A staggering story just landed in our inbox. The reader begins by recalling a moment of divine revelation at a very early age, followed a few years later by a suicide bombing at his school that left him mangled for life:
I suppose the Sunday School teacher of the church three houses down the street from ours had just said something crucial to me. Had it been on the morning of that day? Because I remember a day when my field of vision to the right oriented me as being perpendicular to approximate middle C of the keyboard of our upright piano, which I saw out of the corner of my eye as I toddled toward something in our living room, or maybe toward the hallway, which turned to the right and led to my bedroom with the small round mirror on the right wall just inside the room.
It was in that moment I was irradiated with the knowledge that Jesus was the son of God, my God, the one with whom, as the writer to the Hebrews says, I had to do. The feeling that accompanied this sureness is best called ecstasy, though bliss will do.
If I was four years old, I couldn’t have been four years and two months old, because by then we’d left that simple little Levittown-like new house in the Belleville neighborhood, just west of downtown South Bend, Indiana, for Houston. There, three years later, I was almost killed in a mass murder that killed my two best friends, another little boy, and two impossibly courageous adults who tried desperately to save our lives.