(Contnd from entry 94)

stick in hall
(The stick in question Photo: M. Caimbeul)

Effect the fall of the stick had on me

The fall of the stick on five occasions was a profound experience for me. It shattered all the pretences I had in regarding the world from a naturalistic perspective. For both of us, what happened was no less than a miracle. Not merely was one of the fundamental laws of nature broken – the law of gravity – but the stick appeared to be giving us specific messages. I was awestruck. In my younger sceptical days I had wanted proof of the supernatural. Well, here was living proof of an extra-mundane dimension. But more was to come.

The loft access

Road to Damascus’ experiences

But before I carry on with the story, I should make one thing clear. As a Christian, I don’t believe ‘road to Damascus’ experiences are necessary for conversion. As far as I’m aware, most converts don’t have these experiences. What is important is the conviction of being a sinner before a holy God, true repentance and trusting in Jesus Christ, that he died for our sins and rose from the dead, and making a public confession. Everybody is different. I needed something that would break me from the post-Enlightenment scourge of naturalism. Not everybody does.

At the risk of repeating myself, the reason I’m telling our story is because it overturns and refutes the prevailing postmodernist world-view in the West, that there is no supernatural agency or dimension. There is and it has been proved to us beyond doubt in our lives. What I am about to recount is not explicable in naturalistic terms.

A reminder of what happened

A friend from Romania recommended a book to me The Sacred and the Profane by Mircea Eliade. In it Eliade discusses the sacred space. When something deemed to be sacred happened, the person or tribe would commemorate the occasion with a memorial of some kind. Such Jacob did at Bethel when God met with him in a dream. He used the stone on which he had lain his head as a memorial. Reading Eliade’s book reinforced an idea I had to have something to remind us of God’s dealings with us.

Table in hall
(The table in question Photo: M. Caimbeul)

The table placed in the hall

So at the end of 2009 I bought a small table and placed it in the hall with 4 items on it – a candle as a symbol of God, a Turin shroud image of Jesus, an image of the Madonna and child, and a white stone representing the Holy Spirit. (At the time I didn’t have a white dove, but I was to get one later.) This table was meant as a constant reminder of the presence of the Lord.

The first fall of the Jesus picture

On May 28 2012 something remarkable happened. I was walking past the table into the living room when the framed picture of Jesus fell off the table on to the floor. Margaret was in the living room on the other side of the wall from the the table and she heard the clatter. I was entering the living room. She could see that I wasn’t near the picture. We were both dumbstruck. We just didn’t know what it meant.

The phone call

Two minutes later, and before we could discuss it properly, the phone went. It was a poet friend from Wales. We were meant to go to Romania in September for poetry workshops. I had already booked the plane tickets with KLM. We chatted about what we would do in Romania. And all the time at the back of my mind was what had happened with the picture just minutes before, although I didn’t mention it to my friend. I was worried.

When I came off the phone, Margaret and I sat opposite each other with the same question on our minds, What did the fall of the picture mean? We were so worried that very reluctantly I cancelled the trip to Romania.

Bad and good news

It was exactly one month from the fall of the picture that it all began to make sense. The 28th June 2012 is etched on both our memories. It was the day Margaret was given a diagnosis of stomach cancer. The trip could not have happened because in September she was going through a course of chemotherapy. To our minds, the fall of the picture was a warning of what was to come.

Fortunately for Margaret, the cancer was at stage 1 and could be operated on. This happened in November 2012 and we thank God that she has made a full recovery.
(to be contnd)