Door #3 : Reconciliation

stained glass

The Woman is with you again, and you feel the warmth of her robes.   Somehow, her light—which you realize is not just around her head but throughout her body—infuses you.  If spirit bodies have cells, yours are changing, enlarging as though the light were feeding them.

 

“I will accompany you now,” The Woman says.

 

The doors are made entirely of stained glass and you become aware that every inch of the glass tells a human story—including yours.  They open, and like prisms direct dancing beads of all colors everywhere.  It is like you are inside of a chandelier.

 

You see your opponent in multi-faceted glory.

 

The most famous story of the Reconciliation Room involves a female former slave and her former master.  The master had abused her in many ways, feeling justified by scriptures about servants obeying their masters, mingled with traditions of tribalism–in this case, descendants of Africans and descendants of the Anglo Saxons.  She and her two sisters had run away from him and she had called him a “horror among men.”  The insult—from a slave –had goaded him on to seek her punishment.  He kept hearing her accusation and kept answering it in his mind not just with words but with lashes or even with a noose.

 

He never saw her on earth again, but at last (after years in the Recycle Room), he finally saw her in this room. He saw that she was divine, a greater being than he w.  He saw the ways she had cared for fellow slaves on the ship from Africa, and how she had protected her sisters at the auction.  She had held their hands and had stood on the block with them, though she was told to move, and had insisted that the three must go together.  A guard was ready to whip her from the block, when the master purchased all three.

 

In the Reconciliation Room, the master approached her slowly, then fell to his knees and wept.  As he touched her feet with his lips, he suddenly felt her whole life’s journey filling his cells just as The Woman’s light had.   He looked up at this black woman whom he had once claimed as his property.  She was regal, and she extended her hand to him.  “Arise,” she said. “We are all a part of one experience.”

The next thought she communicated was not verbal.  She touched his eye lids and his ear lobes, and he heard in a way he had never heard anything:

Mortality was never yours alone, but always shared in a community.  We are part of one another, our experiences completed through another’s life. The cycles of slavery, war, duels, marriages, reunions, funerals—these were our plot points, fully realized only in connection with others.  Here, in this room, you may find your ancestors.  If you touch their hands, you feel your own inheritance–burdens and gifts, talents and temptations.  You see as you are seen.  Touch a former enemy and you feel how closely your lives are bound.  Touch my hand and know that I am your sister.

 

 

You find the Woman moving past you to another room, just beyond a veil.  You see what appears to be her throne, and two other thrones.  You are invited in, though you must leave every unkind edge, every uncharitable thought, every demeaning word behind.  They are too large and solid to pass through the delicate veil.

“Did you see the glory?” she asks.

You nod.

“Come in,” she says as the veil parts for her.

veil

 

Do you accept the invitation?

Yes

No

 

 

 

Door #2

Judgment Room

gardenia

 

You find yourself swathed again in the woman’s robes.  She informs you that she cannot enter the judgment room with you, but that she can stand at the window, and her light will illuminate the court.

 

The first thing you see as you enter is your enemy—that person you are angry at.  You are told that you will be the attorney for the defense—which is good news, of course, because you will surely have an opportunity to tell your side of the story, hopefully without interruption.   As the defense attorney, you can ask yourself the necessary questions which prepare the way for a full explanation of your motives, your words, and even your feelings.  Or so you think.

 

The judge enters. He wears a 19th century parliament wig.  A dimly lit angelic figure  pulls a long trumpet from behind his or her wings.  (The figure is androgynous.)  The angel blows the trumpet.  It is a loud blast and unsettles everything in the room—including you.  You think you might fall and are suddenly unsure of yourself and of how you will begin your defense.

 

Your enemy is called to the stand, and the judge then looks at you.  “Are you prepared to begin the defense?” he says.

 

You squint.

 

Someone (it sounds like The Woman’s voice) says, “You will be defending your opponent.”

