Page Created: 6/24/2014   Last Modified: 3/11/2016   Last Generated: 6/7/2024

There is a piece of cloth that I have packed away, like the Shroud of Turin, a raggedy old piece of fabric, but instead of the silhouette of a man, it has a red silhouette of a boat on a blue sea.

I had it since I was 7. I had it when I almost died.

I had seen it in the store with my mother, and she let me pick it out. I was excited to have my own towel. I was going to a pool party with my first grade class. I didn't know how to swim and was very scared of the water.

My teacher gave me a flotation board and after a while, I felt adventurous and paddled into deep water. Then, abruptly, I fell off the board and into the deep water. The next event is still burned in my brain.

As I fell into the water, there was nobody around me. I could see under the water and the surface high above me. My mind fissured into two parts:

  • One part of me was in full-on panic mode, it was kicking me off the bottom of the pool to trying to get me to the surface, but I could only flail a bit before I was back under, and I would hit the bottom again.
  • The other part said curiously, "Is this where I die?". It was a calm voice.

Eventually, Mrs. Taylor pulled me out and saved my life.

That is why I keep the towel. Thank you Mrs. Taylor.

I don't tell that story often. It is hard to write even now. I later learned to swim, became fascinated with water.

Strangely, now I feel most comfortable at the bottom of the pool, in the deep.

And it gave new meaning to that ominous tank at the front of our Baptist church, with a painted Jordan river emptying into it, a 2-dimensional illusion that tried to come into our reality.

Due to this event, I became more fascinated by the female archetype, high, above, like Trinity in TheMatrix helicopter or Joan of Arc high on a horse. As men, we live our lives believing that we are the greatest power on the earth, and if we make mistakes, there is no one to save us. When all seems lost, the female archetype will save the male, just like the male archetype will save the female.

My father told me a story that he swore was true; he told it many times, that he fell off his rooftop when he was a boy, several stories up, and the archangel Gabriel caught him and lowered him down slowly and he wasn't hurt.

But that voice, that calm voice... it bothers me to this day. That voice is waiting. I have heard that voice before. Is it really my own?