Saturday, July 27, 2013

Way to Damascus

"The Conversion on the Way to Damascus"(detail) by Caravaggio
 The phrase "Way to Damascus" is used to describe a conversion which is dramatic and startling. It is a reference to the biblical story from the New Testament when Paul, on his way from Jerusalem for Syrian Damascus, suddenly sees a blinding light. This light was sudden, immeasurable, and divine... For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. It was actually a moment of intense religious ecstasy. It changed the nature of his spirituality to the deepest parts of his soul.
I think the events that happened on the road to Damascus relate not only to the Apostle Paul, not only to the Christianity, but they also provide a clear picture of the way to God of all people.
We all may have to go to Damascus. Like Paul, perhaps all of us experience to varying degrees the sense of our life, the sense of believing that we will change us or the world and that when we achieve success, we will have arrived at the fullness of the realization.
But when we arrive at that point of success, we still find there's a sense of loneliness, dissatisfactions, a sense of undetermined existential malaise. What we've done, what we've achieved, what we've struggled for, and given our life for somehow has cheated us from the satisfaction and joy we thought it would bring... Sometimes, somehow, all we've done still leaves us empty, disillusioned, and strangely isolated.
While going through a search trying to figure out what's wrong and why we feel the way we do, we may even experience depression and/or a lowering of faith. We may look for answers in our relationships. We may look for answers in new challenges. We may look for answers in new friendships and pursuits. We look for belonging, we look for purpose, we look for a reason for it all.
But, whatever we try, the answers don't least not easily and not immediately. The harder we search, the more frustrated and bewildered we become as we sense a loss of control, a sense that something really important in our lives is missing. It is the beginning of a painful process. It is painful to give up and leave behind a familiar way of life. It's painful to leave behind attitudes which have carried us so far. It's painful that all that we have gone really didn't give us the satisfaction that we really hoped our efforts would give.
Not everyone can face the pain. Not everyone can go through it effectively. Some, due to their fear, will try to deny it, avoid it, or somehow ignore it. But after all the pain, however, the results may be a whole new, more satisfied and spiritual life for those who have endured and gone the whole way to Damascus. After all -
Don’t talk about the journey
say no more
of the path one must take
you are my path
you are my journey
come come come...

No comments: