Thursday, September 8, 2011

God Sendings

The Tub

This "God Sending" was received twelve years ago, and since twelve is a number that represents completion (or so I'm told), it seems timely to share it now. The image above is a wood carving by my friend Claudia Wood Rahm, who created a series she calls Angelic Folk, of which this is one. I think it's a perfect fit with what I was revealed to me. What think you? Here goes:

I’m soaking in a hot bathtub upon the “orders” of my eight-year-old son, Ned, who had insisted a bath would make me feel better. It had been scary for him lately, coming home to a dark house, only to find me lying flat on my back with a virus that had turned my whole world whirly. It had been scary for me too, and also for my husband, who seemed now to realize what it was I did all day (because, for the past few days, I hadn’t).

In college, we used to laugh about having the whirlybeds after drinking and partying all night long. This was exactly like the whirlybeds, minus the party. I remember back to my childhood, when we used to stop at Ginger’s after school where, quite often, we would find her mother sleeping, sprawled out on the living room couch. It never occurred to us that she was passed out, indelibly drunk. Had it been any different for Ned since this debilitation took hold of me?

It’s amazing how little you can do when the whole room is spinning, even with your eyes shut tight. The steaming bubble bath in which I lie is scented -- a pasture of white speaking softly: prickle! speckle! snap! I submerge into the foamy layer, then underneath where all sounds are mute. Melting, now limp as a heap of cooked noodles sliding into service, I realized I am exhausted. This is Raggedy Ann we have here -- way past bone tired. I’m talking no bones. No bones at all.

I’m exhausted, having spent the past two days vomiting sadness -- a sadness I didn’t even know I had -- sadness that had tied me in knots most of my life, sadness from seeing a problem, speaking it, and watching it be completely ignored. “Maybe if I repeat myself,” I would think to myself, but nada. So I would try adding a bit more drama.... but nada. So I would add some vehemence. some urgency -- still nada. Then I’d try saying it another way... use an illustration... say it louder. But nada.

The next day I was worthless, feeling as though my head was full of rocks. I was dizzy -- too much getting up and down -- until, finally, I just had to admit I was exhausted and put myself to bed. It was all right, because it’s Martin Luther King Day, so Ned could play with friends outside. Off he goes -- coming back, going out again -- returning, finally, to find me still sprawled out, unmoving.

“I think you need a hot bath, Mommy,” says Ned’s little voice. “I don’t think so, Ned,” I reply. “I don’t think I can get there, I’m so dizzy.” But Ned insists and draws me a bath -- even adding bath bubbles -- which is how I came to be resting in this tub. And I am glad I did. It’s all hush and beauty and peace.

And then I see it: an arch of white above me. Is it a dream? A vision? It is wispy, like a cloud, but nevertheless palpably real. Billowy! A vapor of white! An archway formed above me in the tub. I am inside a feathered cathedral. And unable to deny what I am seeing.

Yet, at the same time, I am unable to believe this could really be. “Wow,” I whisper in a whoosh that comes out of my mouth, “It sure is quiet in here. It is SILENT. It is SAFE.” I listen closely, holding my breath so everything becomes double-hushed. And dimly, I hear it: sounds of celebration. They are having a party in heaven.


  1. Carl wrote: Thank you Whitney and what a great read. Here is my comment that I could not post:

    What a beautiful vision. I looked up in the sky and around the sun was the largest white ring connected to two sun dogs, one to the left and one to the right, with the sun in the middle. What an odd rainbow I thought as it was all white and all the colors drained down into the sun dogs. Going to be one huge storm coming, thank you ice crystals and thanks for the heads up God.

  2. Thanks, Carl, fort pressing through, regardless. I don't know why sometimes peeps are unable to post their comments. Claudia had that problem, too, for the longest time. I think she solved it by re-creating her Google account, but it is perfectly fine with me to post your comments for you. I'm glad you have my e-mail.

    Am coming to see Color Unchained at the OWL Art Gallery on September 13th. I was bummed I couldn't get there on the first -- my husband had some scary heart issues for which we return to Hartford Hospital in the near future. Eeep.

    Until we finally meet at last, this comes to you with thanks for the perseverance and your friendship from afar!