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Published:August 11th, 2009 09:02 EST
Baptised in the Spirit

Baptised in the Spirit

By Mark Frederic Jennings

John 3

5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

      So like I was saying, not too long after that, after I said that to God and everything, something really incredible happened. And at the gas station again too. It may have been only a day later, or a month, or maybe even more. Those days just sort of melted into each other back then. And especially if you`re trying to remember them a long time after like this. In your memory they melt together even more. But so the exact day and date will have to be forever a mystery, I`m afraid. I do remember it was later in the afternoon though. Maybe even like early evening. But still light out. Because it was late summer I remember too. And all the mechanics and the boss had gone home. I remember that too. I was there by myself. I musta been, now that I think about it. Business had slowed down a lot I remember too. Which would have left me by myself to handle things and clean up and then close the station down for the night.

      So who could blame me for daydreaming a little, you know, standing out at the cashbox with the beautiful, San Diego summer evening up and all around me. It was just gorgeous out, I remember too. Plus with the lull in business there were no customers around or anything. So I was just leaning on the cashbox out there, out there at the front of the full-serve island, watching the mild amount of traffic stream by out on the boulevard. And its important also to tell you that I wasn`t like sleepy, or anything. And the reason I say that is because you will probably think of that as an explanation for what happened, but no way, this wasn`t a dream in some power nap or anything like that. Like I could do that standing up anyway. And I wasn`t drinking or on drugs either. Let`s get that straight right now. I never did that sort of thing on the job. I drew the line there, at least.

     But then suddenly, and I mean very suddenly, I was floating in the air! And like about 50 feet up! I`m not kidding!! Higher than if you were like on the roof of a house or anything like that. That`s about all I could think of to relate it to.And I had no idea how " or why. But there I was. And then it got even weirder as I noticed my body still standing down below, right there at the cash box. ME! There I was. In my uniform and everything. I could see myself standing down there! WAY DOWN THERE!!!

     But before I could really get scared about it or anything, and before I had time to wonder too much about what the heck was going on, I realized somehow I was feeling ok with it all. I wasn`t scared or worried or freaking out or anything like that. Instead I felt just like totally happy and safe and even excited about the whole thing a little. Which is totally weird for me, I have to admit. I don`t even like going on roller coasters that much. So I know either God or some kind of angel or something was helping me feel like that. It just wasn`t normal for me. Evil Kneivel I ain`t, I gotta be honest.

     So then, as I hovered there somehow, kind of enjoying it now, getting used to it, sort of, as used to something as one can get hovering like 50 feet above your body and seeing it standing down there below you,  I looked around and took in the new view. A very interesting and seldom seen view: the tops of nearby apartments, tops of trees, cars still going by on the boulevard down below but small now like little toys, the rooftops of nearby businesses. Everything I`d seen so many times before in the familiar surroundings except now from an entirely different vantage point. And an impossible one at that.
But then just as soon as I sort of was starting to get the feel for it, you know, like it felt almost normal, things then got real unnormal again, real fast, as I took off flying like a jet. And I`m not kidding. I was zoomin`! And I mean real fast! And kinda low too, you know like in that movie "Top Gun" when they`re strafing through those desert valleys and canyons and they have a camera right on the nose of their jets fighters. That`s what I was seeing. Everything just going by real fast all around me. But instead of the desert, I was flying low and fast through some sparsely vegetated hills and valleys that could of been some of our San Diego East County backwoods I guess, though I`ve never been able to confirm that. But for sure I could tell I was really zipping along somehow, and again I would of, or should of, been really scared, except for that incredible feeling of happiness and safety like I said that still enveloped me and let me know that all this was ok somehow and that I should just enjoy the ride, as they say. Just enjoy the ride.

     So I did, and it was like that too, a ride, no way was I controlling this. It was like I was being sucked along in some sort of energy slipstream... like in a wormhole or something. But I could see everything around me very clearly. It wasn`t like in movies where there`s a lot of weird lights and junk all around you... all that special effects stuff.

     And as I continued on my flight, I soon noticed next a hill coming up larger than the others I had just watched go by below me. And there was a river skirting it as well. Or maybe more like a large stream. About ten feet across and its water glistening and glittering beautifully blue, almost beckoning to me. And as the thought hit my mind that I might like to take a dip in its inviting water, I was suddenly in a nosedive right for it.

