Sunday, May 21, 2006


It`s only at night, when shadows come alive.

Barbara worked at "All-nite Diner", and the thought of walking home always gave pause. Jamesford was an old town, sustaining itself by its proximity to the interstate. Barbara had grown up here, the fourth generation of Irish stock; like most girls growing up in small towns, she had had her dreams.

Senior year of high school, her English teacher had encouraged her writing. Mrs. Abrams praised her bright mind, her imagination. In twelve years of school she had been very lonely, had only the friends that presented themselves at night, that seemed to materialize next to her bed.

At first, she would close her eyes and cry out to her mother, who would rush in to comfort her. "Bobbie, it`s ok, only a dream" her mother would say, holding her in her arms. As Barbara grew older and her mother responded to her angrily, more dismissively, the nightly visits becoming tiresome, Barbara first felt the terror of loneliness.

She prayed to God to spare her these dreams, yet even in the midst of her supplications she felt their reality. The two figures stood before her each night, unspeaking. One of the figures was a child, perhaps four or five. Very silent, her face blank, a slight downturn to the lips. She seemed within herself, by herslf, lonely.

The other figure was ephemeral in its blackness. It seemed a man, tall, dressed in black, a hat pulled down concealing his eyes. It seemed not real next to the child, its figure vacillating between distinct and something else. Something that reminded her of a Hologram, like Princess Leiah in "Star Wars", something from the past.

After many, many visits there came a time when Barbara became bolder. The figures must be here for some reason! She must find out what was their meaning, why they appeared to her each night.

That evening, the two figures appeared as usual, standing to the right of the bed. Instead of lying there passively, Barbara abruptly pulled herself up and sat on the side of the bed closest to them. "Who are you? Why are you here?" she asked.

The dark man turned his body to her and raised his head slightly, enough that she glimpsed his face. His eyes were blue and kindly and the smile on his lips allowed her heart to slow.

"We are here because you summoned us, Barbara. Please don`t be afraid."

"But who are you, how did I ask for you?"

"We are always here. We are always everywhere, at everyone`s side. Waiting to be beckoned, to be seen. Most people, late at night, have seen us. But most people are not as open to us as you, Barbara. For most people, we are seen only for a split second, when they awaken in the middle of the night, perhaps from a dream. As they open their eyes, we appear; they see us and startle. Most of them dismiss us and turn us into shadows, a dress laying on a chair, a coat hanging in a dark closet. People have that power. Others are frightened and turn on their bedside lamps in order to drive away the shadows, drive away their fear of us. But we are always there."

"And there are the special people, like you, Barbara. Those who open their eyes at night but also open their minds. Who lie awake and wait for us, looking in the shadows. And to them do we appear."

Barbara was nervous, wary. "But who are you? What do you want of me?"

The tall man looked kindly into Barbara`s eyes. "I am He who is. Nothing more. I am here to protect you. To give you solace. Gabrielle here, is my gift to you. She will be with you always. Remember her."

"Are you Jesus?"

"I am the Son of Man."

"I`m so confused. What do you want of me?"


"Faith is so hard. Life is so hard. I have no friends, no money, no love. How can I have Faith in You or anything?"

"If you have Faith, then you will have all that you need. Rest assured."

Barbara felt the tears running down her cheeks. Faith and love were so hard for her. Her life had given her so little of these things. Yet she was overwhelmed by this meeting. Could Jesus really love her so much? He would appear to her?

"I appear to everyone, in some way, Barbara" said the tall man. "Yet many choose not to see. Faith is not for the faint of heart. It must be freely given to Me."

Barbara realized that the tall man had known what she was thinking! "Oh, God, forgive me! And I have Faith in you."

"Then you will have all that you need." With that, the tall man seemed to fade, as if a hologram. Gabrielle approached her, touched her hand. And Barbara felt a melding, a blending. She felt peaceful and fell asleep.