I wanted to go. I wanted to escape. I didn't want to escape the office, or work, or anything specific. I just wanted to escape.
I had been in turmoil over this Catholic question now for nine months. I was nearly paralysed with fear. I knew now so much that to believe the Catholic claims false was impossible for me, yet I had still present in my mind the anti-Catholic threats that had become like glaring neon signs flashing at me: "Great Whore;" "Synagogue of Satan;" "High Treason" (this last words that Jim Jordan had written to me).
I had, in addition, physical problems. I have a congenital deviated septum. The result is chronic sinus issues - and at times a nose so badly stopped up that I cannot breathe through it. That morning I was in that condition as the 'bus headed down the Great South Road. We were, I believe, somewhere in Greenlane. I pulled the cord and got off the 'bus.
I was, I suppose, in the psychological state called fugue. I did not know who I was, where I was going, nor what I was supposed to be doing. My mind seemed racing a hundred miles an hour. God, I thought, was sitting in Heaven laughing. He was waiting for me to decide - "decide now!! now!! Hurry!! You must decide now!!" - and ensuring that, whatever my decision, it would be wrong. He would shout, with a maniacal laugh, "Wrong!! You now go straight to Hell!!" And, I thought, He was holding my nostrils tightly shut so that I could not breathe.
Though it was mid-winter, it was a sunny day. I sat down on a bench at the 'bus stop and, breathing through my mouth, slowly began to calm down. I began to come back to myself - that word 'myself' began, again, to have some meaning! - and I thought. I thought and made a decision: I would not believe in such a God. I simply made a moral refusal, an act of the will. If such a god - such a being deserves no typographical honorific - really exists, I will not believe in him. I reject him and any universe made by such a being. I would believe that if I genuinely sought to know God's will, that He would not hide Himself from me; that He would help me to follow Him. It was quite analogous to my decision in August of 1984 (or 1985?) when I suddenly was sure there was no God. At that time I absolutely rejected such a state of affairs - one in which the world was meaningless, was not created but just was, without rhyme or reason. I had refused to accept the non-existence of God. Now I had refused to accept His maliciousness.
It was only years later, reflecting on this point, that I thought of the verse Hebrews 11:6:
...for he that cometh to God must believe that He is...that, in short, that He exists:
...and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.that, in other words, that He would not deliberately hide Himself from me.
I got onto the next 'bus and went to the trade show, and finally back to work. I had not solved my problem yet - but I was no longer going to allow myself to be panicked.