    I splashed in and can`t really say that I felt the water`s temperature or anything like that as one normally would. I could see very clearly though and distinctly remember the image that one would expect upon looking up and back through the water`s surface at the hillside and its few trees and behind them the robin`s-egg, blue sky and all of it rippling from the water`s bending of the light rays. Then I brought my gaze back down and noticed fish swimming beside me, large healthy fish, rainbow-colored, beautiful fish. And then, and this is really hard to explain, but it felt like I was melting somehow, melting into the water, like I was joining the water, becoming one with it, the sensation of forward motion was going away now, and the feeling " and the knowing, the actual KNOWING that I had just fused into a oneness with the water around me replaced all other sensations or ideas. And then I could tell that yes, yes I had actually become one with everything... one with the water... one with the fish... one with the mountain and its trees... one with the blue sky up beyond it... and one with everything unseen beyond that even... the whole universe and it`s stars and nebulae and planets... I could feel myself out there... I could feel myself everywhere... everywhere all at once.

     It was really cool. I mean, maybe you can just imagine, to actually feel the oneness that so many religions and philosophers speak of... dream of... but I was actually feeling it... experiencing it... knowing it. I was now an integral part of everything else, everything in the whole universe, and it had likewise become an integral part of me. I can`t explain it any more than that. It`s one of those things you have to experience to understand I guess. But I`ll never forget it. And it was totally real.

     And to be honest, that`s probably the truth about all of us, all the time. We`re all probably like that all the time, one with everything, but we just can`t feel it.  But I got to, for a few seconds anyway, and then, all of a sudden I was back in my body again, standing there at the cash box, at the gas station again, wondering what in the heck had just happened.

     I shook my head and looked around to see if anyone was nearby. How long had I been gone? I checked my watch. Sevenish. Pretty much what it had been the last time I had checked. But what the heck had happened just now?!  I remembered it all in incredible detail, the floating, the flying, the fish... what the heck had that been all about !?!

     But I knew too I didn`t have much time to really worry about it. I had a bunch of clean up stuff to do that I knew I needed to get started with. I had to get the station ready for closing and all that. And I knew I`d better get at it. Start hosing out the bays, meathead, I told myself, or you`ll be stuck overtime. And Bob, my boss, didn`t pay overtime. Get back to work, I told myself. And did. A quick scan of the Islands told me there were no customers either, so I started back for the bays inside the garage area. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And then I felt it. Like when someone`s right behind you. You know. You just have that feeling. That feeling that someone is watching you or like sneaking up on you. I turned quickly, but no one was there. I started back again toward the bays. Then I felt the presence again and turned quickly around. Dammit, who is that, I silently asked myself, a little startled this time. And then the answer came. And I`d be lying to you if I said I heard it. It was more like it formed in my mind, kinda like an idea, but like an idea that someone else had put there, or like an answer to a test question that suddenly pops into your head.

     And Jesus was the name that had popped into my head somehow. Jesus. It`s Jesus, my mind just told me. But that couldn`t be, was all I could think at the time. What would Jesus want with me. And like I said, I would have hardly called myself a firm believer or religious at all at that time. Like I said, Jesus and Santa Claus and the Easter bunny. And I had work to do anyway. So I just sort of filed the whole thing away in my mind for the time being. Some other time I could try and figure it out, but right now I had work to do. So I got at it and closed the station one more night. And that was that " for then.

     But over the next fifteen years or so that would pass by before I was born again, the memory of what had happened was always there in the back of my mind. I looked up "out of body experience" in the library, and then later online once the computer age really took over. I learned a lot about them. OBEs they call them. But I never really ran across an account of one quite like mine. And I never really felt the urge to come to Jesus or anything like that either. At least not until I was born again, like I`ve said.

     But then once I had been, born again that is, I couldn`t help but look back at the whole occurrence with new meaning and understanding. Now, in my opinion at least, it`s very difficult not to see the whole thing as a type of baptism. And for sure like "in the Holy Spirit," as it says in the bible. Literally. I was probably in some sort of spiritual form all the time it was happening, flying around up there like that. Maybe I was even an, "orb," like I`ve heard about since then. And orbs, if you haven`t heard, are like little balls of light that may be disembodied souls, or angels, or whatever. But I wouldn`t be surprised if that might have been what I looked like flying around up there that day. And for sure I was "taken to the river and dropped in the water," like that old Al Green song says about being baptized. So what else could it have been? And knowing now what I`ve learned, who else could have done something like that to me? Except God. So that`s what I gotta figure anyway. And with stuff like that, figuring is about all you can do.