Your immediate response—directed at no one—is that the person is indefensible. When you begin a sentence with “This person is. . .” a boy’s choir in Anglican robes with purple collars sings from the rafters (you had not noticed the rafters or the choir until now) “Jerk!”, “Idiot”, “Hopeless”, “Monstrous,” and then begins singing to the melody of “For Unto Us a Child is Born—and His name shall be called-“ but inserts instead the words “Terrible! “Horrible”, “Satanic grunt” “An ugly ignoramus” in glorious harmony.  The unfamiliar mix of epithets and Handel is disconcerting to say the least.

You have a memory of the real lyrics about the Messiah, and you know that these new ones are wrong. You hear The Woman’s whisper, though she seems miles away: “Inasmuch as ye have said it about the least of these. . .”

Again, the room becomes unsteady and you think you will fall. Everything is collapsing around you—including your enemy.  You suddenly see portions of their mortal life, from childhood on, and a terrible pity unfolds in you from the grudge itself.  The grudge seems not to be imploding or shrinking, but growing flatly to reveal scenes you could not have witnessed.  You see moments of your opponent being excluded, bullied, or abandoned.  You see them as a child and you can barely resist embracing them.  You do resist, of course, and find yourself saying, “This person did not intend to injure anyone.”  The grudge twitches and knots, and you remember your own hurt, but you find yourself unable to bring it fully back to your memory.  It has become two-dimensional and brings only an echo of pain, not the pain itself.

 

You are told that you may choose to be the prosecuter as well as the defending attorney if you so desire.  Some do make this choice, and find themselves immediately transported back to the recycle room.

 

As you ponder the being before you, you find that your pity becomes more like compassion, and you want to commiserate about what each of you has suffered. The suffering itself is sacred and bonding. There is nothing patronizing in your feelings for them now.  The moment you say, “You are free to go,” the room goes brighter and the door opens.  The person, merely an image conjured from your own memory and from The Woman’s light, dissolves and you find your words echoed by the boys’ choir and by the judge. Some of the boys sing “The prince of peace!” and others “You’re free to go!” and you see that the open door is not for your opponent but for you.

 

If you choose to go through the door, say, “You’re free to go.”

Click here once you have said those words.

 

Door #1

Door #1

 

angel in clouds

Room 1: Recycle

The woman explains that she cannot enter this room with you, but that you will see well enough. She ushers you in and closes the door. Before you is a gray-ish. Your eyes take a moment to adjust and then you see the words:

You have a right to your anger.

In previous centuries, you would confront another spirit (or something like a spirit)  stuck in the moment which so offended and hurt. Back then, the replay of the argument or circumstance was face to face. Now, however, there is merely a computer and a smart phone on a desk. All of your communication, and all responses, will be done with this equipment. You may choose email, facebook, or text.

Most people choose email, since they have a lot to say, though the “unfriend” option on Facebook is usually employed at some point. You will find that the most offensive sentence of the argument is already written on the computer, and you need merely reply.

It is common for the sentence to read: “You never really loved me.” Sometimes, though, it is a blunt accusation: “You are incompetent. There is no hope for you.” The possibilities are endless. In this case, the sentence is, “You were only using me.” It’s not far from “You never really loved me,” but far enough.

You may write now. In this case, you write, “Then you have no idea who I am. Do you realize how many years I have been working for you?” (The frustrated mother usually details the answer with the number of socks she has mated, the laundry loads she has done—causing her to have lower back pain for the last third of her life—and the poopy diapers she has changed. The academic will generally talk about the years he or she devoted to a vitally important book or paper which was ignored because of—well, because of the other’s emails. The burdened businessman typically writes, “You have no idea what I sacrificed for you.”

A response will type itself in the computer, and the argument will continue. By the fourth repetition, epithets begin appearing on the screen.  You may choose as many of these epithets as you’d like. These will not necessarily represent the past but will certainly provide vindication. Popular choices include the regular obscenities as well as attacks on parentage, race, and education, plus “Neanderthal”, “pompous bag of gas”, “obstructed bowel personified”; “wormy giblet dug up from a thief’s grave” and “diseased monkey’s crap.”

This portion of the re-cycle may last for hours or even months, until you are given one opportunity to say the one thing you sat up at night and practiced saying, or heard yourself repeating while you jogged or drove.  Now you have the chance to  insert that last insult.

Go ahead and say it.

Thank you.

