and retreat center. The floor was a cold white tile, the walls white, too. Windows graced one side with views of the sparse winter trees that seemed to shiver in the cold. I am sure I shivered along side them.
I sat with seven or eight women at a circular table as we ate our lunch. Nothing fancy, probably soup and a simple sandwich and tea. Maybe Chai. Definitely not Earl Grey.
Someone asked Wendy a question. Seemingly innocuous but as it turned out, anything but. Wendy started to speak but faltered. She looked away and down. We stopped eating, or I did, when I realized she was suffering. That’s when it happened.
As I sat there at my round table with classmates surrounding me and dear Wendy troubled with what she needed to say, I watched as first one face then another, materialized, formed like smoke into two wispy but distinctive shapes. The first moved to Wendy’s forehead, kissing it with delicate precision. The second moved in closer, toward her mouth. Was it kissing her? Was I losing it? How could I be seeing this? Wendy heaved in a big breath, her shoulders rising before she launched into sharing that which pained her. It wasn’t kissing her. It was giving her air, strength to speak her truth.
I didn’t hear her words. I don’t remember anything except that which I saw. That, and the trembling in my bones.
When lunch was over and we were to return to workshops, I found Wendy in the hall. Could I tell her what I saw? Who else could I share it with? Wasn’t she the safest? I decided to take the risk, no, I had no choice. I couldn’t keep it to myself.
“I’m not surprised, Brynne,” she said. “I asked for help, for strength to share, and suddenly I had it. I didn’t know where it came from, but now I do,” she said to me with tears in her eyes, rubbing my trembling shoulders, comforting my deep, exploring eyes. “Do not doubt what you saw. I felt what you saw. It was real.”
Did I think I made it up? Of course. But my doubt in what I saw didn’t last long. It is difficult to deny what your eyes see, what your body senses, even in the face of what the majority says is impossible.
Spirits are real, she says with conviction. Now you know why.