Andrei Rublev. Virgin Mary. Detail
I woke up, because someone from outside was in my bedroom and stared at me. Gradually, my eyes got used to the darkness, and I realized that this was a woman who was looking at me, dressed strangely, like Soviet Kino superstar Lubov Orlova in the role of a Soviet collective farm milkmaid in rubber boots, wearing a gray dress, belted with a dark apron, her hair tied up with a headscarf, heading to milk a cow at sunrise … But that night, the sunrise was far away, and I, either out of fear or amazement, did not think to get out of bed and turn on the light …
The stranger was saying something to me in an unfamiliar language, but realizing that I did not understand her, she fell silent. However, she continued to stare at me, as if searching in me for some words in my mother tongue. Finally, she spoke quietly and slowly, “You have forgotten me, you are not praying, but I am here now …” She did not finish the sentence, and, as if in search of additional words, she repeated the phrase from the beginning … “You forgot me, you forgot my son, in a foreign country you have forgotten our heavenly father, pray, pray every day … “
She pronounced the words separately and strongly, her eyes did not smile, but she tried to inspire me with something …
Suddenly there was a crash, our old one-story house with a swimming pool and a garden and a ridiculous hillock shuddered, trembled, and it seemed that the house was about to collapse and bury us, and we, I m in a body, my guest in spirit, although I saw her clearly, in full size like a woman of slightly less than average height with huge bright eyes – we rushed to the exit. We had to cross the corridor and run into the bedroom of my nephew Volodya, because from his bedroom the door opened into the garden, right to the pool. He was already in the yard, waiting for me, pointing to an old cypress tree that fell perpendicular, away from the wall of the house, from the very wall behind which Volodya’s bedroom and his bed were standing… It seemed that the cypress tree, like a giant candle, was choosing which way to fall, on the house or away from the house on the hillock. If it would fall directly onto Volodya’s bedroom, it would punch through the roof that has not been repaired for eons, and continuing to fall, bumping right on the head of the sleeping Volodya!
Later, I never asked Volodya if he noticed a third woman, a stranger, who was next to me, carefully examining the fallen tree. It seemed to me that he knew who she was, and was not surprised at her appearance … We talked, sighed, were glad that everything was okay, and the tree did not hurt anyone, and returned to the house, went to our bedrooms.
In my bedroom, a stranger suddenly disappeared. But the whole outer wall of the room was also gone, normally it was leading to the path that led to the garden gate, to the courtyard cleared for parking of visiting guests.
Now, instead of a wall, I was looking at the open starry sky, suddenly it came to life, and I saw our visiting stranger. Unknown forces lifted her upward. She ascended into the night, starlit sky, upright and calm. She no longer saw me, her appearance began to change, rubber boots, Orlova’s attire in her films about collective farmers disappeared … As she rose, moving away from our house, her attire turned into something elegant, trimmed with precious stones, on her head appeared a crown made from the same precious stones. Bright light, no, not sunlight, some Divine Light enveloped her and carried her higher, and the whole vision was dissolved in a sea of golden light. The bedroom wall slid back into place, and the room returned to its usual boring mundane appearance.
Volodya believed my story about this wonderful vision, but no one else did! Once I tried to tell this to an American woman, a clairvoyant in an esoteric literature store … Let’s call her Miriam. She listened to me patiently, becoming more and more upset. She chewed some polite words, but she wanted to tell me that the Mother of God will certainly not come to me, an immigrant. “You, baby, need to see a doctor, not me with your ridiculous stories,” was what she would like to utter instead o saying me a bunch of false soothing words.
Years passed, I grew old, and decided to give my grand-nieces a prayer to the Mother of God, who once saved my nephew, the father of the children, because I know it was She! And something tells me that she showed me who she was , because she wants me to remind people that her help was available to many, if the help would reach her, if asked sincerely and faithfully!
Here is my prayer, which I dared to edit a little freeing it from unnecessary wordiness…
Holy Mother of God, Queen of Heaven,
Carrier of hope
You are a shelter for orphans and wanderers
Protector of the sufferers
Patroness of the offended
You see our pain and sorrow
Help me as a weak
Guide me like a wanderer
You know my difficulties
Resolve them by Your will
You are our help
You are our guardian
You are our good comforter
Mother of God, save me, protect me
Forever and ever, amen.