Now the original message appears again, and you start over. By this time, you will have thought up yet one more “final” insult.

A last message will pop up severing the relationship, and you will have the option to repeat the process—with your new verbal ammunition.  The sign—“You Have a Right to your Anger”–reveals that it comes complete with neon lighting, which now flashes in a way that could cause a seizure if you still had your body. You have new options this round. You may include sound effects. As you make your replies, you may include cheering. Should you want to be cheered, your typing will now be accompanied by various voices (all familiar) saying things like, “Zing! Tat was bold! Good for you! No mincing words here!” “You are so courageous to say something that honest!” “Get ‘em”; “We don’t care if it hurts—it has to be said!” and “You are so cool when you’re angry!”

By the time you make your tenth round in the recycle room, you are also given the option of smells. Poopy diapers make their scent known as soon as the word “poop” is typed. The memory of dirty socks now comes in full odor, and neglected laundry spreads the steady smell of mildew.

Some souls have been running this cycle for decades. And they do run, energized by the argument and by the anger. Anger, you know, is a form of energy, and it feeds upon itself.

Usually, souls want to see themselves in a mirror because they realize that they have been running for so many years that surely they are in the best shape of their long, long life. There are no mirrors in the room, though. If you were to see your reflection, it would appear so monstrous and DIABOLICAL (which comes from two Greek words—dia+ballein, meaning “to tear apart”) that it would be terrifying.

Each recycle room is separate from others, for each hurt is unique. Some souls, exhausted rather than energized, beg to choose another door. Many choose to expand their vindication to include more and more arguments going back and forward in mortal time, and sometimes including such debates as whether or not a two-year-old must eat smooshed peas if his mother says so, to whether a person dying of stomach cancer can eat chocolate if they crave it.

As the cycles continue, invisible others may be summoned who not only cheer but begin to break invisible furniture.  You cannot see what is being broken, but you can year screams, metal scraping metal, windows breaking (you hear someone yell “Kristalnaght!”), random explosions.  At first, you feel that you might be a target.  Most souls choose to leave, but you may repeat the cycle as often as you’d like.

Click here if you wish to leave this room.

 

Aime’s Letter

Aime Mbuyi’s story, in his own words
Before I joined the Church, I was in a revolutionary group. We had a camp which was like a boarding school. One of the purposes of this camp was to teach us to abandon the religious system brought by white men, and to return to the religion of our ancestors. At the camp, we lit a bonfire, sang songs, and we prayed to our ancestors. Someone called out to the ancestors and other dead ones and asked them to mingle with us. All of this was initiated by an African Catholic priest who was the leader of the camp. He also changed the way of celebrating Mass. It was no longer a Catholic Mass but a combination of Catholicism and African ancestor worship. We also watched documentaries about Patrice Emery Lumumba, the youth of Soweto and others. This ex-priest was building hate in us.
I had many destructive plans which I developed at the revolutionary camp, but I did not put them into action. The gospel changed my heart before I executed my plans.
My grandparents joined the Church in July 2005 before I came back to live in Kinshasa after spending seven years in Tshikapa, where the revolutionary camp was located. My grandpa told me about the Church just once. He said that it was a good church. It gave the youth opportunities for a good education and helped them become good citizens of the country. He said many things about the Church, but I did not show that I was interested. My mother tried to encourage me to visit the church. The next Sunday, I did. I did not inform anybody at home. I knew where the church was.
I entered. I passed the chapel and found myself in the bishop’s office. I told him that I was new in the church and that I did not know where to go. He showed me a class. Afterwards, I encountered the elders and we made an appointment. I do not remember what was taught that day at church, but I remember my impressions. I was impressed by the attitude of the young men my own age who blessed the sacrament. They were like angels. Most of my friends thought that the Church was not Christian. At first, I did not tell them I had joined it. I was ashamed. My mother encouraged to stop going to the camp meetings. She said, “Aimé, now that you have received the gospel of Jesus-Christ, I think you must stop your meetings and your organization. You have become a disciple of Christ.” Her words touched my heart, and I decided to stop. I found an excuse to escape my friends. This decision helped me be focused in the gospel and ponder in my heart the message I had accepted.
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