Books, Belief, Thinking Back and Running with Fingers in My Ears

I am currently listening to the Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan as I fall asleep. It has been really enjoyable and profitable for my faith, in that, Bunyan is providing me an overview of the Christian experience in the form of a well told allegory. It has also lead to a lot of autobiographical reflection on my part.

The story begins with a man living in the City of Destruction becoming aware of his true condition, “I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein; and, as he read, he wept, and trembled; and, not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying, What shall I do?”

He goes home and tells his family and they think him crazy and treat him poorly, so he starts spending his time praying for them and despairing over his condition. On one of these days he is out in the field reading his book and calls out, “what must I do to be saved?!?”

At this moment he meets a man named Evangelist. Evangelist gives him directions to the wicket gate. Upon hearing this, “the man began to run. Now, he had not run far from his own door, but his wife and children, perceiving it, began to cry after him to return; but the man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying, Life! life! eternal life! So he looked not behind him, but fled towards the middle of the plain.”

This vivid word picture of what one looks like when God starts to press down on him the reality of his true condition and what it looks like when we turn and run towards God and away from destruction puts me back in that summer seven years ago when this was me. I remember being miserable and trying so many different things to numb the pain and find a little happiness. And it only made me more miserable. I recall thinking that there had to be more to life than what I was living.As i drew near to God, I also remember how my family began to be troubled by my beliefs because they saw that they were starting to effect how I lived and what I did and did not do. I have been told that I believe in “fair tales” and that I am a “fundamentalist.” But I just put my fingers in my ears and run towards eternal life.

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