Updated: Jan 13
Defining moments smatter through our lifetime, some help illuminate a way of acting or thinking allowing us to change things around, some allow an understanding of who we are and where we 'fit', some help us make decisions, some show us what really 'counts' to us and soften our mental 'stance' about an issue we once held, some come crashing in like a unexpected 'blow' to the head, body and soul and so on.
Some are paced happening at frequent age milestones, every; 3 years, 7years, 9 years, 10 years or such. A bit like a comet appearing in the sky where once it wasn't at regular yearly cycles. Some are a sense of learning, as if those close, friend or foe, reveal a truth, though possibly emotionally painful but greatly revealing a truth which illuminates. Some come through 'stretching' ourselves physically either something we have initiated, like a strenuous hike or rock climb, or undertaken surgery when you feel ok but need to change something physically that appears for for benefit of whole body system. Taken on parenthood or the care of another, become spiritually 'joined' with another either marriage or join a society or group with potential 'rules' or ideology and so on.
I've had a few of these defining moments through my lifetime as we all have, possibly one of each, at varying intervals. So the 'being called by God' incident is possibly one that changed me in ways that have rippled to this moment and beyond. It is an incident, an experience that has been labelled by others and something that time has helped unpack. It was weird, it was as if transported through time and space, it was over quickly and came totally 'out of the blue', and after I had settled back into myself, it freaked me out a little.
So a little background, my family are religious in the alternate way, as in we have belief but and I'm not sure how many generations this goes back, I was brought up with a grounded, practical spirituality, that acknowledged we are all one, in nature and form with all that is above and below. So, don't know where that all came from but it was there, other than that we were normal farming family. Not really into recognised institutional religion and not really out of it and he concept of 'God' wasn't unknown to us.
Now some may see that those, labelling the incident as 'being called by God', as doing me a dis-service or an irresponsible way to explain something to me, especially a child. I was in my 10th year. To say this to me would potentially fill me with thoughts of grandeur or such or some other narcissistic outcome where I might proclaim myself the Messiah or something equally egotistical. But it wasn't like that. If you know me, and have known me for years, you don't know this at all as only two other people have known this before now.
So why now? Yeah true, why now. Well, it feels right, it just does. The sense is to share, I've opened my door here, I'm a person who as you see me it is what you get, I don't feel I have any 'agenda'. If someone want's to judge the experience as me being cuckoo, off the planet, then cool, got that out of the way now. For me, it is a moment and it means a lot to why I'm here in this place now.
This is how the moment unfolded;
It was the school holidays and we, my siblings and cousins, were on bikes, down at the dam. It is about a 800m down hill a bit from the houses. There were about eight of us, we had climbed through the fence checked out the dams, looked for tadpoles in the trough and gabbled back and forth, child hopes and dreams, a little competitive, a little showy off. We all got back on our bikes and were just sitting on them gabbling on, when someone said 'Race you to the house, first one home is the winner.' We engaged our bikes and took off. I usually am not the winner, my bike was old and stiff but I gave it my all. I pedalled and pedalled in the middle of the pack, pedalling and pedalling. Slowly I began inching past others pedalling equally fast, until I was in the clear, I was alone, I felt amazing I felt like I was flying, I was ahead! I was elated at the thought, it never happens, I'm going to be first!
Then I heard my name, "KATE!" It vibrated within me and outside me, was in my right ear as if someone was right beside me, bent down and said my name, beside my right ear, but inside me at the same time, clear and loud. If you want to quote others who have written such experiences, it was like a thunderclap. But not a shout, there was no sense of male or female it felt both at the same time but separate. It wasn't commanding but it had a sense of authority so you had no mistake. My little brain was processing, I thought one of the kids, just behind me. Because there was this sense of authority (remember; 'a sense of authority', not 'an authority, different) so I yelled, "What?". In that moment it was like I realised no-one was behind me. There was a sense of release and as I slammed my brakes on, locked up my wheels and let the bike slide around to see behind me better. I saw everyone still sitting at the dam gate so I yelled, (as you do on the farm) 'What do you want?'
I was still in a daze a swirling of emotion, the brain firing with questions of what had just happened and what I was seeing. There was like a buzzing in the ear. Trying to process what was possible and what was not possible. So the kids yelled back to me "What?" that sound distant and like kids yelling, nothing like what I had just heard. Then it was all too much, I had no idea what happen except I knew had happened. So I did what any 9 year old would do hit the pedals and ride home like the sky was falling in.
I made it home faster than I've ever pedalled before or since, threw my bike away and ran inside, I was walking toward the kitchen mum must have been able to tell something had happened. Now we were brought up 'tough'. No procrastination, no talking out of turn, no malingering and so on, so for my mum to ask if I was ok, I must have looked like she needed to ask. So I told her the whole story. and she went quiet, look at me with her full attention. She used my full name so I knew it was important. 'Kathleen, you have heard the voice of God, you have been called by God, if you feel, to it is up to you to answer it."
