When I was little, I was convinced there was something in my room, watching me. I had the normal childhood musings that maybe the world really did revolve around me. Maybe everyone I met was simply a figment of my imagination and they ceased to exist when they weren’t with me. Maybe I was being watched by a super secret organisation that wanted to see if I was special enough to be recruited for a super secret mission. One day, someone would see that I was special and enlist me to do something spectacular, like become a ninja warrior. Maybe this world didn’t really exist, but the world inside my dreams did; what if my dreams were right and all things were possible, but we limited our abilities by our ideas of what we could and couldn’t do?
I did not whole heartedly believe any of these imaginings, but they were fun to think about, and I did on occasion jump off of benches flapping my arms to see if I could fly because I could in my dreams. What I did believe though, was that someone was watching me. They were in my room.
I’d lie tucked up in bed, very much alone, when someone would say my name. I would climb out of bed and trudge downstairs in my PJ’s, and ask my parents why they’d called me. Bewildered, they sent me back to bed. It didn’t happen all the time; months would go by and I’d begin to believe I’d imagined it, and then the voice would speak again.
One day in Sunday School, I heard the story of Samuel, a little boy in the Bible, who had heard someone repeatedly calling his name; he went to see his master, who sent him back to bed. This happened several times and then the master realised that God was calling Samuel and told Samuel that the next time the voice spoke, he should reply “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” Excited, I decided that the next time I heard this voice I would repeat these words.
I didn’t tell anyone, even as a child I knew hearing voices was not a good sign. I didn’t want to worry my parents, besides I doubted they’d believe me anyway. The next time I heard the voice, I sat up and tried to say the words, but I got them all muddled. I couldn’t remember precisely what Samuel had said.
There are only so many Bible stories that Sunday School teachers dare tell children, and so eventually the story of Samuel resurfaced. This time, I made sure I memorised the words; I had to get them exactly right.
Upon hearing my name, I sat up in my bed and spoke to the voice; I got the words spot on, but still the voice did not talk to me. I was confused by this. Why call my name but not give me a message? What could possibly be the purpose?