The Happening 2015-69

 The Happening   2015-69 

The history of “The Happening” is told below! It is something that happened and in the happening, changed me forever. I offer this to all now, on my 120th posting of my blog, which I started three months ago, on Dec 16th, 2014. It is the longest post I have made, but I hope you persevere and read it in its entirety. This is about the 5th year anniversary of the event. This week of the Bible story of the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ is a good time to bring this story of what happened to me to the light. Why, because it changed me in a way that I will never forget and will continue to be affected by the change. This is when I brought Jesus Christ into my life on a personal level beyond belief. Read it, think about it and I hope realize that what I experienced was real and not something I made up as a story to present to you for whatever reason.

My story of “The Happening” begins actually from way back as a child.  I never went to church as a child. Christmas and Easter were days where presents and eggs occurred, but they had no religious significance to me.  I joined Beulah Evangelical United Brethren church in Dale, Pa, when I was close to being a teenager, when my Aunt Norma on my mother’s side made my mother more than encourage it. I was a foot taller than any other kids joining that day, after only a couple of weeks of lessons. After I joined, I never went back to that church or to Sunday school, but I was a member of the church and a real Christian in some people’s minds. Or so I wanted to think, perhaps.

Anyhow, I went into the Marines and never went to church and once out of the service, I only went 2-3 times with my Aunt Grace, my mother’s sister, who asked me to go when I moved to Cleveland area. I had no upbringing in a religious nature of reading the Bible, knowing stories of Jesus or anything like that.

I got married and my wife asked me to go to church with her once I was married and I did. I was never “into it” to a degree, but went.  We made our kids go and they did so and willingly as part of their lives.   I kept going, and even was on the church council at one time. All my married life I was a pew sitting church goer, without any conception of why or feelings for God or Jesus Christ.

Fast forward to not that long ago from today. 

During Lent in 2010, it was March 3rd, I went to our church where we live and go to now.  I had been going there for about 7-8 years.  We had the service on Wednesday night and it was going to be followed by a soup supper.  The Pastor asked us to meditate and think of the passage of the Bible he had been talking about, then told us to quietly go into the Narthex for the supper and then meet in the Sunday School room and discuss the meditation we had experienced.

I sat, closed my eyes, and meditated.  That means that I tried to close my mind of other things and concentrate on what the Pastor asked us to think about while doing so.  Then something happened. I had a vision that came to me that was as clear as the Sun in daylight.

I looked at the altar up front or envisioned it.  There, in front of the altar, was a table with men eating and talking to one another with food and drinks on the table. A figure rose and came toward me – walking THROUGH the pews.  I could NOT see his face, but he was dressed in a white covering.  As he came toward me the men at the table stopped talking, turned, and watched and listened to what was happening.

This is obviously a representation of the Last Supper and Jesus Christ coming toward me and I realize that fact now.  It, being Lent, I was influenced and admit it. BUT!!

The man, who I know now was Jesus Christ, stopped in front of me.  He bent down and kissed me on the forehead. I could feel his right cheek on my face as He moved further and whispered in my ear, “YOU WILL”.   With that, He stood up, turned and walked back towards the front of the church. As he did so, the vision of the table, the men there, and of Him, slowly disappeared.

I sat there in a trance. I finally opened my eyes totally and found that I was the ONLY one in the sanctuary, except for a lady at the rear of the church.  The whole congregation there at the time before, had left. I found out later that the lady (L. S.) with me had an experience that same time, but she told me about it only when I told her about my happening months later.  I could hear people talking in the Narthex where we eat, and I got up and staggered out and joined them. I got a bowl of soup and ate it myself as I thought of what had just happened.  The Pastor later asked us to move to the Sunday school room, which we did.

We sat down and the Pastor said, “OK, we are well fed, so let’s begin by telling each other what you experienced during the meditation.”  Nobody said anything, which is sort of normal for groups at times. I raised my hand and he asked, “Yes, what did you get out of it?”  I blurted out, “I saw a vision of Jesus Christ come to me through the pews; He stopped, bent over and kissed me on the forehead. Then He said, “You Will” to me and turned and went back to the table where men were eating.”

The Pastor’s mouth fell, and stayed open.  He blinked and said, “Ah, what do you think that meant?”    I said, in a flippant way, “Maybe it means I will die on the way home tonight” trying to be funny about it.  He got upset and told me “Don’t say that.”  Someone else said, “Awesome”. The conversation went on to other things, and I finally went home.  My wife was not feeling well and did not go to church with me that night and when I got home I told her what happened. She said, “Maybe, you saw Jesus Christ” and left it at that.

Not the end of the story!

I did not know what “YOU WILL” meant. I know I heard it, I felt His cheek on mine, but what did it mean?  For a couple of days I went around wondering what it meant, asking myself “Why ME!” etc. Then I was in my den, just sitting there and something else happened. Out of the blue, without any forewarning, words started to come to me.   One after another words were in my head. I was “hearing” words that I could only attribute to the “YOU WILL”.   The voice was not a booming one, sounding like thunder or deep, or like Charlton Heston with his full voice like Moses.  It was just a voice, telling me words.  I wrote them down and had a total of 26 words.  As I wrote, I had one come to me “Live” so I wrote a next one “Die” and my hand went up and scratched the “Die” out, it was MY word, not His word.   So, I have “YOU WILL” and I now had words. But, what were the meanings to the words?

