..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Stories of Conversion: Anne Lamott

I've decided to post some accounts
of people's conversions. I came upon
this, Anne Lammott's account of her
conversion. (If you haven't read
Anne Lammott, you've missed a treat--
but know she's not your grandmother's
style of Christian!).

This is simply poignant:

"After a while, as I lay there,
I became aware of someone with me,
hunkered down in the corner, and I
just assumed it was my father,
whose presence I had felt over the
years when I was frightened and alone.
The feeling was so strong that I
actually turned on the light for a
moment to make sure no one was there
--of course, there wasn't. But after
a while, in the dark again, I knew
beyond any doubt that it was Jesus.
I felt him as surely as I feel my dog
lying nearby as I write this."

"And I was appalled... I thought
about what everyone would think of me
if I became a Christian, and it seemed
an utterly impossible thing that simply
could not be allowed to happen. I turned
to the wall and said out loud, "I would
rather die."

"I felt Him just sitting there on His
haunches in the corner of my sleeping loft,
watching me with patience and love, and I
squinched my eyes shut, but that didn't
help because that's not what I was seeing
Him with."

"Finally I fell asleep, and in the morning,
He was gone."

"This experience spooked me badly, but I
thought it was just an apparition, born of
fear and self-loathing and booze and loss of
blood. But then everywhere I went, I had the
feeling that a little cat was following me,
wanting me to reach down and pick it up,
wanting me to open the door and let it in.
But I knew what would happen: you let a cat
in one time, give it a little milk, and then
it stays forever... "

"And one week later, when I went back to
church, I was so hungover that I couldn't
stand up for the songs, and this time I
stayed for the sermon, which I just thought
was so ridiculous, like someone trying to
convince me of the existence of extraterrestrials,
but the last song was so deep and raw and pure
that I could not escape. It was as if the people
were singing in between the notes, weeping and
joyful at the same time, and I felt like their
voices or something was rocking me in its bosom,
holding me like a scared kid, and I opened up to
that feeling--and it washed over me."

"I began to cry and left before the benediction,
and I raced home and felt the little cat running
at my heels, and I walked down the dock past
dozens of potted flowers, under a sky as blue as
one of God's own dreams, and I opened the door
to my houseboat, and I stood there a minute,
and then I hung my head and said... 'I quit.'
I took a long deep breath and said out loud,
'All right. You can come in.'"

"So this was my beautiful moment of conversion."

--Anne Lammott, Traveling Mercies

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