In The Bible, Acts tells the tale of the conversion of Saul, a man who made it his mission to persecute the disciples of Jesus Christ. Paul, as he renamed himself once becoming an apostle, was on a journey from Jerusalem to Damascus when he saw a bright light.
While struck blind, he heard a powerful voice ask, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” This road to Damascus moment was a turning point for Saul. A time when he fundamentally shifted his life’s direction.
No doubt we’ve all had such a moment. Mine was on March 18th. My sister and I had our children in Florida.
We were supposed to stay for three weeks, then enjoy a leisurely road trip back. We flew before mayhem struck, though things swiftly escalated. We were not scared, at least not at first. But things changed by the hour. Still, we felt safe, and were confident we’d get back home out of it – eventually.
At 4am on the 18th I opened an email sent hours prior. It read, news would soon break that boarders would be restricted, get home. We were, at best, 22 hours away from the boarder. A lot can happen, especially with children. By 6 am, we were on the road. With the children waiting in the packed-to-the-gills car, I reminded my sister only the good die young, we laughed, and were off.
We decided it was best to stay a night at the halfway point, Virginia. We entered the address into the GPS. Well, the route was a secondary road. We lost cell service at dusk. We were driving through what can only be described as sketchy areas. The only people we saw on the road were men swinging baseball bats.
We struck a deer and had the life frightened out of us – if it wasn’t already. Thinking we may have tire or other damage in an area where there was no cell service and very few livyers was horrifying. My sister, before she jumped out, clasped her hands together as if in prayer, tilted her head towards the sky and called out our deceased brother’s name, then this plea; “Please, please, let everything be ok.” It was. Even the deer was fine.
We drove on. My hands were shaking so much I had to sit on them. Soon, the houses, while still somewhat sketchy, appeared different. We noticed lights – one solo lit candle per window – in each house we passed. The dusk now looked peaceful. We saw the beauty in the rural, winding road. We felt hope as the time to that night’s destination lessened with each rotation of the trusty tires. Then we saw the beach and the ocean, and a heart etched into the sand with the words, ‘love for us all’ written inside, just outside our deck. We knew it was going to be ok.
Stay Safe – Be Well
In these troubled times, take a moment to look for the light. It could be a quiet moment of reflection and hope. It might be a phone call from a friend or food left on a doorstep. Whatever it is, embrace those moments. The road we’re travelling on now is uncertain, and it’s scary, but if we all look for the positives, this journey can hold many beautiful opportunities and be an amazing turning point for us all. Stay safe. Be well. And most importantly, keep smiling.
Pam Pardy Ghent, The Herald’s Managing Editor, can be reached by emailing [email protected]