Within the rustic building, that we at Charis Bible College affectionately called, “the barn,” I was sitting in class one morning during my first year of school. Arthur Meintjes was teaching on the stage beneath arching beams. On either side of the stone fireplace, sunlight spilled through a row of tall windows overlooking Pikes Peak, which rose behind a dress of pine and milky-blue mist. Breathless wonder swept through my core as I glimpsed the shimmering white caps of the looming beauty. It dared any adventurer to scale its fourteen-thousand-foot summit. The Mountain is a world of its own, that demands exploration.
Nature has a way of bringing us closer to our own foundations. It births a sense of inspiration, like the stars of a night sky, too far away to truly be comprehended – little hints of a much bigger picture. Is there life out there? How much further does the universe reach compared to what we can observe? Does it have an end? What marvels are hidden within the depts of space, that I’ll never know about? It is these intangible mysteries that we itch to understand. I think that’s where our love for fantasy and science fiction come from. It’s that urge to look into new worlds. In my opinion, if you don’t share this same curiosity, are you really human?
I don’t believe the supernatural is just fantasy. The stories I write are products of not just my imagination, but of my experience.
Back inside Charis’ “barn,” I sat on the edge of the right hand, middle row, when all of a sudden, something out of the ordinary happened. The only way I know how to explain, is that bubbles of joy popped up into my heart from deep down. They carried with them an exciting message. “Are you ready for me to do something amazing for you?” It was more like an idea. A voice so quiet, my own thoughts were louder, yet it screamed with such a force I could feel the sound waves.
Anything you want, I’m in, I thought back. I mean, how would you answer God if he basically told you that you’re about to experience power completely out of this world? My heart wouldn’t stop racing. I found myself beaming like a bride on her wedding day. It was similar to the sensations of intoxication, but without all the side effects! There was this peace. It drowned out any doubt that what God just told me was impossible. I didn’t know exactly what he was promising, but I knew it was about to change my life forever.
About a month before that incredible day in the Son-light, I’d been at a small group in Colorado Springs where a bunch of us students were prophesying over each other. I remember my sister gripping my shoulders and gazing straight into my eyes. “You’ve had a desire to draw, like I used to. Don’t you?” she asked. Back in high school, my sister was an incredible artist, and I’d always envied her stable hands and the patience it took her to learn how to shade and jot those tiny details— the ones that made her drawings look like they could walk right off the page.
I’d shelved this desire a long time and hadn’t breathed a word of it to anyone. Writing had always come easy. But drawing . . . it was a butterfly sitting on a flower, drinking nectar. One wrong move, the shift of a finger, one breath, and the butterfly would startle—forever gone as it flutters away, hopeless to be caught.
My sister told me that night at that small group, that I could have that same talent. I just needed to put my pencil to the page.
Fast-forward a month later, after being promised the impossible inside “the barn,” I stuck my pencil against a random page in my purchased collage textbook and drew a flawless picture of bugs bunny. You have to understand that I couldn’t draw a straight line before this. Even an object as simple as a cartoon rabbit was out of my reach.
That was, until that day. In a moment, the blink of an eye, without practice . . . I could draw.
After school, I rushed to Walmart and carefully rummaged through a selection of sketch pads. I picked one called, “sketch diary” held together by spiral rings. On the front cover, it had a drawing of a man playing a saxophone. Through a period of a few weeks, I mastered what other artists told me took them years to learn. I used techniques I didn’t know existed. I was drawing life-like pictures of humans and animals –horses, elephants, leopards.
This was not my ability. If I would take credit for these drawings, I’d be lying. I encountered the supernatural that day, and the effect has carried on even to this moment, as I write this article.
How can I reconcile this experience when people tell me that what we see is all that there is?