Picking my way across the snowy parking lot in the bitter cold, I reach the coffee shop door and hustle inside. I look around. No Michaela. In fact, there's nobody at all except two baristas, one working the drive-through window and the other making drinks, and a lone early bird customer waiting at the far end of the counter.
I glance at my phone. 5:57.
I wonder if the lack of customers has to do with this Chinese virus that has started to spread. Or is it just early and the town is still waking up? It's late February. The arrival of spring is a ways away. The snow is a given this time of year. But the below-zero temperatures are a bit much.
The coronavirus, a deadlier cousin of the flu, has arrived on our shores. So far, no cases have been reported in Montana, but some say it's only a matter of time. Already, cases are cropping up in the Seattle area and California. The rapidly developing story has been on my radar, but I've been working dawn-to-dark hours, so I haven't tracked it as I should. I need to start paying more attention.
My sister had sent me a text the previous evening. "Starbucks on Main 6 am tomorrow. Please be there. I know it's early but just come. It's about writing." Besides a few emojis for emphasis, including her signature shamrock, that was it.
Just come. No explanation except the cryptic comment about writing.
I order and take a seat. Eventually my name is called, and I fetch my drink, a coconut milk latte. I check the time again. 6:05. I tell my sleepy self to chill. I figure she'll be here any minute.
As I'm sipping my latte, my phone pings. I squint at it. Just a backup notice. Where is she?!
I should have driven to her apartment to help her shovel out. We got more snow overnight and it's still coming down. There must be four new inches on top of what we already have.
I consider calling her. I decide to text instead.
Hey, M. I'm here at Starbucks. Where are you? Need help? I can come over.
I expect a message back from her apologizing for running late.
I get nothing.
I let a few more minutes pass before I finally call. I notice I'm already halfway through my latte. The call goes straight to voicemail. I start to worry.
Under my breath, I whisper a prayer for my sister. "Archangel Michael, protect Michaela! Lord Michael before, Lord Michael behind..."
With Michaela's kids grown and gone and her ex-husband long gone—they divorced years ago—it dawns on me that it's just her venturing out in the cold to dig out from the storm and start her car. Time to head over. I grab my phone and my coffee and leave Starbucks. Bent over and bundled against the blowing snow, I hurry to my car and jump inside. As I'm turning the key in the ignition, my phone rings. It's Michaela.
"I’m so sorry, Nick!" she begins. "First the car wouldn't start. It's so cold! I had to ask my neighbor to give me a jump. Thank God he was up early. He was so nice about it. Then I couldn't find my phone. I'm so sorry! Are you still at Starbucks? I can be there in like . . . ten minutes. I really need to talk to you."
"Slow down, Michaela! I'm just happy you're not stuck in a snowbank somewhere."
I smile to myself, grateful for my marvelous big sister. She really is quite something. She's had it rough, raising four rambunctious boys all by herself. She says she wouldn't have traded it for the world, but still she's had to sacrifice so much. Good thing she is spiritual to the core. She so loves the masters. She's especially close to Jesus, Mother Mary and Kuan Yin. They have always been her rock and her refuge.
"I've still got a bit of time before work, so I'll be here," I tell her. "And don't rush, the roads are super slippery."
I sense my sister relax.
"And what's this about writing?" I remember to ask.
A pause, as if she's remembering too.
"Nick, have you been following what's happening with COVID-19?"
"The virus, Nick. Have you been paying attention?"
"Not like I should, looks like. I've been slammed at work, Michaela. Been working six days a week, and this weather's just brutal to be out in. All I do, end of the day, is drive home, crawl into the shower, eat something, and crash. Then get up the next morning and do it again."
I can almost hear my sister's mind whirring.
"Well then, as you haven't been following this beast closely, let me paint a picture. See that wave way out there in the ocean?"
"Not following you, M," I interrupt.
"Patience, Nick. You know my stories. Just listen. That wave way out there, the one that looks bigger than the rest, that's this virus, Nick. And it's not just any wave; it's a tsunami. And we're going to need to get off the beach, all of us."
"This is that bad?" I ask lamely.
"Yes, Nick, that bad."
"So, is this the real reason you asked me to meet? You said it's about writing."
"It's the elephant in the background of what I want to talk to you about, which is our writing, Nick. I'll be there in, like, thirteen minutes. You sure you can wait?"
"I'm sure. See you in ... thirteen minutes."
"On my way, shining brother."
