By Caleb Kelly
Now when we last left off in this story of wonder, I left to follow the Spirit across the waters and misty skies of grey. The Spirit continued on as He had, unrelenting in His strides and never seeming to tire as I trailed behind Him. No outward sign that I could detect was shown that He knew I was following Him, and the path headed to what end I knew not. I was concerned that I would perhaps collapse from exhaustion if the destination was far, but strangely, I felt no need to rest. Perhaps something about the air fueled my resolve and filled me with the strength to continue on. But the air, if at all containing magical powers, did not hold at bay any second thoughts regarding my decision to go after the Spirit. I tried my best to push such ideas and thoughts away from my center of thinking and instead focus on where we might be going, or rather, where the Spirit wished for me to go.
I considered now asking Him of the location that would be our destination, but I argued back mentally that He would not be at all likely to tell such a person as I that information. So silently in words, not in mind, I stepped behind the Spirit, who did not walk as one of Earth but floated in a manner similar to a large bird soaring on updrafts of warm air. I spent much time on my own inside that I failed to notice the Spirit slowing before me. Rapidly I gained on Him before I recognized that He had stopped His forward motion and I stopped a mere three steps from Him. Hastily, I took an involuntary step back. The Spirit did not cast even a glance toward me; He seemed intent on a task known only to Him and His mind.
Now I could flee if I wished to but such a thought only for that moment I considered. Curiosity held me firm in the wake of this Spirit to see what might become of Him and myself, for that matter. I waited in anticipation for what would happen next-the Spirit simply stood, rather floated, in a single spot. To me and my knowledge of human body language (I realize its relevance may not be applied with complete truth in this instance, but a basic idea it may cast), the Spirit seemed to be gathering His thoughts, much as a college professor would before giving a lecture. Finally, the Spirit spoke again, the voice in which He spoke sounding eerie yet calming paradoxically.
The Spirit said over the watery world, “Let the waters be wrested from one another. Separate the waves in two and let there be an expanse in which it to go far above the world.”
Apparently coming from His mouth, a breeze picked up. For a moment, I was startled by its presence, having felt nothing like it since whenever last I had felt a gust of wind on Earth. And I must admit, it had been some time. The seas were pulled by the wind, it seemed, and the water beneath my bare feet began to recede. I felt it flowing from behind me, pushing me, it being the ground on which I stood. I have searched long in our world for the best way to describe in exact perfection the feeling of the ground moving beneath you. In some respects, it was like riding a train, when it just begins moving and you feel the sensation under your feet, but close it may be in that respect, it is entirely different than standing on the liquid one cannot stand on. The exact feeling lost to our world, the closest I came to explaining I found one day at the beach. I stood amongst the crashing surf, perhaps ankle-height in the cool water, facing the sea and admiring the water. Ever since my time spent on the liquid land, I have had a new admiration for the ocean. A wave has just crashed against me, and it was now returning to its larger counterpart of the sea. The water ran under my feet and around, falling down the coast’s slope. At the time, I noticed not the similarity between the two but later that evening, while reading before bed it suddenly became apparent.
The water picked up in its strength and ferocity underneath my feet, threatening to throw me off balance. The sound of the water I was surprised by, having heard nothing but the Spirit’s voice and my own up until now. My footsteps were muffled wherever I took them on the water. The Spirit, floating as before over the near crashing waves, did not receive so much as a drop of water against His legs shrouded in a robe. Meanwhile, up to my knee I was splashed, and even greater came the waves. Now the fear of drowning overtook me, a fear that I thought I had overcome the very first day I was on this world. Quickly the water’s level came to that my knee, and the droplets blurred my vision. I felt still the firmness of sorts beneath my feet, but the water continued to rise around me, and in no time I was swept off my feet and from then on had to tread water to keep above its rising surface. There was nowhere I could go, no dry land in sight to steady myself on. There was no help at all. I did not suppose this was how my death would come, on a strange watery world and drowning, despite moments ago able to walk on the water.
I was so lost in this fear and the suffocating feeling that came not from drowning but from the inability to do anything, that I forgot the Spirit Who was floating as ever a few feet away but now impossible to reach, watching my sufferings. Through the water continually foaming in my eyes, I made out the glow about Him.
“Help. . .” I called out weakly, reaching toward Him with one hand and water filling my mouth upon my opening of it. His glow was distorted by the crashing waters in my eyes, sending its light every which way. I sank under the water’s surface, still reaching toward it, and noticed its calm underside compared to the turmoil of the upper. If only one could live under the water forever, never having to worry about coming to the surface for the air needed. . . My mind was already starved of that very air, thinking such a thing. This is the end, the end of all my trying and failing. The end of my life was at hand and I closed my eyes to it, admitting defeat. Strangely, I did not in the slightest blame the Spirit, who had led me here, apparently to die. Having no one to put the blame on, I simply believed it to be the will of the universe that I should die in this. . . Dream? Reality? The delusion of my mind? I had not yet decided on what exactly this vision or life I was living was. Was it even real? The pressure in my chest from lack of air seemed to prove it so. In just a moments few longer, I would know the truth, either waking up in my bed or never having consciousness again. With my last thought and air, I wondered who would miss me or even remember me, remember my life or what I had done. Then I slipped into unconsciousness and darkness.
Beyond that and seeming a second later I remember a sudden spasm that woke me when my body realized that its lungs were full of water and needed them to be emptied immediately. I coughed, leaning over on my side from the lying position I was in. I sat up and took my bearings, as much able on the world without landmarks. The sun-my default was to call the sourceless light that-if it was in our own world would have been just past one o’clock. The last time I could recall had been late morning when the waves overcame me and forced me under. Up till now, my mind had forgotten or ignored the subject of drowning, but with the key thought of the waves, it all came back like one, washing away any other thought. The sea, did it spit me back out? Did whatever that kept me on the surface suddenly start working again, and push me to the surface? Maybe I dreamed it all? (Part of my mind even went so far as to think that the entire planet was a dream, a fantasy of the night.) But it seemed so real. And indeed, what it seemed like was real, yet how had I survived?
