There was a television series a few years ago called “Eli Stone.” It’s the story of a rising star at a San Francisco law firm that represents the powerful and privileged. Eli wears expensive suits, drives a sports car and is engaged to the boss’s daughter. In his words, he worships the holy trinity of Armani, accessories and ambition. He’s the all-American success story, headed down the fast track.
Until that day when he hears the music.
He thinks he hears and sees George Michael singing “I’ve Got To Have Faith” in the office lobby. Turns out it’s not really the British pop star, but a vision. The visions become more frequent. Eli gets a brain scan that detects an aneurysm. That explains the visions, but not the messages that Eli starts finding in them — clues about how he can help others. A spiritually inclined adviser suggests that perhaps God is reaching out to him through the visions.
Eli begins to pay closer attention to the visions and starts to follow them. He now defends those who are being victimized by the powerful interests that his law firm represents. He begins to think about himself less and about others more. He helps those whose lives are at a breaking point. His new way of life is fulfilling. Like the song lyric, he starts to have faith in a higher power who has made him a partner.
And then, the legal writ hits the fan.
Eli experiences a backlash. The law firm’s rich and powerful clients get upset. Eli’s boss banishes him to a makeshift office in the lobby. His fiancee ends their engagement. Co-workers and friends shun him and deem him crazy — who in their right mind would jeopardize their social status by helping those people?
The rejection wears on Eli. He begins to long for the “normal” life he had before the visions began. He has surgery to have the aneurysm removed. The visions cease. Eli’s life goes back to the way it was, which is what he had hoped. Things are all back to normal.
Well, not all.
Eli finds that he’s very unhappy living his old life. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? He sees a psychologist who turns out to be an emissary from God and suggests that he’s lost something important.
“I think you’re missing having a sense of the divine in your everyday life,” she says. “I think you’re less happy now than when your life was occasionally upended by the fantastic. I think that grace fulfilled you in a way you didn’t even know you needed.
“And the only thing crazy about you is the fact that you don’t seem to realize that.”
Eventually, he does. Eli asks for the aneurysm back. The visions return, and so does his sense of the divine. This time, he’s prepared for the cost involved. He understands that while there’s a price to be paid for living with the visions, there’s a far greater price — too great a price — to be paid for living without them.
What do you think about Eli’s story? Do parts of it resonate with you? In what ways have you been pushed away when you tried to follow your visions? What happened when you challenged the status quo? Have you had that feeling that something’s missing?
Let me offer you a closing wish or blessing:
May you have a sense of the divine in your everyday life.
May your life be occasionally upended by the fantastic.
May grace fulfill you in ways you never imagined.
May you follow the visions that Someone sends you each day.