“Travelling In,” by Monica Furlong

During the two years just before and after I was twenty I had two experiences which led to religious conversion.  The first occurred when I was waiting at a bus stop on a wet afternoon.  It was opposite the Odeon cinema, outside the station, and I was surrounded by people, shops, cars.  A friend was with me. All of a sudden, for no apparent reason, everything looked different.  Everything I could see shone, vibrated, throbbed with joy and with meaning.  I knew that it had done this all along, and would go on doing it, but that usually I couldn’t see it. It was all over in a minute or two.  I climbed on to the bus, saying nothing to my friend – it seemed impossible to explain – and sat stunned with astonishment and happiness.

The second experience occurred some months later.  I left my office at lunch-time, stopped at a small Greek café in Fleet Street to buy some rolls and fruit, and walked up Chancery Lane.  It was an August day, quite warm but cloudy, with the sun glaringly, painfully bright, behind the clouds.  I had a strong sense that something was about to happen.  I sat on a seat on the garden of Lincoln’s Inn waiting for whatever it was to occur.  The sun behind the clouds grew brighter and brighter, the clouds assumed a shape which fascinated me, and between one moment and the next, although no word had been uttered, I felt myself spoken to.  I was aware of being regarded by love, of being wholly accepted, accused, forgiven, all at once.  The joy of it was the greatest I had ever known in my life.  I felt I had been born for this moment and had marked time until it occurred.

~ Monica Furlong, 1971

About Monica Furlong

Monica Furlong
Monica Furlong (1930 – 2003)

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