Yesterday I kind-of understood conversion.
I was cooking, and as I looked out the window, I saw something flash by outside. A person, walking.
Since we’re on the second floor, I knew that couldn’t be real, and a moment later I realized I’d seen the reflection of Kiddo#3 passing behind me, only when I looked out the window, my brain parsed it not as a reflection but as an actual person in motion in midair.
So, false alarm. No flying humans barnstorming my house. Nothing to see here.
But as I returned to cooking, I wondered a bit (because wondering is kind of in the job description of both writer and Christian, let alone that of mother.) As human beings, we don’t see the spiritual realm all that well. Most of what we perceive is shadows and reflections, and we can see God’s hand or not depending on how we focus.
Like looking at reflections in a window, we can discern what we’re perceiving surprisingly well. It takes some mental adjustment, some focus, and some mental reversal. Not effortless, but easily done once we’ve gotten used to doing it. Some things are harder to see, like white objects reflected in a window on a bright day. Other times it doesn’t reflect at all, and we know to wait.
But what happens in that moment when you realize you’re looking at a reflection of something behind you, and you turn to behold it dead in the eye?
That sudden clarity, and understanding, the re-fitting of the world you thought you were seeing versus the world you now actually see? It’s the conversion experience. Literally, “version” meaning “turning.” We turn ourselves and suddenly the dark shadows we need to mentally reverse are there for us in straight-ahead vision.
And how do we explain it to ourselves, that moment when we’re suddenly confronted by reality? The painful decision not to turn back to the ghosts and the barnstorming humans on the second floor?
It happens so often, I think. We observe the world, we pray, we read about God, and everything seems to fit. But then God draws us to view Him in a different way, a truer way. We turn. We see something that fits the data better, and in that moment, we have the choice to embrace the new reality or turn back to look at our comfortable shadows.
Every day, little conversions. It happens between friends, within marriages, in our parenting, in our writing, and in our relationship with God.