One of the most emotional paranormal experiences I had was the instant I became a Born Again Christian. Ironically, that event led me to a church whose pastor taught that all supernatural occurrences were of Satan. Below is a scene from “A Reluctant Spirit” (which was deleted during my last rewrite) that illustrates the power of the paranormal (in this case, the Holy Spirit). Interestingly enough, this experience paralleled an event that occurred a few months after my visit to the Goldfield Hotel.
My friend Marina and I sit on a cold cement bench, our words forming bursts of fog from the frigid air. The University of Nevada quad looks almost Ivy League like, flanked by old, columned, brick buildings. The skies are clear. The stars crowd out the blackness.
“I just can’t take my roommate’s boyfriend any longer,” I blurt. “It’s to the point that I can’t even study in my room. He’s always there. I can’t take this stress. The pressure of studying. Of having no privacy. Of being an adult.”
“Give it to God. He’ll take away your stress.” She stops swishing her legs and turns to me. “You aren’t going to church, are you?”
I pull up the collar of my coat and hold it around my neck. “No. Who has the time? Anyway, I don’t know what church I’d go to. Nothing feels right anymore.”
“Do you believe in Jesus?”
“You know I’m a Christian.”
“But have you confessed Jesus as your savior?”
“What?” I laugh. “I believe in Jesus. Why should confessing make any difference?” I press my heels against the ground. I don’t need any more proselytizing. Then I look at her proud Shoshone face and realize Marina cares about me.
“It does, believe me. It makes a world of difference. If you start your personal relationship with Jesus tonight, things will get better for you.”
“I’ll get all As and my roommate will move out?”
She frowns. “Kathy. If you do this, you’ll have a peace, a knowing that everything in the end will be all right.”
A couple strolls up the courtyard, hand-in-hand and smiling but not talking. They alternately cross through circles of light splashed across the sidewalk and the dark of the night. I ponder what Marina says. Since my family moved to Nevada four years ago, I pretty much stopped going to church. And I missed it. Then it dawns on me. I hadn’t felt God in a long time.
Has the Great I Am really left me? Panic rises from my stomach. My heart pounds loudly. How could I’ve not realized this earlier? What must God think? Maybe this is what I need. I wipe my sweaty hands against my jeans. My coat opens and a cold burst chills me.
Marina stares off into the night.
“Okay,” I say a bit shakily. I’m not convinced this’ll make any difference, but now that I know I haven’t felt God in a while, I know an integral part of me has gone missing.
She claps her hands. “Great! Just repeat after me, okay?”
She takes my hands. “I am a sinner and I know that Jesus died for my sins.”
“I’m a sinner and know Jesus died for my sins.”
“I confess Jesus as my savior and I invite him into my life.” She looks at me expectantly.
And, I quickly obliged, repeating her words.
Whoosh! A downpour of love washes over me so rapidly, so overwhelming, I burst into tears. Tears of happiness. Tears of relief. I’m enveloped in a love so powerful, so pervasive, it could only be divine. God’s cradling me in his hands, strong and warm, yet gentle. My burdens melt away. I sit up a little straighter. It’s happening. I’m loved unconditionally. The Most Divine’s coming back to me. God is once again in my life! Thank you, I silently say and then laugh out loud.