love’s light – a revelation

Early morning, Sunday, September 13, I was stricken – suddenly incapacitated, unable to stand, sweating profusely, my breathing labored and shallow, my consciousness rapidly waning. A terrifying moment. Less for me as I was barely (really, not at all) alert. More, I believe, for Pontheolla who swiftly came to my aid, calling 911, and staying with me from the trip to the ER and throughout the 4-day hospital stay.

After a battery of tests – including an echocardiogram (at the end, the sonographer saying, “You’ll be pleased to know you have a heart and it’s in the right place!” to which I quipped, “I bet you say that to all your patients!”), an examination of my carotid arteries, and a proposed cranial CT scan (to rule out the occurrence of a heart attack or a stroke) – the findings, as far as this medical layperson can discern, is that I experienced the proverbial “perfect storm”; the confluence, the collision of several factors erupting into a health crisis.

Today, continuing to reflect on a revelation that, like a beacon of light, came to me amidst the shadows of my unconscious infirmity, my gratitude deepens.


The revelation? Whether I lived or died, I knew that I was loved. By Pontheolla and our daughter Kristin, and by others. Many others. Loved with an unconditional benevolence I cannot earn and I do not deserve. Loved because and in spite of who I am. Loved in a way so profoundly beatific (though, yes, in this earthly realm, affected by our always limited human capacities) that it mirrors the God who is Love.

As a student of scripture and a Christian, I believe in this love. Many are the moments this love has been made known to me from others and, I daresay, I have shown to others. Still, I am certain that heretofore I did not awaken each morning, rise from rest, walk through the day, and lay down again at eventide with a breath-by-breath awareness of being enveloped by love. I do now.

4 thoughts on “love’s light – a revelation

  1. Paul,

    This is Amazing!! It’s taken you many years to come to this realization of how loved you are, (and by countless numbers of people I might add!)

    That said, I’m thrilled that you are embracing all the love now and that EACH day you wake up you’re aware of it! That makes me smile!!

    I’m sorry that it took a serious incident with your health for you to become more aware of it and to embrace it, but I think it happens that way for many people – facing a serious issue and then “seeing the light” so to speak.

    You love so many people, and my experience is that you love unconditionally with everything in you, so for me it’s fitting that you can now see more clearly and feel more easily, the power and
    intensity with which those in your life love you.

    Now that you are where you are, just soak it all in my friend. Much love to you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Paul–We are so grateful that you survived this health crisis, and that it has brought with it the gift of recognition that you are deeply and unconditionally loved. We have always been grateful that you and the St. Mark’s congregation came into Christine’s life when she was so far from home and family. And so thankful that you came all the way to Oregon to officiate at her wedding. We all felt the love and joy that both you and Pontheolla brought to the occasion. We thank God for your life, your ministry, and your wonderful life partner! Much love and continued prayers coming to you from Oregon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks, Loretta, for your encouragement. You’ve finally broken through my thick skull/soul! It is a paradox, I think, to acknowledge the love of others that is not and cannot be conditioned on my deserving/earning AND to accept it when so much of what we’ve/I’ve been taught by family tutelage and culture is rooted in a view of meritocracy (i.e., what you achieve, you receive). Perhaps, as I immediately rethink what I wrote, the paradox reflects the nature and being of God, who, according to Isaiah 55, has ways and thoughts that our not ours.

    Liked by 1 person

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