I woke up screaming. I woke Ken up, too. His tender, caring response, startled from his own sleep was, "What the hell was that?"
"I screamed. I must have had a nightmare."
Ken went right back to sleep.
I lie there willing my heart to calm. Cold, shivering beneath my comforter. I have to pee, but it's that weird time after a nightmare and I wish I didn't have to move.
Jesus comes to me. He wants to play. I don't want to play with Jesus. As it is I feel like a crazy woman. But His sweet voice, His kindness calls to me, engages me. Plus, He knows I have to pee and am going to get up. He has so many advantages being God.
I get up and fumble for my gown in the dark, slip it on, and pad down the hall to the bathroom. He's saying so much to me and I can't deny Him. I don't want to meet Him in our trysting place. It's a weird trysting place, but He's insistent.
"Meet me there," He says like a needy Lover.
I give Him all the reasons I shouldn't. I think it's scary there, but He tells me I know it's not. I think I made the whole thing up and I'm psychotic. And He tells me I know that's not true either. But what's true is hard to discern right now. And I'm so tired.
But I love Him. He's a sweet, gentle Lover, even though I know He's done things I will never understand in this life, and maybe not the other. I'm almost flattered that He wants me so badly. He keeps talking to me, even before I show up, and I love Him a little more for that.
I go there. To where we meet. Where we make love and He devastates me with His beauty. He smiles at me when I get there. Takes me by the hand.
I want to say, "I made this up." But His eyes dispel that untruth. "It's our place," He said. I drew you here, and it's my favorite place to be with you."
I want to tell Him that I made it all up, and I'm a nut job, but He catches the idea in my thoughts and disgards it. So I decide not to argue with Him. Just be with Him.
"Tell me about the dream," He says. He's so not sly. He knows I know He's omnipotent and omnipresent and is completely aware of the dream, but He wants me to say it.
"I was some kind of monster," I say and I hang my head down.
He acts like this is curious to Him. "Hmmmm," He says. "A monster?"
"It was like we were all monsters, and some of us were more powerful than others. If you used your powers you got stronger, and some monsters were good, and some were bad."
He sits across from me at a table. He's got on a nice white shirt that looks almost like a poets shirt, but it looks good on him. Khaki pants. He needs a haircut but I like the way his brown hair falls into his face. He's beautiful.
"You don't really look like this, you know."
"I know how I look. But you like this face."
"Jesus my handsome boyfriend."
"I like looking this way for you. And make that Jesus my handsome Lover."
"I stand corrected," I say but I grin at Him. We love this banter. This love talk. He comes over to me and touches my face and I close my eyes and let His coarse fingers caress me. You can tell He was a carpenter. I marvel that He kept the rough hands that touch so tenderly, and the nail holes."
Again I want to say, "I just made this up." But I know He's here, looking rakishly handsome, the way I like to see Him. For me.
He whispers, still touching me, "Were you a good or a bad monster."
His question makes me feel sad. "I don't know. I wanted to be good."
"You were helping the other monsters, weren't you?"
"And then what?"
"I started getting weaker, and I need more help from the stronger good monsters."
"A bunch of bad monsters were coming in and we were working so hard to keep them away. And then I kept falling, and I'd call for help."
"Who did you call?"
"My Mother." I called Him. Him as my Mother.
"I had these pieces of paper and oil in my hands that I touched other monsters with. Good and bad ones."
He gives me this earnest expression that makes me smile. "What could that mean?"
I laugh. "You are so not subtle. And it wasn't even a God dream."
"No, but it was your dream. So you called your Mother because you thought your writing, which was anointed with oil, was losing it's power. Profound."
"Yeah, but I kept getting back to that point of being weak. And each time it would be worse. The bad monsters would be stronger, and I'd be weaker and the last time, I'd torn a huge hole in the front of my pants and my underwear was showing. And I fell on the ground and all these little weaker bad monsters came at me. And I was so exposed. So vulnerable. It was like some freaky, night of the living dead stuff."
"Ha ha ha," I say because He's smarter than me and I like it!
"Then you screamed?"
I screamed. "Why didn't you come as my Mother."
"You're my Lover."
"This is how you wanted to see me, but I'm here. I'm your Mother."
And I start to cry. He pulls me into His arms again and puts on Switchfoot. I hear Jon singing, "Sunshine, won't you be my mother." But I hear it as "Oh Lord, won't you be my mother. Oh Lord, come and help me sing. My heart is darker than these oceans. My heart is frozen underneath." And the music sounds so good, and Jesus wants to slow dance with me to Switchfoot's sad song that I understand because I know that shadow proves the sunshine.
I don't want to sing it, or even think it, but He asks me to.
"Oh Lord, why did you forsake me?
Oh Lord, don't be far away.
Storm clouds gathering beside me.
Please Lord don't look the other way."
He asks me to tell Him, and I say, "Why did you let them do that to me? I was trying to be good. I just wanted to be honest."
"You're mad at me, aren't you?"
I don't want to admit it, but He knows I am, and it would be foolish to deny it. I nod, and He pulls me closer.
"You know I will never leave you or forsake you."
"Yeah, but you don't have a problem letting things hurt."
"If I took your pain, I'd take something from you that would change everything. You need your pain. It's there for a reason."
"I'm tired. I'm scared. And you let this happen without even warning me it was coming."
"Do you think I love you?"
I don't answer, and He burrows His face in my neck. "Do you?"
"Why do you meet me here like this? You showed Carlean your real face. And you weren't even beautiful, but here you're sweet and sexy and fine."
"What's not to like?"
"I made it up."
He puts His finger to my lips. "I made it up. And this is where I love to find you. You've come here with Me since you were a little girl and I listened to your stories. I protected you here from the bad monsters around you. This is ours. Yours and mine. Don't give up on it."
"You wouldn't let me."
"I would, baby. Just like I gave you children because you wanted them, and a man who loves you--really loves you, when I wanted you for Myself. And he knows you love Me most. He knows he's second."
"I chose him for you. I wish you had trusted Me. But I love you. I won't stop loving you."
"I told Joe tonight that I belonged to You."
"I was supposed to tell him that."
"Yes. You were."
"Why didn't you tell me that two years ago? It would have saved me a lot of trouble."
"I'm not good at saving you a lot of trouble when there's something important for me to show you. And now look, you're all Mine. You came when you were afraid and ready to close this place down, and that would have hurt Me."
"I can't hurt You."
"You do it all the time."
"I'm so sorry. I love you. I really do."
"I know. And sometimes you even listen to Me."
"Yes," I say.
Sneaky Jesus acts like He doesn't know what I'm talking about. "Yes?"
"Yes, I know you love me."
"Sometimes you know." And He holds me so tightly that I know He really won't ever let me go. He surprises me with His love.
We spend the rest of the time dancing and behind the music is the sound of the rain. Real rain in the real world. Morning eases through the slats of the blinds. All things I love. Rain. Greeting morning. This secret place of ours. Switchfoot. Being in His arms. This lovely place of ours. Him looking like my Lover, while being my Mother. None of this is a coincidence. Not me waking up screaming. Not His prodding me to our trysting place. Not Him telling me He doesn't want me to stop writing in a way that I know is Him. Not the music and His scent and the flowers growing on the walls, sweetening the air... some God in my bedroom. Some God in my imagination, my Lover's favorite place to meet me.
I will never understand it, but as long as He's here, I'll show up too. If only to hear Him whisper His love talk in my ear. I love Him. I love Him. I love Him.
We dance until sleep overtakes me and I rest, still dancing in His arms.