Friday, July 30, 2010

God and Vacation

My husband was on vacation this week. We were busy everyday taking the kids to various tourist attractions.  Normally, these family outings tax my mental capacities past their limits.  After a couple of hours, the crowds, heat, noise, and physical exertion leave me feeling overwhelmed, over-stimulated, on edge, and exhausted.  (Oh, the joys of depression!)  However, this week, it appears that God removed from me whatever it is about my brain that causes my hypersensitive system to over-react to normal day to day situations.

I became aware of this the day we went to a water-park.  My youngest and I were in the water facing each other and holding hands.  She was jumping up and down, laughing, and enjoying the splashes of water around her.  My focus was completely on her as I experienced pure joy in watching her smile and laugh and jump.  Then I looked around me and as I scanned the hundreds of people around us, the noises became louder, the unpredictable movement of others became threatening, my breath quickened, my heart began to race, and fear began to seize me.  (For those who do not know, this is what it is like to begin to have a panic/anxiety attack.)

At this point, I would normally get out of the pool, find a quiet shady spot, and rest for a while.  But instead, this thought came into my head out of nowhere: “Just focus on D” (my daughter.)  Almost reflexively, I returned my gaze to my daughter’s beautiful little face and gave her my full attention.  At the same time, I was fully aware of the noises around me as they slowly decreased as if someone turned down the volume like on a radio.  Soon the noises seemed far away.  The people seemed far away.  But they weren’t.  It felt as though God encapsulated us in a safe little bubble, safe from any external forces, giving me the freedom to be fully present in the moment with my child.

For the first time in over two years, I felt a huge weight lift from me.  I felt as light as a feather.  I felt peace if only for those few precious moments.  I just realized as writing this that the day at the water-park was the exact date, one year ago, that I swallowed a bunch of pills and admitted myself to the hospital psychiatric unit.

Appendix II in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous describes the term “spiritual experience” as “a profound alteration to (one’s) reaction to life.”  I am going to chalk this one up as a spiritual experience.  God is good and I am grateful!

I’m curious…what spiritual experience have you had?


  1. What a gift! Thanks for sharing!

  2. ThaT SOUNDS great. I had a visitation a couple weeks ago, I can't say that it seemed spiritual but it was definately other worldly.

  3. after reading your post, i wished i were closer because i would be giving you a huge hug and telling you how happy i was...what a difference a year makes!!
    what you've said today makes such perfect sense to me as i am easily rattled by the dynamics surrounding me, easy swept away by the banging cymbals and clanging gong. but to focus, and to invite God into that moment must surely be something i should practice. truly, thank you for sharing such a powerful revelation!

  4. Yes, IMO you have described a pure and wonderful (full of wonder!) spiritual experience. Thank you for letting us read about that, and happily "share" it with you.

    My life these 36 sober years--and before--has been loaded with spiritual experiences, but I believe the one most "far out" (and you do NOT have to believe this!) are those times, which are becoming more frequent...of "time bending". The only words I can use to describe it.

    It is akin to "leaving late, and getting there early", and wondering, "Now, HOW did that happen, that warping of time...that angelic "holding" of green lights, clearing the roads of traffic, etc. I will not go further or you will KNOW i am crazy--almost did not write this!

  5. HA, and God magnifies that experience so exponentially that we can scarcely keep up the count!!!

    I'm so glad God inspired you to write about this at the same time, I wonder how many others out there are inspired to continue the same focus of spiritual experience at the same moment... rarely have we seen a person fail....

    It works, it really does! :) And we are fully aware in these moments, which... never stop being presented to us!


  6. BRB: you're welcome!

    Carol: ooooh, do tell...

    sheri: the cool thing is, I wasn't even thinking of God at that moment - he came to me! (So humbling.)

    steve: I already KNOW you are crazy (takes one to know one, BTW.) (grin!) And yes, time bending - I like that description and it totally applies to my experience the other day at the pool with my daughter. I was truly aware of being safely protected in the hands of the Almightly. Bless you!

    jess: I pray to be aware of these moments more often. It is sad to think of how many I miss everyday due to ??? hmmm...why do I miss so many? You've got me thinking - why do we miss them?

  7. God is so amazing, that even in the midst of that chaos, even when a panic attack was about to be triggered, He reached through and changed your focus to something so innocent, peaceful and engrossing, that God turned that situation around into something you can treasure for ever.

    God bless :)

  8. Your description of being one with your child and having those childlike emotions is awesome. That does alter the reaction to life. My spiritual experiences came about when I knew that I had to be with my parents right before they suddenly died. That indicated to me that I was called to be with them. Very spiritual.


Thank you for sharing!