Visions After junior high school in Ann Arbor, my parents sent me to boarding school in New England. Although it felt like banishment at the time, I now see God was delivering me from a house ruled by a dragon and an inner life haunted by abusive voices. For the most part I thrived in the challenging academic environment where I was raised by my peers instead of parents. That was until I got entangled with boys and drugs and drifted into apathy. It’s hard to discern the difference between spiritual experiences and hallucinogenics, but God broke through. My sophomore year at the University of Michigan I shared a room on the third floor of a co-op house with a friend from junior high. One afternoon I was sitting on the floor of our room listening to “In a Gadda da Vida” by the band Iron Butterfly. I was painting designs on the drawers of my dresser. All of a sudden a man appeared in front of me, as if suspended in a cloud. He was an old man with a long white beard. There were no words connected with the vision, just an overwhelming assurance that I was loved and that I would be okay. After a few seconds, the vision faded and I was perplexed. I considered myself far too sophisticated to believe that God actually looked like an old man with a white beard; that was moronic. So what had I seen? Who had I seen? Had I really seen anything at all? Just then the vision came again and repeated itself. I saw the same face with the same beard, and the same deeply calm and reassuring sense that I was loved. I got up in a burst of ecstasy and rushed out of my room, needing to tell someone what had happened. Out in the hall, on her way to the shared bathroom was the girl who lived in the room below mine, a girl who I jokingly called the devil. She always wore black or dark blue and slinked around the house at night. She looked and talked like a female Bob Dylan. She kept a devil puppet on her bed post. She would never have been my first choice for baring my soul, but I couldn’t contain myself. “Diane,” I blurted, “I think I just saw God.” We quickly re-evaluated our opinions of each other (“Maybe this tall blonde entitled prep school brat was actually interesting.” “Maybe this opinionated self-absorbed Jewish poet had a kind soul.”) and became lifelong friends.