The Exclamation Mark

The boy Frank can be found sprawled in sunlight on the floor, immersed in his mother’s Bible for children. Sadly, somewhere during a shift from one side of the continent to the other the illustrated volumes are lost. The images of God calling to His chosen people by shafts of divine light through the clouds are left in Frank’s earliest childhood memory.It may be that the depictions of God’s word so preserved contribute in some way to the adolescent Frank’s loss of faith. He finds himself in an infinitely expanding universe, seeking without success the act of creation. He does not find God in himself. Perhaps he doesn’t think to look. When many years have passed Frank often has cause to search his memory for the sound of God’s voice calling. He does not find it. Perhaps he is looking for an image.

In his last years Frank’s spirit turns up in an unexpected place. By now Frank has for many years lived in an invisible reality where the essences of things mingle, you could say where voices calling mingle to produce language and song. One voice which calls to him belongs to a female inhabitant of the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales. This voice, unlike God’s voice, resonates in his being, because it is buried deep in his memory of another time. He is drawn to this voice, entranced by the harmonies it dances in, harmonies both with his voice and with itself, where it finds itself deep within him. The voice announces its imperative presence and desire for song by text message, with one symbol, the exclamation mark. This symbol strikes joy deep into Frank’s heart.

Even when this voice falls silent in sleep he can hear it, and as though to demonstrate a timeless spiritual truth to the world, he carries it with him into the night, where by telephone link a gentle snore communes with the stars of his sky. This is his gift to the world, and the world is hushed in wonder at itself, and at Frank.

Sadly again, the voice becomes conscious of itself and falters. This is the way of the physical world: voices are often lost in discord. There is anger in the world, and untold suffering. And of course there is death. The voice stops calling.

One night in the physical universe, Frank imagines how, after all, God might call to him. Just before first light on August 25 2012, from the clouds concealing Venus from Jupiter in the north east, a massive bolt of energy hurls itself towards Frank’s upturned face.

On the evening of Frank’s first wife’s birthday the television news bulletin beamed around the country shows an image of an enormous body from space, shaped like a baseball bat and rammed into the earth on an acute angle across the river from Breamlea, a seaside hamlet south of Geelong, in Victoria.

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