The answer came to me not by any thought of mine, but through the use of another part of my body, that of the sense of sight. I looked around again, hoping to see something that I had missed, and certainly, I saw something new, though not technically. I saw the Spirit, floating a short distance away. My eye continued on, still looking for that thing, that exceptional thing, that had been my saving. It searched for something that portrayed a sense of security at the first glance, and passed over the thing containing the very item of questing, though hidden in the surface that one must learn to see through.
In a moment of realization, I whirled back toward the Spirit, my head throbbing as I did so. But I noticed the pain for but a second, for my mind was trying to comprehend the only possible answer.
“You-You,” I spluttered, partially from the water in my mouth and partially from the disbelief of what I had just come to terms with. When I thought my hour of death had come and any claim on life had expired, I had been rescued. The Spirit saved me. The same Spirit able to with only the whisper of His lips create a source of light enough to make luminous the entirety of this world; and with no more than the act of speaking, able to throw into turmoil the seas around Him. No one could do that. Nothing could do that, yet here, in this landless world that was very much a reality, there existed such a One who could do all those things and more. But not just all that, for the above is only written to give you a feel for what I myself soon felt. The One with the power to create worlds, ecosystems, and light all out of nothing came down to where I needed help and pulled me out of the water. He saved me from drowning. Me, one who is no more righteous than another man, perhaps even a worse person, He saved from certain death when I called and gave with the help new life.
Suddenly, I was overcome with emotion and a certain unworthiness. Tears sprang almost instantly to my eyes and ran down my wet cheeks.
“You,” I began again, now sniffling with tears and otherwise unintelligible, but the Spirit held up His Hand. At first, I thought He was going to say something, so I quieted myself and wiped my eyes and nose. But the silence only continued. Then I looked closely at His Hand which was still held aloft in a manner like that of showing something to another person. Against the light radiating off His skin, I could not make out any details, and I feared that if I stepped any closer, His heat would burn me. I continued staring (at His hand and not His face with the Eyes of Fire) until spots formed in my vision. I broke my gaze and blinked to rid myself of those spots, and from the corner of my eye, I could see His hand in clearer detail. Where His hand should have been, however, was only a darkened, burnt shape of the same dimensions. With the little detail the corner of my eye afforded, I could just make out what seemed to me the distinguishing marks of an acid burn. The marks continued up to His elbow and there disappeared in the shadow of His sleeve. For a moment, I wondered what possibly could have happened to the all-powerful Spirit. Nothing I had seen here looked like it could have done that; there was nothing here that could even do anything. Perhaps He always had that burn, I thought. But no, I would have seen it when I first took note of Him. What was it then?
It suddenly came to me. The water. It must have burned Him somehow when He reached in to save me. Terror came over me, and I frantically checked my arms and legs for the same rashes that I expected any moment to appear. But my journey beneath the waves left me without any such marks. When my fears had been found invalidated, I returned my gaze to the Spirit, now looking at Him with again new realization. Not only did He take the time to rescue me, He even did so with the foreknowledge of pain. (Somehow I knew that the acidity of the water did not surprise the Spirit.) The quenched tears came again as more and more knowledge was added to my Savior. He suffered only to save me, and nothing more. I felt indefinitely indebted to Him.
All the while I was in thought, He continued immobile, His hand still raised. I nodded at Him in a sort of thanks, which I then verbalized.
“Thank you,” I said, standing when I felt I had the strength. From that vantage point, I took in my surroundings again. Though I had thought otherwise, the storm was still commencing, but not where the Spirit and I were. There seemed around us to be a sort of circle where the wind and waves could not pass through. I could pass my hand through, and the wind’s force pushed against this newcomer. The sea spray coated my hand when I brought it back in our protective circle and the droplets dripped down through the air to join again the seas. Ripples spread from the first drop that fell and expanded outward as another fell behind it. When the ring came to the edge of the circle of calm, the eye of the storm’s protection, so to speak, it was instantly swallowed up by the chaos surrounding it.
I hadn’t noticed the changes of light as it had been gradually shifting toward darkness. When at last I realized and glanced up, away from the waves battering against the invisible wall, I was surprised to yet again see something new. The space above my head had always felt close and cramped, like at any moment my head might come into contact with some invisible fixation in the air. I unconsciously found myself stooping away from it. But now, the sky overhead was open, free, all the way up to the farthest reaches of man’s sight and farther still. It was spaced randomly with bulbous white shapes I instantly recognized as clouds. All around the sky, these clouds were found, but where the light faded to the edges of the horizontal sight, there it was met with colors of red, orange, yellow, and purple, the colors darkening the farther away they went from a center where the brightest yellow was seen. It almost matched to that a sunset on Earth, but in this, the colors were tolerable in brightness. One could easily watch its ever-changing colors without their eyes feeling the sting of light. For this reason, its beauty surpassed any other sunset I had ever seen or ever did see.
As I stretched out on the water to wait out the long night to come, I thought about how far I had come since the light came to brightness this morning. I went from hesitation to even follow the Spirit to a devotion to Him that came with the near-death of my life. In fact, I thought to myself as I watched the darkness approaching and creeping in from every corner in which it hid, some part of me did die from the drowning in the infinite depths that ever is below. The part of me that doubted, doubted the Spirit and His power, doubted myself, I left behind to sink forever so that I might stand over my fears and walk on water.