Tuesday, January 26, 2010

St. Paul, a Treadmill, and a Lightbulb

Monday was the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. During his homily, Father stressed that the true force of Paul's conversion were the actions that came from it; he didn't simply experience an internal change of heart. St. Paul took that internal change out into the world. We are all called to do the same with our own conversions, even (perhaps especially) the mini-conversions we experience through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

About an hour after mass had ended, I stepped onto the treadmill. My mind was buzzing with a bunch of different things: the day's to-do list, meal planning, lesson plans, the weather, etc. I plugged my ear buds into my ears, set the speed and started running.

The treadmill is in the corner of my bedroom. There are six recessed lights in the ceiling, and the one just above the treadmill burned out months ago. I can't change it; even with a stepstool, I am too short to reach the bulb. I never seem to have a fresh lightbulb, a stepstool and DH in the bedroom at the same time, and since I don't read on the treadmill, it's seemed like a minor issue, not worth worrying about.

So, to set the scene, it's Monday morning, and I am running on the treadmill, with soft lighting coming from the partly-dimmed remaining lights in the room. I've gotten into a groove physically, gotten through the mental to-do list, and I find my mind wandering back to Father's homily from that morning: more specifically, how am I bringing my conversions out into the world? How can I do better?

I was jolted from my reverie by a bright light. I actually gave a little yelp and turned around quickly, expecting to see one of my children near the lightswitch. No one was there. I couldn't figure out where the brightness was coming from. I kept running (treadmills being what they are), and noticed that my iPod is playing John Mellencamp's "Authority."

I fight authority; authority always wins reverberates in my ears. I run for about another minute before I realize why the room is brighter. The burned-out bulb above me is glowing brightly.

I fight authority; authority always wins repeats again in my ears. I think of St. Paul. I think how this morning, we celebrated the bright light that preceded God's voice in his ears... and the message he needed to hear that day on the road to Damascus.

Now, don't for a moment think that I am confusing myself with St. Paul... but the question begs: is there something here, something in the fighting of authority that I need to take to heart?

Hmmm.... food for prayer, at the very least.

[For the record, after I'd finished running and showered, I noticed that the bulb was burned out again... and it's remained so ever since].

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