Friday, February 09, 2007

D. R. Davies XVI: 'And He Came to the End of Himself'

The trip to Southerndown was meant to refresh Davies. It failed, there, as he walked over the glowering cliffs, he could not help but remember his previous visit, before he departed to United College, Bradford. The exhausted Davies looked back and saw only failure. His marriage was all but over, only the fidelity of his wife staving off collapse. He spent time alone at Southerndown, leaving his wife to look after their child, while he wandered over the cliffs and fields.

It was on one of these days, as the rain beat against his face, a sudden desire to end it all entered Davies' mind. With the sea below him, and the night closing in, Davies was in the ideal position to act on this desire. He descended to the beach and plunged into the surf.

"I must have swum, though I am a poor swimmer. Then in a flash, a thunderous flash, I realised what I was doing. "Good God! What am I doing?" With despairing strength, I swam back. Oh that struggle! I was suspended between life and death!"

D. R. Davies suddenly remembered his childhood, his mother teaching him a childrens' catechism, Rhodd Mam (My Mother's Gift). He heard the question: 'Who is Jesus Christ?' And he heard his own answer: 'Jesus Christ is my Saviour.'

"It was just like that. A deep peace, lierally "the peace which the world cannot know or take away", flooded my entire being. [...] In the final anguish, hovering between life and death, I found myself as I was, and in my utter nakedness and worthlessness I found God. And finding Him, though this was not realized until later, I found everything."

Davies had come to the end of his hoarded resources. Man had failed him utterly, but God does not fail. Davies identified this time on Southerndown beach as the moment of his conversion:

"People frequently ask me if it is necessary for everyone to pass through such an experience as that which I suffered, before realising Chistian certainty. To which I reply that the form of the experience is immaterial, but its substance, its essence, is utterly necessary. You must come to the realization of your own powerlessness. Now, with the best will in the world, I find it very difficult to imagine how such a realization, whatever its form, can be an imperceptible process. It is a transition from death to life! [...] To die to oneself and to live again another life is anti-natural. How can that happen without some sort of conflict and anguish? It is like a revolution in the State. Could power pass from one class to another without citizens being aware of it? Hardly! How much less can the soul of man be unaware of its transition from the old humanity to the new!"



Post a Comment

<< Home