In the Acts of the Apostles, Luke describes how St. Paul, journeying to Damascus, was struck by a blinding vision as a prelude to conversion. While few encounter such dramatic moments, we can have similarly transformative experiences — if we pay attention.
In 1975, I (white) visited the Long Island home of my Black grad-school roommate, Donnell, for a Palm Sunday celebration. Those were turbulent times, especially in the Bronx, where our university was located and where we regularly discussed the divisive issue of racism in America.
After Palm Sunday dinner, a group of us took a walk, and Donnell’s niece, between 4 and 5 years of age, approached me. As I slowed down, she reached up, took my hand and led me to our destination, her father’s house.
This was my journey to Damascus, a vision of open-hearted and unconditional acceptance that transcends time, age, race and transforms individuals. Like St. Paul, I was never the same afterward. The divine manifests in ways we never imagine, but hopefully realize, especially when taken by the hand.
James Clauss, Seattle