White Christmas lights, a remnant from my university residence days, lie on the floor and add a soft glow to the dim room. I am just relaxing, long black hair falling loosely over my shoulders, staring at the neon numbers of my alarm clock. The time it tells me has no significance. Though it says that it is midnight, I feel no weariness in my body or my mind. I know that something is wrong, not just because of my indifference, but because this means that I have officially been up for four consecutive days. During this time, I had cleaned my apartment until it shone and my fingers bled. I realize that although I am not at my sharpest, or my most energetic, I do not feel like crawling under the sheets and welcoming sleep. "This must be what it is like to be outside of time," I murmur to myself, my voice waivering in the air, "this must be what it feels like to be with God in eternity."


I do manage to get to sleep that night. In the following days and weeks, I notice that I am sometimes out of balance in my energy, my sleep, and my efforts, but I manage to complete the semester and spend the summer in this vegetative state, just relaxing. As for those four days, four days of cleaning, writing, and praying, I just attribute them to a pivotal spiritual high that now defines my Christianity.


My third year at university starts and I can feel it slip away. It is imperceptible at first as I am late for everything. I would be running down the hall, five minutes too late to be on time for class, and decide that I would leave out an hour early if necessary. When I am not running around, trying to catch up, I am staring at my bookshelf, filled with thousands of pages that I had not read beforehand. They are so daunting that I try to just breathe. I will eventually try many things, but nothing will give me control over the semester. As I sit there, in the quiet of that evening, I instinctively know that.


I wake up weeks later, under a thick blue blanket, and stare out into the absolute darkness. I had rented a basement suite for an amazing price in this market, but the only window had been covered by a piece of corrugated metal in the backyard. I have no strength to get up and turn on the overhead light. The combination of both means that no light enters the room, preventing me from telling whether it is night or day. I do, however, have my alarm clock, which tells me that I have once again missed my Shakespeare class. I just sink deeper into my bed, defeated. I know that I had messed up on the midterm, ranting in a sleepless state over many injustices, and that there is no way to salvage the course grade. I close my eyes and feel something akin to fear and confusion drain me of even more energy.


Eventually finals come, and I take them, not having slept in a week and delirious with my own insights. I then get on a bus and go to my hometown. When I arrive, I walk down the hill that leads to my home. The evening is growing dark and snowflakes are gently falling, collecting on the ground. I pause, lips parted in shock, as I look up at an angle and notice their sparkle. I look down and see this pathway of diamonds. It is His birthday and God is here. I run home and burst through the door with the news: I have learned what it means to be a Christian. An equal force against my enthusiasm, my mother yells, "No!" Chagrined, I start to feel like I am in this different dimension. If I am really silent and calm, I can hear the angels singing.


So powerful is what I am feeling that I loose orientation with space and time. I try so many theories to make life make sense again, but as I grip the bathroom sink, I lean my head back and cry out silently to God, "What's next?" Hours later, I am admitted into the hospital.








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