Embers from the Fire
A weekly blog by Deacon Dan Wagnitz for the Quad Parish Community
All In His Time – 5/31/2020
Growing up I had a doorway to adventure right in my own bedroom. Well, it was really
more of a hatchway than a door. It led into the attic. You had to be careful where you stepped
because there were some cross boards here and there but mostly you had to balance on the
ceiling joists. You could only stand up in a few places because of the slanting ceiling. The
season had to be just right. That’s because it was poorly insulated; in the winter it was frigid,
and in the summer, it was roasting in there. But several days each year there was the perfect
blend of mild weather, boredom and curiosity that lured me to explore the hidden treasures of
It is still all stored in my memory – the Christmas lights and decorations in one corner,
Beatles memorabilia from my sisters in that stack, the three wooden storage boxes that my Dad
had made for older brothers Jim, Gary and Tom when they spent summers working at Bear Paw
Boy Scout Camp. I especially liked to look through the pictures taken long before I was born.
Occasionally I would discover something treasured long ago that spoke to my heart about being
I remember one particular such successful expedition. I think I was about thirteen.
Half-hidden, back behind my Mom’s old cedar chest I found the box. I had probably found it
before. Afterall, the attic was only so big. But this time I decided to sort through the contents –
a paperweight, an old folded up shirt, an empty picture frame with a cracked corner. Then I
saw it. I stared at it for a few seconds. Then I reached in to grab it. It was a crucifix. It was
small, maybe 8 inches. The wood had a neat alternating triangle design and there was a little
white plastic Jesus figure. I had never seen it before. I didn’t know whose wall it had hung on.
I set it off to the side and kept searching the box.
Shortly after though, my curiosity waned and my stomach began to rumble. I carefully
put everything back in the box. I held the crucifix and pondered. Somehow it didn’t seem right
to put Jesus back in the box. I decided to keep him. On the far end of my bedroom across from
my bed there was a dresser my Dad had built. I propped the little crucifix up there; it looked
right. I smiled and went downstairs to get some lunch.
That night I remember saying “goodnight” to Jesus and I turned out the light. I woke up
for some reason several hours later and rolled over. As I fluffed my pillow, I saw it. There in the
dark was something otherworldly. It glowed kind of greenish-whitish in the blackness. WHAT
IS THAT!!! My heart pounded against my chest as if it wanted out. I think I gasped in several
times until it finally occurred to me to also breathe back out. My gaze was locked on the
strange glow. I pulled the covers up and waited for it to pounce. WHAT IS THAT!!!
Whatever it was it didn’t move; it just hovered there menacingly. I finally risked it all,
threw off the covers and sprang for the light. I flipped the switch. I looked at the dresser.
There was nothing there. Had I imagined it? I turned the light out and the glow returned. Light
on. Glow gone. Light off. Glow on.?! Light on. I reached over and grabbed the crucifix. Light
off – and the glow was in my hand. My other worldly menace was a glow-in-the-dark Jesus! I
placed him face down on the dresser and went back to bed. I put the crucifix back in the box in
the attic in the morning. I just wasn’t ready.
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