noun: thunderbolt; plural noun: thunderbolts
a flash of lightning with a simultaneous crash of thunder.
- a supposed bolt or shaft believed to be the destructive agent in a lightning flash, especially as an attribute of a god such as Jupiter or Thor.
- used to refer to a very sudden or unexpected event or item of news, especially of an unpleasant nature.
Picture a man struck by a thunderbolt. He stands there, motionless, smoke rising from the shredded remains of his clothing. All around him, things are burning, but he is unharmed. All trivial things have been swept from his mind. He is fully, truly alive. He has been filled with Holy Fire.
That morning the man had gone to work like every other day.
A few years before, he had been struck by catastrophe, and was living on the edge of penury. Salvation came from the blue; he was headhunted by people he didn’t know for a job he had never seen advertised, in a line of work he had never considered. It paid well – for a reason. The job was in Mordor, a land where the air, soil and water had been poisoned, a land of strange ways and sullen crowds, and everywhere and always the Burning Eye keeping ceaseless, sleepless watch. The work was monotonous drudgery but since the money was good the man persevered. It gave him financial security, and the opportunity to think in his spare time. He discovered the path of Druidry, and took his first steps along it. The Gods of his own people began to speak to him, and he did what he could in his way to serve them.
Over time, doubt crept in. The mindless nature of the work began to weigh on him. The quiet desperation of his existence grew and grew and grew. The job had a huge carbon footprint; he grew ever more aware that to do this work whilst calling himself a Druid was hypocrisy of the greatest kind. And yet he hesitated. He could leave, but to do what, where? And the money was good; perhaps just for a while longer…
And so that morning, the man had gone to work like every other day. He worked conscientiously, to his best ability, as he always did. At the end of the day, though, as he prepared to go home… oh, so sorry, there’s been a problem; the job has gone away. So easily, so quickly, so finally. His visa would be cancelled and, at short notice, he would have to leave Mordor with all his possessions.
Numb, he took the subway to go home.
The carriage doors opened; he stepped inside. Before him was someone he knew: a beautiful Russian woman, with whom he shared an intense Platonic friendship. They hadn’t seen each other for nearly a year; despite their best effort to meet, their schedules had never allowed it. And now here she was, standing before him on the metro.
When they had last met, she too had lost her job. She had been offered another, but getting a new work visa for Mordor had taken much longer than expected. She had gone to India, studied yoga, and had then lived simply for months in Nepal. She hadn’t needed much money, or worried too much about it. As they spoke, the man’s worries disappeared, washed away by the warmth of her glorious green eyes.
The man reached home. He blankly opened his email. There was a message from his lawyer. A long-anticipated, much-delayed legacy had been paid to him that day. If it had been delayed much longer, it would have lost its value entirely, but it had been paid that day. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t a lot of money, but it would be enough to live on for a while once he got back to his country, without needing to find work.
That night, he slept badly, trying to make sense of the events of the day. In the early hours of the morning he awoke to a strange consciousness, half in the real world, half in the Otherworld. The Gods spoke to him then.
They told him that They had saved him from his previous troubles so that he could find the path that would lead him to Them. They had given him time to regain his powers and develop them. They had begun to give him duties to perform. They wanted him to return to Their homeland, his own homeland, to develop his work on Their behalf, but he had been dithering, procrastinating, avoiding Their call. And so this day, They had sent a Thunderbolt, to make it absolutely clear to him what They wanted.
And with that, They left, and the man woke up. His mind was calm, his heart at ease. He knew what he had to do.