I saw Jesus in the lights | AspenTimes.com
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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.