|The following are some excerpts from my book entitled: The Threshold of Eternity ~ A
|The Threshold of Eternity ~ A Spiritual Journey,
By Bruce L. Williamson
|From Darkness into Light – A Story of Hope; from Atheism to Belief.
As a child I felt lost and without direction. Family life was dysfunctional and unpredictable, not secure and
stable. It was also emotionally and physically abusive. Most of the time, I felt alone, afraid and unloved.
I had no faith in God. My parents were professed atheists. My father’s mother was a very spiritual woman
who taught me some children’s prayers. For a while, this instilled in me an affinity for God and church. As I
grew, however, my parents’ preference prevailed.
Without proper guidance, I experimented with just about everything at one time or another. I tried drugs,
alcohol, music, sex, dishonesty, thrill seeking and violence. I also thought of killing myself, and inflicted this
threat on my parents, on more than one occasion. Perhaps I was trying to return fear for the fear I felt at
home. Nothing, however, brought sense to my existence or eased my pain. I remember falling on my knees
and crying, “There must be a better life.”
Failing badly, I dropped out of school at seventeen. This was a tragic year, including a car accident in which
my friend was killed.
At the beginning of the next school year I decided to go back. I wanted to be an artist and a good person,
and somehow school seemed an essential ingredient for accomplishing these goals. I worked extremely
hard, but still did not understand the meaning of life, or why I was now making the effort.
While at home during Christmas vacation, I finished my first oil painting. I called on my art teacher to ask if
he would critique it. He said he would. However, when we met, all he did was talk about God. In the same
way my father may have reacted, I stood up and walked out, saying, “These are fairy tales and I am not
going to listen to them.”
A few months later, while at home studying for final exams, at the desk in my room, I reached the end of my
road. I was utterly hopeless and full of anguish and despair. Then, I uttered my first real prayer. I was leaning
back on the rear two legs of my chair and looking up to heaven; my hands were covering my face and
tearing eyes. I cried, “God, some people say you exist. If you do exist, please help me to believe. My mind is
too small and you are too great, too far beyond my powers. Help me for I can’t do this on my own. I don’t
In my turmoil, I slammed my hands on the desk. One hand fell on a pen, and with it I began to scribble in my
frustration. However, the sense of anxiety began to lift as I became aware of a strange, yet real, sensation. It
felt as if someone was actually holding my hand and guiding the pen on the paper. With astonishment, I
looked down and saw my hand completing the last thorn of the crown, on the head of an unmistakable
portrait of Christ.
In the background there was a crucifix, with head bowed and hair
hanging. There was even a nail in the crucified hand. I was ignorant
about the life of Christ, but I knew who it was in the picture. I was
immediately flooded with a joy I had never before known.
I may have wanted change, but I hardly knew how to start, or where to
look. To my surprise God was looking for me. Someone cared for me;
someone outside, and beyond my dingy little world. It was like a sunrise,
but not just a sunrise that instills awe. It was one that brought a whole new
day, and a whole new life. It was a birth. Now, with belief, meaning and
purpose, I set out on a new path.
The Christian dimension of this may seem logical to many, but at that time
I prayed to God in general terms, and He revealed Himself as God in
Christian terms. It is equally significant that he reached me through who I
was; by means of my God given artistic talent.
My desire to do God’s will led me on an amazing odyssey, taking me half-way around the world, to a
seminary in Rome. While there, I had the privilege of meeting and assisting Mother Teresa, whose work
also brought her to Rome. There, under the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, I was ordained a priest, at the
hands of Pope John Paul II. In good will, I gave my all to God but, in time, a clearer and more honest
discernment of God’s will revealed this was not my calling.
My journey and vocation, however, were not always so predictable. In good will I gave my all to God, but my
journey had some unusual twists. God did not always lead me where I expected. My years in the priesthood
were happy, yet not without inner turmoil. In time, a clearer and more honest discernment of God’s will
revealed that the priesthood was not my calling.
For most of my life I kept my conversion story a secret. When on occasion I did share some of it, people
wanted to know more about my life. Now, getting on in my years, I think the time is right to share my story. I
believe it is a gift to be shared, a way of sharing a portion of God’s grace with others. It is not a story about
success, or personal goodness, but about God’s love. This is my spiritual journey ~ a story of God’s mercy. I
hope it will move you to reflect on your own life and give thanks to God for the gifts he has bestowed on you.
The above story is adapted from excerpts of the yet unpublished book: The Threshold of Eternity – A
Spiritual Journey, by Bruce L. Williamson. All contents are copyrighted. Copies of any part are strictly
prohibited by the author. Bruce does accept speaking engagements.
Web: www.WilliamsonArt.com, Email: email@example.com, Cell: 713-927-8517