I did not know if I was making all this up or if it was actually happening to me the way it appeared to be happening, but it was sort of scary to a degree, hearing these come to me.  I thought about the words, wondering what they meant. I tried to guess, but nothing came to me. Upon thinking about it, I would like to believe it was the Holy Spirit talking, but I can’t say for sure, of course, but it is logical to think this way.

Then later in the week, I put the words on my computer and arranged them in alphabetical order from A to Z.  I looked at them and NOTHING came to me at that time.   A day or so later, I was sitting at the same place and then the “meanings” did come to me as fast as I could write them down.

I WILL –  APPRECIATE–  then came the meaning, LIFE IN ITS FULLEST.

I WILLLIVE – came to me as meaning THE WAY GOD WANTS ME TO LIVE

All 26 words had their meanings revealed to me as I wrote the meanings to the words down. I copied the meanings onto the computer and printed them out.  I cut the paper into one inch strips with about 5 words to a strip, with their meanings.    NOW WHAT!!   I had NO IDEA what some, most or all of the words with their meanings meant.  Some were obvious such as the word APPRECIATE with its meaning, but not really.  How will I live my life in its fullest???       Anyhow, we went on vacation  to Alaska and Seattle, about then and I took my stapled pieces of paper with me in my wallet. Every now and then I took them out and wondered what they meant to me.  I remember looking at the frozen glaciers calving and wondering what the words meant. We got back and I still had them in my wallet, and was still wondering.

 The final part of the Happening. Or as Paul Harvey would say, “And now the end of the story.”

I was now thinking differently about God and life more than ever before. Up to then, I was a Christian in name only.  Before, I said the Lord’s Prayer by rote in the past, usually mumbling it as others said it around me. Now I started to really try to understand what I was actually saying. I still did not understand the words or their meanings and the vision still haunted me as something I did not comprehend at all.

In June of 2010, I was sitting outside on our swing. It was after 8:00 PM and the sky was dark from storm clouds coming from the west. The clouds were moving pretty good and it looked like rain soon.  I had been sitting and still thinking about the words and meanings given to me.  I was getting upset that I got them for some reason, since I did not fully understand them.

I looked up at the sky and challenged God!  I said to Him, “God, if what happened with the vision of Jesus Christ, then the words and the meanings to the words were REALLY true and from You, then I want you to strike that tree down in the back of my yard, and I will believe!!!!”  The tree was at the tree line of our yard and woods.

The clouds were rolling overhead, the wind was blowing and I sat there!  I thought about how I saw the vision of Jesus, the words and meanings and then I nodded my head and said, “God, spare the tree, I BELIEVE, I BELIEVE!”  I started to cry with my emotions at that moment.

Then, something happened that I will remember the rest of my life.  As I looked up at the sky that was broiling with black clouds, an opening in the clouds appeared in the shape of an oval. The opening stayed in one place as the clouds pushed around it, sort of like a ship prow having water go around the front of it as it passes through the water.

Beyond the dark clouds there was a vibrant blue sky above the dark cloud layer showing in the oval that was above me.  I looked up in awe as I saw that the blue sky was just a small part of the sky that I could see.  Then, something else happened.  A pure white cloud appeared at about 4 o’clock in the oval and stayed there.  It was in the shape of a fist, which slowly started to change shape into what I thought it was going to be a “cross”.  It kept shifting and it turned into what ONLY, ONLY could be called what looked like — an angel with wings outstretched looking down at me.

I got on my knees and yelled out, “God, God, I do believe, I do believe!!”  I stayed there bawling my eyes out as the oval then collapsed into itself and the dark clouds became one again. I got up from the deck and sat on the swing.  Then, to the west the sun started to set and rays of light came UNDER the dark cloud deck and hit the top of the trees in my back yard, like a halo of light around me. It was like a final goodbye to me from Him above………………. It really was awesome …..!

Since then, my life has been changed forever.  I have told this story as a “witnessing” thing to my congregation, told it to dozens of people that I have met and know, and more importantly I have become a Disciple of Christ.  I have studied mystical writings and authors, have started to read Scripture, somewhat regularly, and have started small groups of various things at church and outside church, and basically changed my life.

I still look at myself as the same old me and feel that God has a purpose for me that I do NOT really know. I have had coaching sessions with my Pastor to fully understand just what this all means. I have only had one person discount what happened to me, and that person has faith issues himself, which I acknowledge as a fact.

When I meditate now, which is daily, I also pray to God and listen for Him to respond, which He does, at times, and I hear Him.  Usually enough to know that He is there and listening to me. My life now is to serve the Lord in any way He desires me to do so. My wife knows this and supports me 100% of the way.  I am the President of Congregation and the Church Council (the lay leaders of the church), where we go. I am involved in outside groups and I am doing what I can do and going from there to somewhere.

You can read this and think I am nuts, which would be a normal reaction. What occurred to me was real and not a figment of my imagination; it happened and that is why I call it, “The Happening”. There IS a God and His Presence is with us always.  

May the Peace of the Lord be with you all !

Den Betts