I half-awoke in the early morning, stretched, and decided to doze a little
longer: this was a delicious, luxurious and all too rare opportunity. It
was cool and beautiful in West Fork, Arkansas. Birds were singing. I was
on vacation, visiting my mother, with nothing scheduled and nothing I had
to do. It was a very nice morning.
Suddenly I began to feel depressed, sad, spiritually down. For no reason I could see, I was sinking into dark and miserable moods. I tried to shake it off, but felt as though I was being pushed down into a sea of despair.
"Why?" I asked, "What is this?"
A voice-like thought that I have heard before answered, Shhhh ... It's Okay.
So I went down, like something on the end of a line--a sonobouy--into something like an ocean of darkness and spiritual distress. It got worse the farther I went.
I came down through a roof into what seemed to be a large, dark room, like an aircraft hangar, with people milling around far below me, on the floor. I was still somewhere near the roof when a message came down my lifeline and I relayed it aloud: "Is everybody happy?" It sounded like a great shout in that dark place.
There was a moment's silence; then the people on the floor continued muttering and milling around, but someone swam up toward me. I couldn't see him very well, and he barely whispered: No ... no, I'm not. I'm not happy.
Another message came down my lifeline: "Would you like to get out of here?"
An immediate message: "Think of someone you love."
Hah!--a short, harsh, explosive sound--and I heard myself add, "Or stay."
He did not reply, but he seemed to get bigger or closer or brighter; in any event, I could see him better. Then I saw a dim, glowing light come down through the roof not far away, and above it, the trace of another lifeline, shorter than mine, but stronger. This new arrival moved close to the one I had spoken with, and they seemed to contact or touch one other. Then they both moved up and out of that place.
The next message was for me: Okay, Ben ... Climb.
I moved up out of there, from despair through grief and guilt and regret and sorrow, and found myself lying in bed with my own tears running down my face into my ears. After awhile I asked, "What was that? Was that just another lesson for me, or was it real?"
The same voice replied: No, Ben, that was real. We got one. Thank you.