My little boy was almost two years old, we two shared a room, in my parents home. I remember feeling abject anguish at - not only seeing no solution at all to our plight - but that I had absolutely no way to think about it, or consider possibilities. It was all confusion, no way to go, at all, at that time.
I was immature and not long over deep depression (I had had psychiatric treatment in hospital) & later - a suicide attempt shortly before my son was conceived. Choices were blocked from every angle that I thought about them. My parents in their own way, meant well; but it was necessary to leave my son with them, for me to go to work to pay for our food and give something to my mother for our keep (all the while I knew they were mentally and physically ill-equipped to take care of my son). They talked about how fast he could run away from them, and neither could catch him, they were both unable to walk fast or run. Their home was on a busy main road, but all the same, there seemed to be no alternative but to leave him in their care. I was terrified to leave him, but if I didn't earn money, nor have a respectable career or a good job, my mother became distressed and hostile.
I had not considered the legal situation for single mothers at that time, but was well aware of the general hostility and lack of support. Single mothers were still rejected/outsiders as 'sinful women' in the 60s, with small consideration of the father's responsibility and could still be pressured to give up their children. That pressure had already been applied in different ways: by my son's father, who did not want to take care of a child and arranged for him to be adopted. When I could not/would not comply, he complained chronically. I was also pressured by my parents who thought they would like to adopt him themselves. I think an older sister was adding to the pressure to take him away, but not discussing this with me at all. She was an influence on my mother and father, and had little regard for me. It all seemed menacing/hostile to me: the place where one might hope to be safe - home- but instead I felt that my son and I were in great danger. I didn't know what was happening. I felt a kind of sinister atmosphere, a background 'hostility', without any kindness meant for me. I didn't mind too much; I was concerned for my parents, and did not expect any great understanding from either of them. I did not like them to be distressed. They were both frail and anxious.
It became gradually less possible to talk to my mother, but my father appeared to be friendly enough. He even stayed up late a few evenings to talk to me, not about my options or hopes, but about his childhood (he had had a terrible time, in numerous ways, always sick, beaten and bullied). I was living from one fragile insecure moment to the next - not understanding - knowing nothing. Feeling the hostility grow. I had a job, and as the stress mounted eventually in blind panic at what might happen to my son, I quit work and went back to the house in the middle of the work day, afraid that he would run away from my parents and be killed in the traffic. In one of our evening talks my father had told me that he had had an experience like that many years before - he had not been blamed when a little child ran in front of his truck, with no chance at all to survive the accident.
Perhaps my father was trying to tell me about his own fears, I don't know. I think - but Im not sure - that it was at about this time that I began to feel that there was some other kind of deeper consciousness. It was as if somewhere (I didn't know where) there was a kind of balance - something that inspite of all my fear, remained somehow constant in my mind. I suppose in subconscious desperation I was searching in my mind for any possible solution. I was incapable of doing that logically or rationally, and there was no one to talk to. No one in my family or outside it discussed the fact that I was my son's mother, that I loved him and would not be separated from him. Thinking back to that time even now makes me cry. I am proud to have survived, and so glad the help that came was 'the great light'. I have read accounts in lives of saints or hermits of the same Great Light.
I remember feeling as if I was on the edge of a crumbling precipice with my little boy. We didn't 'belong' to any religion. Who ever would EVER want to belong anywhere that made such horrible threats as hellfire and damnation? Whoever would want to find a god who made such threats? How could anyone ever think of that as 'Love'? I was afraid - for all my life I had been obliged to attend church services, I felt no affinity for them or for the people involved in them, who for the most part seemed unenthusiastic. But I knew no 'other' way. I was inadequate as a human being because I had never found the 'right' path to take. My fear also was to pass my fear to my son, and have him carry it himself. It was a state of moment by moment hyper-vigilance, panic, fear, insecurity - multiplied by the terrible sense of failure, of being a hopelessly bad mother. I had no idea what to do.
It was at about that time of the peak of fear that I saw the first part of the vision. One evening, my son was asleep and I was resting near him when as if a long, long way away, I saw a light - a bit like a torch. A 'round' light, bright enough to obscure its source if any hand held it or if it was fixed anywhere. As I looked at it, wondering what it was, where could it possibly come from, it began to grow bigger, quite slowly. Then as it continued to grow bigger and brighter, it suddenly occurred to me that this must be a huge vehicle, maybe a truck or a train - for it seemed to be gathering speed and growing bigger by the moment. My thought then, without consideration that this idea was impossible, was to run, to get out of the way of whatever was coming. It was heading straight for me and my son, but I found I could not move.
It wasn't a light like a 'beam', but like a sun... an orb without clear definition. I sensed that it was not going to hurt me. It slowly became immense - it had no shape, no edges, it just kept growing until there was nothing else left - no spaces around it - everywhere was covered with it and filled with it and was made of it. Not a light that lit up 'objects' so that they could be seen more clearly - but a light that consumed everything - everything disappeared 'into' it and vanished. There was nothing left anywhere, but the light, my sleeping son, and me.
At the same time, all the stress and fear I had felt completely disappeared and was replaced/overcome by/swept away by a completely overwhelming 'warmth'... not physical warmth but the warmth of the feeling that 'all is well forevermore'. A vast and limitless sense of comfort came over me. There was no more fear, there was nothing left anywhere at all, but gentleness, kindness, love. It was not like an ocean, because an ocean has boundaries. It was everything, everywhere, all the universe, not an atom excluded! It included all of me -- all made of light and warmth and limitless love.
