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Heeding the Call
“For in their hearts doth Nature stir them so,
Then people long on pilgrimage to go,
And palmers to be seeking foreign strands,
To distant shrines renowned in sundry lands.”
~ Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
The apparition stood by Samir’s
bedside. In his other life, Samir, a muscular fellow in his forties
with short-cropped hair, was a Druze policeman in northern Israel.
Active in the international peace movement, he was also a father,
husband and an otherwise sensible man not prone to hallucinations.
Still, he could hardly ignore the gaunt man with flowing long hair
and holes in the palms of his hands who appeared before him crying,
“There is a river of blood running through Jerusalem.”
Samir tried to move, but was paralyzed. He tried to speak, but was mute.
Meanwhile, the apparition insisted the policeman draw a picture of him. He wasn’t an artist, and eventually was able to move his lips enough to mutter the excuse, “I have nothing with which to draw.” However, the visitor persevered with his demands. An hour later, when Samir was finally able to stir again, he discovered paper and drawing supplies had mysteriously appeared in his room. So he had no choice, but to follow the stranger’s instructions.
The next morning, clearly still distressed, Samir presented a striking portrait he had drawn to the priest at the rectory where he was staying during the peace conference in Norway. Then he guardedly told the Father about the strange specter who had appeared with his warning. Hearing this story, the priest became equally fearful and gave Samir a large cross to wear during his stay, as well as holy vestments.
A few years later when I met him, Samir was still shaken by the events of that day. He struggled to understand the stranger’s visit and its meaning. Were his words prophetic? Or simply a reminder of the seriousness of the task at hand?
As the world’s “Doomsday Clock” approached two minutes to midnight, the specter’s appearance and its implications could no longer be ignored.
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