More than twenty minutes later, my sister finally arrives at Starbucks. The heavy snow has snarled traffic. The coffee shop is beginning to see more action—students mostly, both high schoolers and college kids. It takes her a while to order her mint green tea.
“I’m really sorry, Nick,” she repeats for the third time as she plops down across from me and unzips her ski jacket.
“No worries,” I reply.
“Thanks for being so patient,” she says then launches in. “Why I was so anxious for us to meet is, yes, this virus bearing down on us, but also this dream I’ve been having. Both are important, Nick.”
While waiting for Michaela, I had used my phone to surf the internet for projections about the coronavirus. The stories alarm me. A worldwide pandemic, they’re calling it. I can’t even fathom what that means. I wonder how many others, like me, are just beginning to get a sense of what’s coming. Michaela cradles her tea with both hands and takes a sip.
“Great hand warmer,” I observe. “I’m coming up to speed on the virus, Michaela. We need to discuss it but there’s no time now. Huge subject. So how about we start with that dream of yours? There was a gleam in your eye when you mentioned it.”
Michaela’s eyes sparkle. I wasn’t imagining.
“Nick, it’s way more than a dream, and I keep having it,” she begins. “I’m in a white room, a rotunda with windows or openings to the stars—I don’t know which—up high. Light is pouring in. Serious light. Waves of light. Niagara Falls serious.”
“Serious light, got it,” I reply, not so brilliantly. But I’m paying attention. I’ve learned over the years that my sister has a gift. Soul remembering, I guess you could call it. Not that she calls it anything, because it’s not something she talks about. But from time to time I’ve caught hints.
In this case, I think I know what she’s getting at. Though she doesn’t come out and say it—again, that’s not her style—she is, I’m pretty sure, remembering an out-of-body visit to an etheric retreat of the ascended masters.
Her next words snap me back from my musings.
“The night before last I was there again, Nick. But this time, you were there too. That’s why we have to talk.”
Shifting from the sublime to the mundane, I remember to check the time. It’s later than I think. Unless I leave soon, I’ll be late for work. And there’s the snow to factor in. I glance outside. Still coming down hard. Dismayed that I have to leave in the middle of my sister’s revelation, I’m the one who’s now apologizing. I get up and shrug into my coat.
“My fault I didn’t get here on time,” Michaela replies. “How about coming by tonight? I’ll cook you a scrumptious dinner and we can talk without being in such a hurry. Lots to discuss.”
“Scrumptious, eh? I’d love that, M. I can come straight from work, if that works. Say 6:15?”
“See you then.”
"Forces are converging, Nick. One seems almost apocalyptic. But the light is oncoming too. Awful and awesome, side by side. Oldest story in the book. And we know the script, Nick. Fight the awful with the light. See you tonight.”
With my sister’s poetic words on my mind, I head out into the harsh winter morning.
True to her word, Michaela's dinner is scrumptious. Grilled salmon, a yummy salad with beets, peas, avocado and walnuts, and a delicately spiced cauliflower cashew soup. A ray of sunshine amidst our hushed talk of the virus and its many terrible implications. It's clear to me now that life as we know it will soon be grinding to a halt.
"Not much fun to talk about, but needed, especially for me," I comment. "My head was in the sand on this. That word 'pandemic' sobers you."
"Enough on the virus for one night," Michaela says. "Let's change the subject, shall we?"
"Amen to that. Well, I'll start by saying this was a super-scrumptious meal—not just plain old scrumptious, but super scrumptious!"
"Thank you, Nick. Having my brother over is worth the effort."
"I'm itching to hear the rest of your story, M. It sounds like you were remembering not just a dream, but a journey. Am I right?"
"It was. You know how you always say you wish you could become more effective with reaching souls with the teachings? You know you love to write, and me too! There's that high adventure novel of saints and angels that sits languishing on my hard drive. How many years have I been working on that?"
"More like nine and counting. Before I had the excuse of being a working mom, but the boys are all out of the house now."
I wonder where this is going and what it has to do with my sister's dream that was more than a dream. She seems to read my mind.
"So... about the dream. It's not a dream; it's a class. We're in school, Nick. Both of us. In the same retreat. We're being taught and the subject is touching seekers' hearts with the teachings. With the written word. And I wake up with this powerful desire to figure out how to put what I'm learning up there into practice down here. Nick, I need to get unstuck with my writing."
"And this time you were there too, so what does that say? To me it says you need to raise your game too. My deepest sense is the masters need every one of us to max out our talents for the Brotherhood, in humility but still the very best we can."
