The light globe at 46. 
The Golden Light Globe Experience

This event  happened 31 years after the White Globe, when I was 46.  I was at a Billy Graham crusade in Minneapolis, MN, in June 1996.  This was his first, and I figured almost certainly his last, crusade in Minnesota.  This is where he began his ministry, following attendance at a small seminary here and it was still at that time headquarters for his organization, though he did not live in Minnesota.  That was why I was there, for the "event".  I'd seen some of his crusades on television and certainly knew who he was, and since he was then 77, I knew this would probably be the only chance I'd ever have to see him in person.  I didn't believe the particular brand of fire and brimstone that he preached at all, but I was at that time in great spiritual turmoil, for a variety of reasons which I'll detail in the "little more about gene" story that follows this one, but primarily, I was there for the experience of seeing him in person.  I also wanted to se Amy Grant, who was the featured artist during that crusade, :^).  

I said I was in spiritual turmoil then and I meant it, I'll talk more about that in the story which follows this one in the index.  This story needs some context though, ao I need to say a little about that turmoil here.  I was out of work, unsure of what my future held, in a state of major anxiety about that future.  And I was desperately afraid for my youngest son, Brandon, who was then 20 and driving me crazy with his behavior.  I know now that was because he was deeply lost in a horrible drug called crystal meth.   It turned out I had good reason to be worried; he committed suicide 8 months later, just over a month past his 21st birthday, I'll talk more about that in the next story and in the following section entitled Conversations With God which is about the first two books in that series by Neale Donald Walsch and how they, particularly Book 1, saved my own life, literally, in my opinion.
  
I was so involved in my own daily drama then that I had no idea Billy was going to be in Minnesota.  I don't know how I could have been so oblivious because an event of that size had to have been a year, or longer, in the planning, but I actually found out about on its first day by seeing an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about it.  When I read the article, I had the STRONGEST urge to go.  I didn't have much money, but it was free, except for the parking.  I knew I didn't believe what he taught, because as I said, I'd seen some of his television appearances and also because as I was raised I was taken to what were then called tent meetings when I was a child.  In the early 1950's each summer, a traveling preacher would set up a huge tent near Dalbo, MN, and have evening services, preaching fire and brimstone salvation much like what Billy did later on a much larger scale.  

I was SO anxious then, in mid-June 1996, very prone to panic attacks, though I didn't know then that was what they were.   I just had this terrible feeling of something dreadful coming all the time.  I felt I needed a way to find spiritual peace because I could find none in the world at large.  That anxiety I felt within me then just never left me, and I needed a way to calm that horrible fear within me.  ALL I knew then as a possible way to do that, to find peace,  was to return to what I grew up with, the Lutheran faith.  I knew nothing of ANY other means or method, I only I had been taught that God promised peace, even though I'd never found a way to make that a reality in my life.  I'd read the bible from cover to cover by then, more than once, and found more to be afraid of in it than anything to make me feel calm and safe within and within I was tormented.  

I have never been a fan of the Old Testament, too much blood and gore for me.  I could never reconcile the idea of a loving God, telling "His" people to take another people's land and kill everyone already there, men, women and children.  That sort of God did not make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  But I loved the New Testament, even though there was much in it with which I disagreed as well, there were many passages that gave me hope for peace within.  Jesus said He came to replace the "law" with the Truth.  I liked that idea.  I thought the Old Testament NEEDED replacing.  I still think so.  I enjoyed the four Gospels, but my favorite has always been Luke, to me it was the softest and most loving look at the life Jesus led here 2000 years ago.   I loved the writings of Paul, though there was much to disagree with there as well, particularly his view of women, but on the whole, he wrote about love.  Love is the only thing that I thought could save me, that I thought could drive out the horrible anxiety that was so controlling my life then.  If I could only find a way to make that a "living" part of my life.  

I didn't intend to go to that first show, I resisted that urge at first, but the idea of going kept coming back to me.  I tried to ignore that small voice within, but I was SO drawn and so did NOT want to go, at the same time.  I was sort of used to feeling two ways about something at the same time, that was not uncommon for me, but this urge was stronger than my self-control.  I thought what I'd hear would make worse, not better, the anxiety.  I didn't think I needed to be reminded about going to hell; I felt I was sort of already living in it, so I really resisted the idea.  Still, right at 5 pm I was lying on my bed and I "heard" a voice within me say, "go NOW, gene", and I just got up and went, almost feeling I had NO choice, I was SO strongly drawn to go.  You'll hear more about that voice later, in the story about Jenna, I didn't know her then, but I sure "heard" her voice that afternoon.  

So I went, and it all happened so easily, traffic was light, it was as if a path had been prepared for me.  I figured the ramp nearest the stadium where the event was to take place would certainly already be full, but I drove to it anyway, and found a spot to park immediately.  I walked across the street and arrived, with perfect timing, just as the gates opened.  I wanted to be out of everyone’s way when Billy issued his call to come to the floor which I knew was always part of his presentation, so I went all the way up to the top of the stadium because I had NO intention of participating in any of that nonsense.   I sat through the whole thing, enjoying the music, he'd updated things and this wasn't traditional "church" music, it was modernized, full of energetic youngsters, and Amy Grant was wonderful.  

So it was a good experience, I even enjoyed Billy's sermon, there were large screens, what we now call jumbotrons,  scattered around the stadium, so big you could see him perfectly, every pore on his face.  What I remember most from watching him then, was his eyes, striking, strong, piercing, the eyes of an eagle, to me it felt like looking into the eyes of God.  I was still just observing ONLY, but  when he finally issued his call to come to the floor, I  found myself rising, without volition, it was more like being gently pulled upright; and as I stood another slightly larger than softball sized globe, this time bright gold with markings I couldn’t understand, but somehow KNEW were language of some kind, rose out of my chest and burst in the same exact spot and manner as did the white globe 31 years earlier.  This was accompanied by a completely rapturous feeling of awe; just overwhelming love and peace, as I watched the globe rise and burst.  The feeling in those moments was again mesmerizing.  But what it was most strongly was complete, utter love and peace.  I mean it was the essence of perfect love within AND without, it surrounded me, I felt safe and peaceful within for the first time in months, my pervasive anxiety was completely gone.  It was the antithesis of what was in me when I got there, for those few blessed moments, I knew NO fear.  I was in the safest, most loving presence I had ever experienced.  I KNEW that was what "home" felt like.  It was the SAME feeling, I felt in the presence of the white globe 31 years earlier.  Again, no one else, not one person saw what I did.  Believe me if they had, THAT story would have been in the paper the next day.  

I went back to each of the next services, once bringing my oldest son, Evan, with me, to Youth night, hoping to again see that globe, but it never came again.  It was 13 years since that day this past June, 2009.