It has come into my mind that you’ve grown frustrated, or confused as to why I have not been in any real sense present in your life. I will not pretend to have an answer sufficient to settle your uneasiness and feeling of loss, but I can perhaps provide a fuller perspective.
I don’t know exactly where I am, or rather where all of me is. Have you ever been two places at once? I don’t suspect so, as I think it is rare among the healthy on earth. Maybe I should start from the beginning…
Late in the fall some twenty years ago I awoke on a typical morning and left for work. I left a wonderful family and a great house, and headed off to a promising job. I don’t remember giving much thought to my life during that short car ride, but I felt somewhere that I had led a good one.
Something happened…blackness…I don’t remember much for a long period of time-like when you know you’re asleep, but you’re not dreaming or thinking, just blackness. This felt like weeks, or months.
As if my eyes were opened, there I was. I was suddenly in a great green field, surrounded by multitudes of rejoicing people. It was a magnificent celebration, and we seemed to be in some beautiful valley on a beautiful sunny day. It was unlike any landscape I’d seen before, unreal in its beauty, yet more real than any solid object.
A wise old man, who seemed one thousand years of age, yet looked not fifty and healthy, stepped out from the crowd and greeted me warmly.
“Welcome! We have been waiting for you for quite some time!”
Thinking I was dreaming I didn’t respond, but just watched and listened.
“Come, walk with me; you have many choices before you.” He said, “You have come here because you are greatly needed…your gifts make you extremely precious in these times, and those to come no doubt. I can assure you it will all make sense eventually, and your every need will be met, you have only to choose whether you are willing, or not.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
“Not many are given this choice you know.” He replied.
“What choice am I given? Am I dreaming? Given the choice to wake or continue dreaming, I would gladly wake, and remain sensible.”
“You are in no way dreaming!” He shouted, not seeming in the least amused, “I took you for smarter than one who thinks this is a dream!”
Not wanting to further offend him, but still unsure of the nature if this experience, I did not attempt to defend my statement.
“Now, your choice?”
“Explain to me what choice you refer to, and I will gladly tell you my thoughts on it.” I replied.
“Your thoughts on it? Your thoughts? This surely will not do! This is not a choice but to muse on, or some hypothetical presented for mental exercise or sport! This is The choice! The choice!”
Still confused I was forced to ask again what now seemed a stupid question.
“Sit down son.” He said, “I can see that you are still fresh in your logic, and your time in the darkness did not cleanse you from your confidence in what you know and have taught yourself to react to. Impressive mind indeed, very impressive.”
Not knowing what kind of statement this was, but choosing to take it as a compliment, I felt proud of whatever it was that my mind had done to slow this process, and necessitate further explanation.
“Your ignorance, at least, is a result of much discipline and so being is quite consistent, and finely tuned, so I shall paint for you a simpler picture, in your undeveloped language.”
I think he sensed my pride after his previous statement, and simply had to let me know that whatever plane he operated on was one higher than mine. At first I grew resistant, but this lasted only a minute, as my curiosity soon overtook my dual senses of dignity and defensiveness, and I listened to what he had to say.
“Here in this realm, let us call it X, for I can only assume by your look that you are comfortable with mathematical terms, there is a great movement occurring in the great war that is ever raging. Though I cannot explain it without giving you references to what you know as ‘time’, try not to focus on the sequential order of these events. Our enemy has hit us with something so twisted, so divisive and confusing, that we petitioned our superiors for an exception. This exception was sought so that we might bring you here, for we knew that to overthrow this plot of our foe, you were our only choice. An exception was granted. Which is what brought you, after a long time in the darkness for purposes of ‘unlearning’, (though now I see perhaps not long enough) out of what we shall call subordinate X, and into X.”
Though not understanding all of this, I moved on to the original question, and repeated it. “Yes, but you have still not told me what this choice is?”
“As with any exception, it is only granted on the condition that you are given the choice of whether or not to accept. You see, without this choice your presence here would be counterproductive and even fatal. By denying you choice, the enemy would have already won, and our need of you to combat his attack would no longer exist. Thus, I have been given the authority to grant you your choice.”
“Yes, yes but again, what is the choice! I cannot see any choice at all, for I am here listening to you speak whether I want to wake up or not!”
“You are incorrect! Even now you are choosing. You do not have to be here, but your willingness brought you, and now your curiosity keeps you here. Do not so underestimate your will. However, I need not go further into this. You are correct to seek an explanation of the choice. You have been pulled, temporarily, from subordinate X to be presented with the situation we are facing in our war, and our need of your gifts. Your choice is, quite simply, whether you want to help us, or return to your family and all that you previously knew (in the simplest sense of the word ‘know’ that is) in subordinate X. “
It suddenly occurred to me that I had a family. Three young children, a beautiful wife, a life that I loved….it suddenly sank in that I was indeed in another place, away from all of that, and that this wasn’t a dream.
“You mean, I must choose whether to stay here and help you, and never return to my family and my life as it was…or to go back, and leave you without whatever of me you are in need of?”
“And what of you, if I choose to go back?”
“I know not. I only know that things were desperate enough for me to be granted an exception. This is evidence enough of the nature of our situation for me to implore you with all my heart, please stay! But in any case, please choose soon, for time, as you know it, though not passing here, is growing short in the place from which you come.”
I felt, for no reason I could identify, an urge more pressing that any I’d felt before to stay with this wise stranger and to fight. I knew almost nothing of what I was needed for, or what would ensue, and yet never has my heart desired anything more than to stay and accomplish it. It was what I was made for! I almost shouted out with all my soul that I’d stay, and fight! But suddenly I saw my family again, my three children, my wife, my friends, all that was depending on me for provision, for love, for support and strength….I could not choose!
“Surely there is another way!”
“There is no other way!”
“But I cannot, and will not, abandon my family and my life for this! Yet I cannot and will not run from this place, where I know deep down I was made to serve and fight! No, there is another way, and I choose it!”
“But I tell you, there is not!”
“You? You who tell me all that is unbelievable, all that is profound, you who tell me that you yourself sought and were granted and ‘exception’, now say that there is no way?!?! I don’t believe it! There is another way, and I choose it!”
Suddenly another voice spoke, and thundered with all the urgency and authority in the universe…
I have been here in X since that one word was spoken. Yet somehow, in some way I know I am also somewhere else. I am two persons, not just one split in half, but two, somehow the same, but entirely different. Neither complete, both lacking something, but each existing where each is needed. I cannot tell you what this means, yet I know, somehow, that this was the right choice. I am here, fulfilling my destiny…yet I know, somehow I am there.
I am sorry you do not see me nor hear me as I once was. But I implore you, do not give up! I do hear you! I do see you! And what you see of me, whatever may be lacking, is me, and yet, not all of me. I am here….and I am there.