One afternoon when I was four years-old, my mother settled me in the overstuffed living room chair.
“Now sit quietly. Think of your toy boat on the water. Or the clock over there. Just let yourself become still.”
I concentrated on the mantel clock with its slow, repetitive sound, as though it said tick-clock, and then clock, and clock, and clock again. The sound made me relax and grow still so that I drifted off across the water to the little boat my Aunt Doris had brought me from Knoxville and how it moved slowly, making ripples on the calm water.
Then I heard the scratchy sounds of the kitten’s claws on the nappy texture of the chair.
I remained quiet, very still, admiring the blue edging at the waterline of the little boat and enjoying the steady tick-clock sounds as clock’s pendulum swung with stubborn repetitiveness back and forth. I felt the kitten’s fur brush my neck as it climbed and settled on my left shoulder. The kitten pressed its nose to my ear.
My mother returned to the room, and I felt her pause beside the chair. I waited.
“Oh, it’s okay to pat Melissa now, if you want to. But do you see how she came when you were very still and opening your mind?”
I nodded, lingering in the vision of my boat as I rubbed Melissa’s head with my fingers.
“That is how we prepare ourselves to experience God.”
“Melissa is the same as God?” I looked from the purring kitten to my mother.
“Well, no. But God’s presence comes when we are quiet and allowing ourselves to be still. You were just now practicing.”
What I Feel When the Presence Comes
Maybe it sounds crazy. Many might call me deluded.
In the stillness, though, I feel this Presence come. Sometimes it is a ripple across my wrists, forearms, the nape of my neck.
I remember a summer evening when I was five and the moon’s silky light spilled across my bed. Something like a little kick jerked within me.
It was not a physical muscle but something in my spirit. I was just lying there with a tingle across my shoulders, arms, and chest. As my heart slowly beat, I was aware of my breathing. I was aware of the everyday world receding and I could sense a broader time. I sensed that this was God’s time, which is special, timeless, eternal.
It is natural to be skeptical when we have so many preconceived notions and perhaps even negative impressions of those for whom God is real. I myself would be right there with you if not for my own personal experience with this entity, this Presence that has stalked the human species since our beginnings here upon this planet, our Earth.
A suggestion I have for anyone who would like to go deeper with this. Find a church of Christian believers. There are many, and I suggest you visit several to find one you feel comfortable with. No church is perfect, but a community of believers can be a powerful help. Many are struggling with the same questions and problems as you. Such a community can guide as you learn to build a personal relationship with God that will literally change you and your entire life.