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There are stories that go on and on, seemingly by themselves.
One says when I saw the light, I was blinded for months, and I holed up, silent, until God sent someone to heal me. Then, the story goes, I jumped up and began my mission.
It’s a great story. I can see why people like it. It might not be accurate, but in some ways it might be true.
There’s a difference, you know.
I remember a flash, a thunderbolt. Everything disappeared in blue-white light, which sounds more fun than it was. This light of truth, it’s painful. It’s hard to describe, and harder to deny.
In the midst of that blinding light, a man stood in front of me. Actually, he floated. We weren’t standing anywhere on earth. He was someone I’d actively hated for years, although we’d never met. Maybe I was just afraid of his power and didn’t know the difference. I’d been passionately stamping out all of his ideas—and his followers. They called him The Master. Anyway, he looked at me and asked: “Why do you persecute me?”
In another flash, I realized I didn’t have a good answer.
Was it a trip to another dimension or a migraine? It was hot and I was tired. But what is reality, really? Even in—or especially in—our everyday lives full of things we can touch and taste and smell, we delude ourselves most of the time. No, truth is a physical experience, something you feel in your gut and heart. Sometimes, you need a hangover or a serious headache to break down your mind’s defenses, to be quiet enough to let the truth in.
I didn’t have a reason to hate the guy. While I thought about it, I had to look at him, really look. I started to see the sheer beauty of his humanity.
Once you’ve seen that in a person, it’s impossible to hate him.
When I came back from that place where everything seemed so simple and clear, I faced a pea-soup fog. It was the same world I’d left, but my old ways of seeing and operating in it had been swept away.
So had my place in it.
The past was invalid. There was no roadmap to the future. I waited. I prayed a little, but mostly I just tried not to be terrified, which wasn’t easy. I went for long walks. The rhythm of movement seemed to help.
Then one day, while I was drifting along without any beliefs or traditions to rely on, a man said something very ordinary: “The weather is good today. It’s a good day for planting.”
A switch flipped, and I could finally see a dim, fuzzy, intermittent picture of where I needed to go. It wasn’t as clear as the guy in the blinding pool of light, but it was the real vision.
published 1 November 2011
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