I sit with my sister's analysis, trying to stay calm. But excitement is stirring in me. What she is saying rings true. I feel my heart thrill to the possibility of finally pursuing a path I've long believed is part of my divine plan. But then questions appear. How in the world do we transfer our etheric lessons into effective earthly endeavors? And how do we learn how to craft prose that inspires souls and reaches El Morya's one million? It's not like there's a university course on the subject.
Sounds like a pretty tall mountain. But there's got to be a way. Whatever the case, I'm finally admitting to myself that I need better climbing gear, metaphorically speaking. Better tools.
"I hear you," I finally say. "This is powerful. We're in a master's masterclass together and you're remembering us being there."
"Yes, Nick, we are. And you really were shining, like your Presence was right over you."
"We've got to figure this out," I say, suddenly determined to overcome whatever has held me back until now. Both of us have to pursue this, I'm absolutely convinced. But how? Well, at least I know where to start.
As I drive slowly home through the softly falling snow, I begin making the calls.
It is early April. Holy Week is upon us. We need the resurrection spirit of Jesus now more than ever. Thankfully, the weather is finally warming. The snow around town has melted, though snowcaps linger on the peaks of the mountains that surround our valley.
Across the globe, the coronavirus marches on. Social distancing is now the norm. Perhaps a few hermits haven’t yet heard the term, but every other soul on the planet has. I still have my foreman’s job, as construction has been deemed essential, but so many others have lost theirs or had their hours reduced.
Michaela is still working too, long hours like me, except she’s now on nights. Nurses are needed more than ever. I haven’t forgotten the last time we visited—the dinner we shared, and the dream too, her dream with me in it. At odd moments I find myself remembering that special evening. We’ve both just been praying for guidance since, on top of our calls for heaven to intercede against the invisible scourge that is upon the world. The war on the virus is top priority, and it’s as much a spiritual war as anything.
Just after sundown, Michaela phones me.
"Nick, I know we haven’t talked much lately, but there’s something new, and I think it’s important."
"I just left work, Michaela, so let me pull over." I turn into a business complex and park.
"OK, what’s up?"
I hear my sister take a breath. "It has to do with... Nick, I’ve been waking up these last couple of days with this deep sense of belonging."
"Sorry, I know I’m being vague."
My sister often has a roundabout way of getting to her point. But she always arrives, sooner or later. I’ve learned over the years to just go along for the ride, trusting that she’ll get there eventually.
"The memory is kind of opaque," she continues. "You know how dreams wisp away as soon as you wake up? Well, that’s what happens to this one. I have a hard time remembering all of it."
Dreams wisp away. Michaela has a way with words. I wait for her to remember more.
"I am a member of a club of sorts, and I am so happy about it," she explains. "It’s some kind of artist or tradesman group. I need their kind of skills to belong. And I have them."
A club of artists or tradesmen?
Then it hits me.
"Michaela, I think you’re dreaming of being in a guild."
"A guild? Weren’t there guilds in the Middle Ages?"
"Yes, but there are guilds today, too. A carpenters’ union is a type of guild, isn’t it?"
"I guess so. But what does being in a guild have to do with what we’re learning in the retreats?"
"Don’t know yet, M. But I’m going to find out."
"Me too," she declares without skipping a beat. "The masters will show us. We just have to ask."
I smile at my sister’s burst of enthusiasm.
"Well then, let’s both do exactly that, and see what appears," I say.
"I’m on it, Nick. Later. Bye."
I say goodbye, pull out of the lot and continue my drive. Instead of going home, I decide to head west out of town into farm country. The rolling hills lie fallow. It’s still too early for the farmers to plant. There’s no one else on the road. A quiet drive. Time to reflect and pray for inspiration.
It pops into my head that there was an ascended master who once called for a guild. Who was that? And what kind of a guild was it? I make a mental note to look it up.
As soon as I arrive home from my country drive, Michaela calls me on Zoom, our new favorite toy. Her face is lit with excitement.
"I can't believe I didn't think of him before, Nick," she says. "It's Hermes, God Mercury. Let me read you this. It's from a 1993 dictation entitled The Guild of God Mercury. I just found it in Pearls Search. Hermes is calling for a course—a course, Nick!—for those who are willing to 'work hard to sharpen the pen of the mind and join the fraternity of those who will once again bring knowledge to the world through the printed word...'"
"He says 'the printed word?'"
"It’s right here in letters of living gold. Actually, black and white, but let me finish the quote. He says this course is to teach us how to 'bring the knowledge to the world through the printed word—not only knowledge of what is and what is not but knowledge of the greater mysteries of God that we have handed down and that have been lost and that must be found again.'"
