One day I sat on the edge of a high hospital roof swinging my legs in the air like I was a little girl.
Except I was twenty-five. And although in my youth I loved to climb trees, there was no way I could have climbed on to that roof. I flew. And it wasn’t actually day-time either. It was in the middle of the night; under a dark, cloudless sky; under the stars and moon.
And I know what you’re thinking…. that this far-fetched tale belongs in the pages of Alice in Wonderland. But it’s true.
I’ve never written about it before. I don’t think about it much. But when I do, it comes back to me as clear as if it happened yesterday. I still don’t understand it.
Thirty years ago I woke in the morning and looked over the side of my hospital bed, just to make sure that my newborn son was still there. He was. Snuggled safe; sleeping tight; lying on his side; just one day old.
Later that day, my husband came to visit and I told him about the weird and wonderful dream I had in the night, of how I flew out of my body through the window, and sat on a high rooftop somewhere in the dark, and swung my legs over the edge and laughed. How I felt full of an inexplicable and uncontainable joy after the birth of our first son.
How I was suddenly overtaken with the feeling of having to return, because it wasn’t safe. And how I fearlessly jumped off the edge and was reeled back into my body, like one of those tape measures that skitters swiftly back into place when the button is released.
It felt SO real David, I say.
Then I forgot about it.
And it’s not until a few days later, when we leave the hospital to go home, and I climb in to the car with my new baby snug in my arms, and turn to glance through the back window at the hospital as we leave, that I see it.
There’s the flat roof. There’s the windows. I see that tall hospital building reaching high into the sky. And I know that’s where I sat, swinging my legs in the dark, right on the very edge. And I know it was no dream.
I don’t know why it happened. I don’t understand it.
Like Nicodemus, the intellectual, who came to Jesus at night, who just couldn’t fathom how the spirit blows where it will, or comprehend the things that Jesus tried to explain, the things that point towards another realm, those inexplicable moments that whisper:
there is more to this life that we mere humans can ever know.
And what happened to me that night thirty years ago? There’s no rational explanation. But it was real.
I’ll never understand how that feeling of pure and utter joy, that sheer elation, could fill my soul and make it fly.
But it did.