I saw Jesus in the lights | AspenTimes.com

I saw Jesus in the lights

Su Lum

We’ve all read about people flocking to see the image of the Madonna on a pancake or the statues of saints crying tears of real blood, fantasies that I pooh-poohed as vehemently as any natural born skeptic would, so I was all the more surprised when, writhing with nausea on a bed of nails on the cruise ship Galaxy, I saw the face of Jesus looking down on me from the overhead light fixture.Whoa!I did not experience a religious conversion, but at the moment I was too sick to read or watch TV, and watching Jesus became a preoccupation, kind of like obsessing about the ceiling tiles when you’re in the hospital. If I turned the overhead lights off and the bedside light on, and scrunched down just so, there was Jesus looking straight at me with sympathetic eyes and a sad, downturned mouth. Not sad for me – I never thought that – but sad in general: for what happened to him, what happened to the human race. Maybe sad to be stuck in a light fixture on a cruise ship.”You saw WHAT in the WHAT?” my daughter Hillery said, thinking that I must be sicker than she had imagined.Hillery and her husband, Bruce, are both artists, and I wanted them to see it so they could draw it and verify it. Pen drawings didn’t work at all, and though I made a special trip to the library to cop a pencil, my attempts at replicating the face on paper were hopeless caricatures, versions of the down-turned happy face.”Put your head right here,” I said, thumping the pillow. “Don’t you see it? Don’t you see it?” Hillery thought she saw a Spaniard in profile. “That’s not it – he’s looking right at you. If it looks as if he has a tennis ball in his mouth, that’s the wrong angle.”It reminded me of those posters that were so popular I don’t know how many years ago – the ones that looked like a flat field of dots but when you relaxed your eyes in a special way the poster sprang to life as a scene of arctic wolves. It took me forever to see those wolves, and then I couldn’t see anything BUT wolves.Hillery and Bruce drew what they saw, which looked a lot more like Jesus than what I had drawn, but their hearts weren’t in it – they didn’t really SEE it. “Try taking a picture of him,” I pestered, but of course miracles in a light fixture can’t be photographed, and the results, as they predicted, just showed a knot of fluorescent bulbs in a circle on the ceiling. You need pilgrimages for that kind of thing, and some people will see the wolves or Jesus, and others won’t.If you’re a believer, book room 9087 on Celebrity’s Galaxy cruise ship. The boat is up for renovation, so tempus is fugiting. All I know is I saw what I saw. Su Lum is a longtime local and lifelong agnostic. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


John Colson: I’m ready to talk … are you?


“Do these doubters actually believe that our nation’s health care system, our government, and our news media are locked in some global conspiracy centered around the pandemic?” writes John Colson.

See more