I digest what Michaela is telling me, in awe of what Hermes asked for a long time ago—and is still waiting for, I suspect. My mind begins to connect dots. I don't recall any Summit Lighthouse courses that ever focused on how to write about the teachings. Maybe that’s why my sister and I, and others, I'm sure, are taking a communication class in a retreat. But how do we bring what we're learning in the etheric into our work down here? Quite the challenge, that. A complementary course of study down here would help, obviously.
"It says right here, Nick, that this will be an 'opportunity for those of you who must reacquire the skills of the writers' guild of Mercury to receive training in writing at Summit University.' Then he says, 'For you have these skills on the tip of the mind and the tip of the pen at inner levels but you have not sharpened them in this life. You must sharpen your tools, beloved ones! You have no time or ink to lose.'"
"That’s amazing, M! I wonder why S.U. never gave a course like this?"
"Maybe they just didn't have the time or the people. Could be a half-dozen reasons."
My mind races ahead.
"I remember a conversation with a friend about a month ago. One thing she said stuck out. It was about Summit University. She said she heard that S.U. is going to be coming out with courses very different than what they've ever done before. I also heard they're ramping up to fill the gap caused by all the live events being cancelled. I tried to find out more about their new courses, but she didn't have any have details beyond that. So that's clue number one."
"Nick, you're thinking out loud. Be careful."
"Funny. Now, here's clue number two. In a separate conversation with another person who works down at the Ranch, out of the blue he says to me, 'Nick, we really need writers.'"
"Wow! Something's happening."
"I'm getting the same feeling."
"We need to find out what," my sister declares, determination in her voice. "Do you think maybe S.U. is getting ready to launch the course Hermes asked for way back then?"
"We need to ask around, Nick."
"Well, we still have our phones, and email, quarantine or no quarantine."
"And Zoom too," Michaela adds, gesturing for emphasis.
"Well then, let's start reaching out," I declare. "And see what we find."
What an extraordinary time! A battered and bruised world, sheltering for months from a deadly virus, has cautiously begun to emerge, as if following the lead of the risen Christ at Eastertide.
The month of May has arrived. Soon, spring will blossom and with it hope for the future, we pray. Michaela and I hold fast to our God and the masters. We stay safe, even though we're both still working, and blessed to be. But we're wondering, in the midst of such a global catastrophe, what the two of us—just two ordinary people among billions—can do to help people find a higher way out than just accepting a new normal of a more dangerous planet. How can we bring the knowledge of the violet flame to the millions that need it now more than ever?
Last evening, in a serendipitous moment, I had just dialed Michaela on my cellphone when the distinct wop-wop sounds of an incoming Zoom call rang out from my computer speakers. Crisscrossing the ethers with our calls, Michaela and I were reaching out to each other at the exact same moment—with the exact same news.
I disconnected my outbound call and answered Zoom. My sister burst into my ears like a parade.
"Guess what, Nick? We guessed right. Tuned in, as they say. Summit University is launching a course—scratch that, not just a single course, but an entire program—geared to teaching writers to... are you ready for this?!"
Because I had just heard from a friend who'd called me with the news—that's why I was calling Michaela—I knew what my sister was about to shout from the rooftops. However, there was no way I was going to spoil her fun, so I happily played along.
"I'm holding onto my hat, M. You better sit down yourself or you might blast off. You're so excited!"
"I'm thrilled, Nick. The dream of a writers' guild that Hermes called for all those years ago is finally going to happen! Summit University just announced the program! It will train writers on how to write about the teachings, then they—and 'they' will include you and me—will become part of a newly created Summit Lighthouse Writers' Guild, just as Hermes envisioned and called for back then. With all that we’re going to learn, we may even be able to join directly in the Summit's effort to find the one million lightbearers!"
"Michaela was grinning from ear to ear.
"Praise God," I say with all my heart. I'm now certain that a big new chunk of my destiny is calling. And after all we've gone through in these past months, I'm ready to jump right in.
If our story spoke to your heart—if you, too, like Nick and Michaela, feel a calling to sharpen your writing skills and put them at the disposal of the ascended masters—now is the time. If you feel the tugging at your heart and soul to become part of the Guild of God Mercury, then join us for a series of four free Writers’ Guild Conversations and explore with us how you can start writing for the Great White Brotherhood. The SU team is very excited about this new program and hopes you will hop aboard. Adventure awaits!