And that was it.
For some reason this didn't bother me, or make me question, it was too 'out there' to not be a possibility, so that was that. Then the question Why? started to creep in and What actually does that mean? and How do you actually 'answer'? and Why did they call me Kate, not Kathleen? I asked mum if she knew any method to answer she told me a method. So I went off, a bit like when you have to write thank yous to all the people who give you presents. It felt a bit weird, like someone else idea but you do it anyway. And that was that, I think I just lay on my bed until my siblings returned.
They asked me what happened to me? I said 'Someone said let's race home, we all took off and I was winning.' After scoffing at me potentially being in the lead, they said 'No, you just took off!' but that was all that was said. I just let the expereince sit with question marks and hope my answer had been heard.
So that is the 'being called by God.' incident. Small but powerful, to me. It changed me from being an everyday kid with everyday hopes and dreams to a kid with everyday hopes and dreams with questions and a sense of awakening, like I could see things from a different perspective, be open to all being possible, feel a sense of inexplicable wonder, understand there is something beyond knowing or beyond understanding, have knowledge there are gaps, filled with intangibile stuff in which we can spend time, be healed, gain insight and so on. Many nights I was absorbed into this space of intangibility many times, many times.
To say there were things that lead to other things would be an understatement. However a direct line from the story happened about five to six months later I was in my eleventh year, it was a school day and we were in Religious Education class. I liked this class, there was no test, it was easy as I had by this time read the bible a few times, I found it entertaining. Our lay pastor from church was holding the class as he had for the last few years. I liked him, he was ok to me. He had a sense of humour, seemed spiritual and a real seeker This day he chose to deliver a lesson, not sure what on but he started telling us how we are in a potentially living in an unholy time as God doesn't talk to anyone directly, or there are no miracles performed along the line of Moses and Aaron. He was getting nicely in full swing.
He said, "The time of miracles has passed, I mean have you heard God speak to anyone directly, today?" he pointed at someone, "Have you?" "No!" he pointed at someone else, "Have you?" "No!" he pointed at another person "Have you heard God speak to anyone!" So I put my hand up.
He was a bit surprised and said "Kathleen?" I said " I have." I think it threw him for a moment. I wasn't a naughty kid, I did my work, at times i guess i showed some interest so I guess he was a little curious.
"You heard God speak to you?" "Yes." "How do you know?" "My mum told me." He had another moment and then went on to tell me to not see my mum as a reliable source for such matters as God doesn't speak to us directly because we live in such unholy times. I don't recall all he said from that point and I felt an energy descend on me and I knew in that moment, that he didn't know what he was talking about. Not in defence of my mum but he didn't realise what he said, I could see his fear, his confusion, I could see his spiritual lines of communication twisted. If there was an analogy he was like a medieval knight, true of heart and with a powerful mission but tied with a contract that opened him to, confusion and fear. I felt sad and in that moment I knew I wouldn't find my answers within this space of institutional religion, however they are great for a good singalong and community spirit of goodwill, much good is done in that space plus it is a great storehouse for knowledge and truth. Just read between the lines. And that was that.
When I was in my nineteenth year, the lay pastor sort me out when I was visiting my home town and personally apologised to me. He apologised for not understanding and hoped I could forgive his behaviour. I told him there was nothing to forgive, as I believed he had much to offer others and think he is a good man who believed as he believed. He left the church after that I often think of him with great fondness, he gave me a great gift.
So that's the story and like all good stories it is never ending. I've gained some insight to the questions posed at the beginning especially why call me Kate and not Kathleen. I am at peace with it.
This is the time to shake out your stories that you have held close, it is time to shake out the knots of confusion and superstition. Allow what is true for you to come into the light of day to be cleansed in sunlight and purified in moonlight. Let any fear you may feel, motivate you to courage, speak from the heart and allow forgiveness to transform the way of thinking and being that no longer serves 'your journey'. May the intangible spaces you find in between the form and structure, the sounds, the beat of your heart, between the breath in and the breath out. May it be more loud in its silence, embracing in its peace and clearer that the clearest glass we look through. Love in the energy of love it all there is, if you wish it to be so.
I hope this explained to some extent the method in my madness of mentioning this. I could have continued by not saying anything, however if my story allows one person to find something within that is a guide to the everyday in some way, then this has been a story worth telling. If you have had a similar experience that others have walked their opinion all over until it is almost someone else story, I hope this gives you strength to gather your story to you again. there is power in owning your story.
Love and best wishes, always