It'd been a very long time since I'd felt such a familiar, bright warmth wash over me from head to toe. I didn't expect it to come while waiting for a friend to pick out running clothes at The North Face store.
There are a few times in my life I remember having experiences or feelings of a similar kind and magnitude. These were all quite unexpected experiences in otherwise mundane moments. I would be thinking or reflecting almost inadvertently, and the feeling caught me off guard, washing over and through me, picking up my heart and even making it race a little as if to say, "Hey, that thought you just had is not just a casual thought or passing notion: it's something to really pay attention to! It's truth." This came with a feeling so replete with hope and peace, accompanied by what I can only describe as a compelling and surreal clarity towards the future which only time could really confirm or explain but which felt significant. I ascribed religious meaning to them, or at least 'spiritual' meaning: I believed them to be 'of the Spirit', bringing the fruits described in Galatians and carrying a powerfully revelatory, inspirational vibe. They were those moments I couldn't help but make note of and allow to be imprinted on my heart, lest I should forget them completely. I've typically journaled them in some way.
So it was this weekend. Saturday, and I was standing in The North Face store at a local shopping complex, waiting for a friend to try on some running clothes. Not being particularly engaged by the shop's selection, I propped myself up against a rack as my mind wandered to matters other than what was right in front of me, as it often does. I had just bought a copy of one of my all-time favorite movies, Wit, and I was thinking about the movie and some incidental thoughts related to it of a personal nature. Again, it wasn't anything profound or earth-shattering, just some ideas and reflections floating around, and suddenly, that animating warmth washed through me from head to toe, bringing peace, light, and clarity of feeling just as it had the last time I remember experiencing it to that degree, some time ago.
It was as clear to me as anything that this was just what I'd felt before, when I believed such was of God, confirming truth to me through the Spirit. I was a bit taken aback by the onset of this familiar, illuminating, accentuating, serenely confident feeling I had previously thought of as a 'spiritual' thing. I couldn't help but smile softly, quietly to myself, close my eyes, and take it in. I thought, "Well, isn't that interesting? I don't even necessarily believe in a literal God, and what I was thinking about didn't really have anything to do with things religious or spiritual, but I was thinking of something very meaningful to me and close to my heart, and here's this feeling, in the middle of a clothing store." As I thought, another wave washed over me. I didn't try to interpret it, assign meaning to it, deconstruct it, dismiss it, or make it into a prophecy, as much as I have to admit, in full candor, I would have loved for it to be a confirmation of what I was thinking about. I just let it fill me and make me smile. I took the warmth in. I allowed the peace. I set aside muddying it with speculative meaning and explanation in the moment, but I still tried to "listen" to what it might be telling me, whether from within or from without.
I know many would think me a fool not to readily and unquestioningly accept this as a divine manifestation and clear evidence of spiritual learning, that is, if they didn't know what I was thinking about. If they did know, they'd probably either say it was emotion rather than the Spirit, or they might come up with a way of making it fit into their doctrinal understanding. But I have my own ideas about it, even while acknowledging that I can't necessarily fully explain it. I can't, couldn't, deny I felt it. But it's mine, and it's not anyone else's to "explain" or beat me over the head with. What I was thinking about is something I'll keep to myself. Some things are still sacred. And that's nice to know.