Saturday, September 11, 2010

Presence II

I had planned to write this post right before Doah ran smack into his current tribulation, so it got shelved in the wake of that trauma. We are now coming back to life, and so I thought it was time to share this rather unique experience, unique for me, anyway. The experience is a couple of weeks old now, had never happened to me before, and is still as fresh in my memory as if it happened only last night. As for the meaning, reason, or purpose of what happened, I have absolutely no idea. I will let you judge that. Personally, I think it was just a gift. At least, I accepted it as a gift because it was such an especially pleasant experience.

A couple of weeks ago, Donnie and I decided to go to the theater -- a very infrequent activity for us -- to watch the raved-about Inception, which did turn out to be an interesting and entertaining movie. Donnie bought the typical snack foods; I picked up a hot dog because I had not had a chance to eat earlier that day. I added to that order an icee. That was my nourishment for the day -- perhaps not the best, but at least not the worst that I could have chosen.

We settled into our seats, which were the best in the house. That was not a surprise since there were only a handful of people there, an unfortunate sign of our difficult economic times. The trailers of upcoming movies played through, and Inception started. By then, I had already finished my meal. I had been hungry enough to gulp down the icee and finish the hot dogs in three bites. I put down the empty containers and prepared to watch the movie.

As the movie progressed, I realized that I was only half-watching. For some reason, the longer I sat there, the stronger the presence of God became until, in spite of all the ambient noise around me, the movie by that time fuzzing out and turning into semi-ambient noise although I was following the plot. It seemed like we had a third person in the theater with us, and it remained that way throughout. It was the loveliest, most comforting feeling.

Although movies of this type usually get my adrenaline rushing, as they are meant to do, I felt nothing of the sort with this one. The longer I sat there together with God, the calmer I became even as the suspense and action in the movie was reaching a crescendo.

When we left the theater, I was very relaxed and calm, almost in a stupor. Like in the case of contemplative prayer, with which this experience had much in common, I did not want to leave, but, of course, I had to. The emotion of the experience remains with me, though. It was as if I was in two places at the same time, doing two things at the same time. It was contemplation (this sitting together with God) and action (the thrills of the movie) at the same time.

For me, the experience underscored that God is always with me; just sometimes I can sense God's presence more than other times. Perhaps it was meant to be a lesson to always have that in mind and now that even in the busiest moment I can communicate with God if I want to. Or perhaps it was simply a gift. I like to think that God just wants to give me a present of Himself upon occasion.

What do you think? Have you had similar experiences?


  1. Wonderful, wonderful experience, Elizabeth!!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I think I experience the presence of God in my soul at some times too. Not in the room with me but in my soul. Do you sense God's presence external to yourself or inside yourself? This morning driving the kids to school I felt God's presence in my soul and on several other car trips today I felt it, and was expressing my love, and also wondering, why? Is there something God is trying to tell me? Also sometimes when watching a strange not very-holy show like Criminal Minds or something, that I think I shouldn't be watching, I'll feel God's presence in my soul.

  3. Hi Colleen, that is interesting. I actually feel the Presence externally. Perhaps because I am not a very introspective person that is the only way God has to interact with me -- although I suppose He could shape me into someone introspective if He wanted to. I guess He is willing to accept me the way I am, which is quite a relief. :)

    I don't talk about it much because it is not accepted very widely, but I have upon occasion felt a physical touch. (Fr. Thomas Dubay in his book, Authenticity, has the only reference I have ever come across to a divine touch; hence, my reluctance to share that experience very widely.)