I slipped in and out of delight in this sensation and fear of losing it, delight at the relief and fear that I might be hallucinating and all the horror would come back. But the strength of it went on. There was no diminuation, no loss of the sense of loving support. With the light and love came a sense of 'being myself' - separate and with my son, quite alone, but whole and undamaged. Protected, safe. It was a real sense of all I had ever thought possible about any possible god - creative, loving, caring - and everywhere. Whenever I started to think about it - and the panic began to rise again, the same huge strength took over; I was reassured at once, not by 'voices' but by a kind of welling up of courage and self belief that I had never experienced ever before. Nor did I understand why or how.
In that experience - I 'knew' that I was safe. I knew that 'Love' was with me. With my parents, the situation grew worse. It was impossible for me to talk to my mother about any of my feelings, and in a day or two, she called an ambulance and psychiatrist. She wanted me taken to hospital. I could not leave my son anymore I had no idea how to arrange our lives but I could not let everything continue as it had been. My mother, angry that I no longer went to work and seeing me playing with my son (we made tiny mud houses) was not willing to discuss the plans she thought best. She was frightened and sure that I was going mad. Playing in such a way, not behaving in ways she understood was insane to her.
The psychiatrist came with an ambulance and would have taken me away on her opinion only. It was the ultimate test for my new courage, new love. I was too afraid to speak more than a word or two and shocked by the idea that anyone would consider my presumed 'madness' as a realistic idea. I said almost nothing. I did not dare to describe the Light; I knew they would say I was mad for sure, if I did that. I was quiet and polite, and the psychiatrist could not find any reason at all to have me taken away, and left.
In the next days I saw a terrifying vision of hell. It was a deep, vile and filthy pit, full of slime. I knew there was a creature alive in the vile stench at the bottom of the pit, and I felt forced to go closer and closer, the living thing heaved over in the filth and in its monstrous features, I saw my 'self'. But the strength of the Love I knew now, obliterated that, and took the fear away. Then a much more terrifying and painful vision: I smelled blood and heard the sound of someone groaning, as if in death throws, in terrible unbearable agony. I did not want to see, but I had to see.
I turned my head and found my face very close to the head of the dying Christ. It was real, not imagined. I was with a dying bloodied, tortured human being. I felt the warmth from his face and saw the blood running down his head, from the big thorns pushed into his scalp. He was in such terrible pain, his breathing was rasping, choking. I could not bear it, but I had to bear it - for a moment knowing that this horrible agony was real; that it had happened to a real person, it was not a 'story'. And that it happens and goes on happening - because people reject each other and don't know how to love.
I tried to make sense of all I saw. At the same time I felt abject revulsion for the lies that seemed to have been told about the real man and his pain, his love, that was the same as mine, and hell. I saw then that it was a terrible nonsense to say that Love, (that I understood now, and knew now), as god, demanded this horrible pain I saw in his face, as a sacrifice. Love demands NO such sacrifice. I saw how 'Jesus' was or could be - real. Why he did not and would never, run away to save himself, and abandon the people on the Earth that he loved so dearly, in its ignorance and loneliness. He was not killed to be a sacrifice - he knew he would be killed - he just would not desert the people and the Earth he loved. I had been 'taught' a religious idea, a distortion of a reality. But he had known and understood perfectly, too - that people were not capable of understanding what 'Love' really is.
He was quite alone just like I am alone and you are, except perhaps since he was born he had always known this immense light and love that I know now. None of it made any sense in the rules of the organized church that had taught me god wanted a sacrifice.That was all nonsense: the real man, the real Jesus of Nazareth, every kind and loving person was like my brother or my friend, he was like all the people who ever loved me, and who ever will love me. He had understood how people who are not 'loved' needed to know what love was. He gave the Love he knew - that I know - not because of church teaching - his love is the 'Love' that is everywhere, the essence, the energy of the universe. That love may be experienced as the great light to be loved and to know love. We love and give love because it is the most precious thing we have. He knew that people would not understand, that they would want to punish him for setting people free from all religious and political threat and fear.
He knew they would want him dead and would kill him. But he didn't care, because he loved them all. That's the love that overwhelms and destroys fear. In spite of pain.
Now I was strong. I had and continue to have a feeling that Love is an ever-present and indomitable force that can always be found and connected, in many ways. Like prayer, like deep meditation, its power is always there for everyone. I knew then that the rest of my life had to be placed in the hands of 'love' alone - it was not a religious idea. I felt that Jesus of Nazareth knew it and understood, and that there must be many others who would do so. There were other visions, but in a short while my mother became angry with my being in the house. I was afraid she would insist I went to work and leave my little boy with her again. She told my father she didn't want me in the house; that I must go. My father said, "Your mother doesn't want you here, you'll have to go." I think they meant that I was to go and leave my son behind. I left within a day or two, very quietly, with my son.
The police tracked us down, because my parents called them to do so, but, a friend lied to them for me and said we could stay in her bedsit. So I am alone, but not alone. I saw that amazing light 45 years ago. I took a very personal path,with my son that would have been absolutely impossible without that experience of the brilliant light - the knowledge given, and the understanding of that perfect 'Love'. Since then life has often been very sad, painful and difficult. But Love never left me. Love remains with me, its my source of strength and courage till I die.