The sun was shining, but not directly in my eyes, because I was travelling East and it was sometime in the afternoon. I drove this road many times, because it was on the way to my boyfriend’s house. It was sometime in my 20’s. I was leaving his house this time. Going home.
I came down the hill the same as always. The road leveled out completely in a straight path until it reached the road that followed the Mississippi river around into Fort Madison, Iowa. There were railroad tracks across this road. I trusted that the warning lights would work, but I usually slowed down and looked both ways as far as I could, just in case.
This time, I hadn’t reached the railroad tracks yet. I was about 1000 yards away. I don’t know if it was the familiarity of the road that took me, or if it was something else, but suddenly I found myself in a completely different place. No longer driving a car, and no longer in Iowa.
I was sitting in a classroom, much like the ones I had in high school. There were chairs in the room with small desks attached to them. Not all of the seats were filled. There was a board at the front of the room, and a door to the right of the board.
I vaguely remember the teacher announcing that we were going to get to go on a special trip, and if we chose to go, it could be really wonderful. I instantly became very excited. I definitely wanted to go on this trip.
A few other students in the room began grumbling. In fact, there were three of them. One of them I remember was a larger guy, the strongest presence of the three. He and his buddies didn’t want to go. As soon as they expressed this intent, they suddenly disappeared. There was no hesitation of any kind in their disappearance. They didn’t leave the classroom, the just ceased to exist. I don’t know where they went, or if they did. I just knew they weren’t in that classroom anymore.
A woman came through the door at that moment, and I realized this woman was going to tell us about the trip. She began explaining that we would not all be going at once. We would each have our opportunity to be called, and when we did, to follow her. I waited impatiently while other people in the room were called, and as each one was, they went through the classroom door with her.
I couldn’t wait.
I was so excited to go.
When my name was finally called, I was guided through the door at the front of the classroom. I was very excited.
On the other side of the door was a wide expanse of space with nothing in it. It wasn’t particularly dark, but it wasn’t bright, either. It seemed like daylight, but no light was coming from any one source. The floor seemed misty, and the air around us as well, but I still had visibility for a couple hundred yards away on either side.
The only thing I could see were the other students who had left the room before me. They stretched out in a line on either side of me. Everyone was looking forward at something very intently. I wasn’t sure what they were looking at, so I looked ahead to see what I could see.
Just then, I saw earth. Not the planet as a whole, but dirt. You know, ground… soil. There was a mound of it that rose up out of the mist in front of me, and stretched on almost forever.
The more I looked, the more I realized I was seeing a forest. There were tall trees, shrubs, rocks, and something beautiful shining through from behind the forest. A beautiful light. I couldn’t see what the light was, or where it came from, I just saw that it came from the other side of the forest from where I was.
It was then I noticed some of the other people walking towards the light and I could now see there pathways through the forest.
The people on either side of me were looking around, some moving side to side and shifting, trying to decide which trail to take through the forest to get to the light on the other side.
Some had already chosen a path and had stepped up onto the ground and began moving forwards through the forest.
I instantly realized, without anyone actually telling me, that as soon as each individual chose their path and stepped up onto it, it was sealed somehow, so no one else could ever take that same path.
It was theirs alone.
Now I understood why some were hesitating and trying to pick their path as best they could. I figured, “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” So I picked the path directly in front of me and stepped up onto it.
I immediately became aware of a few things as I started walking the path in front of me. One, there was a lot more on this trail than just a leisurely stroll through the woods. Two, it appeared that everyone’s path ended in the same place… at the light, although we each had completely different scenery and terrain to cover in order to get there. I realized also, that I had everything I would need to make this journey.
I’m not entirely sure how I knew this. I just did. As I recognized this, I immediately felt overwhelmed by such an intense feeling of gratitude, it made me want to cry. I was just so grateful to know that I had all I would need. I couldn’t want for anything.
It reminded me of a scripture I had read in the Book of Mormon. (I was raised a Mormon, even though I do not carry their beliefs any longer. At this time, however, I had not yet made that transition.)
In this particular scripture, the main character supposedly met an angel, whereupon he was asked, “What desirest thou?” I remember being taught that at this point in time, he could have asked for anything and been given it. I wondered what I would have asked for at that moment.
I no sooner had this thought, than an angel appeared before me on my path. I assumed it was an angel because it was floating above the ground and was completely white (the way I had been taught angels looked.) The angel asked me, “What desirest thou?”
What does one ask for, when they have already been given everything they need? So I asked for the only thing I could think of that I might want. I said, “A traveling companion.” Someone who would go the whole distance with me.
I knew the moment I asked, there were certain limitations involved in having a traveling companion.
1. They could not walk the same path I was on, because it had been sealed to me alone. Likewise, I could not walk their path either.
2. I could not walk their path for them, just as they could not walk my path for me.
Given these three things, I knew I wanted a traveling companion whose path was at least so close to my own, that we could hold hands across the distance.
I knew also, that I wanted a companion who wasn’t going to get sick of the journey, and sit down at the side of the trail partway there, and either force me to drag them (which would deplete my own energy and slow my progress) or leave them behind to travel alone again.
I wanted a companion who was committed to going the distance, and to doing it by my side.
As I imagined such a companion, and I imagined what it would be like to walk our paths together, I realized that when I was looking ahead, I wasn’t noticing where I was, or what was going on around me.
It was good to look ahead from time to time, because there were often stones in the way, and if I didn’t see them first, I might trip over them. It certainly wasn’t going to stop my progress, but it could slow it down a bit, and my companion would have to wait for me to get up again. I also found that if I looked ahead, I could see stones in their path as well. I made sure I pointed them out, but found if I focused too much on the stones in their path, I was missing the ones on my own. Likewise the same thing would happen when they would be focused on mine.
This understanding proved very valuable when the huge pile of boulders blocking both our paths came into view. This obstacle was not going to be an easy one to get over. We each had to stop holding hands in order to get a hand-hold on what was in front of us. It was very important that we each get ourselves over. There was no way I could succeed if I was trying to push or pull them up, and vice versa.
I assessed the situation carefully, and began to climb the rocks. Once in a while, I would be able to hoist myself up to a platform on the rocks a little higher than they were, and I could stop for a rest and hold out a hand to assist them to where I was. I could even push them slightly beyond me from time to time as well, and they did the same for me.
In the end, however, I couldn’t do the climbing for them, and they couldn’t do mine for me. We each had to get ourselves to the top on our own. It just happened to be much easier and far more enjoyable being able to share the climb with a partner.
I realize that it slowed my progress down when I would stop to assist them, but the sacrifice more than paid off when I was able to get up over tougher obstacles more quickly and easily because of their assistance and support.
Finally, we both reached the top together. It wasn’t a competition to see who could get there first or better than the other. It was a mutual journey, and the victory was ours both to share.
Sitting at the top of the pile of rocks, I could now see where we were going. Stretching out before us was an exquisite valley full of all kinds of vegetation. Beautiful flowers, trees, shrubs, grass, flowing water, waterfalls, rainbows, and birds. Animals abounded everywhere, and there was great joy here in the valley. My companion and I looked at one another with a grin, and set off down the other side, again traveling towards the light.`
Suddenly, I found myself driving a car on a long stretch of road, about 1000 yards away from a set of railroad tracks–the exact same distance away that I had been when the vision started.
No time had passed at all, and I wasn’t any further down the road than when I had “left.”
I have no idea how or why this vision happened to me, but the insights it has given me into life and relationships has been profound.