Now here he was in bed on the following morning, trying to assimilate it once more.
* * * * *
It seemed to him as if sleep had done its work—that the subconscious intelligence had been able to take the fact in—and that henceforth it was an established thing in his experience. He was not excited now, but he was intensely and overwhelmingly interested. There the thing was. Now what difference did it make?
First, he understood that it made an enormous difference to the value of the most ordinary things. It really was true—as true as tables and chairs—that there was a life after this, and that personality survived. Never again could he doubt that for one instant, even in the gloomiest mood. So long as a man walks by faith, by the acceptance of authority, human or Divine, there is always psychologically possible the assertion of self, the instinct that what one has not personally experienced may just conceivably be untrue. But when one has seen—so long as memory does not disappear—this agnostic instinct is an impossibility. Every single act therefore has a new significance. There is no venture about it any more; there is, indeed, very little opportunity for heroism. Once it is certain, by the evidence of the senses, that death is just an interlude, this life becomes merely part of a long process....
Now as to the conduct of that life—what of religion? And here, for a moment or two, Laurie was genuinely dismayed. For, as he looked at the Catholic religion, he perceived that the whole thing had changed. It no longer seemed august and dominant. As he contemplated himself as he had been at Mass on the previous morning, he seemed to have been rather absurd. Why all this trouble, all this energy, all these innumerable acts and efforts of faith? It was not that his religion seemed necessarily untrue; it was certainly possible for a man to hold simultaneously Catholic and spiritualistic beliefs; there had not been a hint last night against Christianity, and yet, in the face of this evidence of the senses, Catholicism seemed a very shadowy thing. It might well be true, as any philosophy may be true, but—did it matter very much? To be enthusiastic about it was the frenzy of an artist, who loves the portrait more than the original—and possibly a very misleading and inadequate portrait. Laurie had seen for himself the original last night; he had seen a disembodied soul in a garb assumed for the purpose of identification.... Did he need, then, a “religion?” Was not his experience all-sufficing....?
Then suddenly all speculation fled away in the presence of the personal element.
Three days ago he had contemplated the thought of Amy with comparative indifference. She had been to him lately little more than a “test case” of the spiritual world, clothed about with the memory of sentiment. Now once more she sprang into vivid vital life as a person. She was not lost; his relations with her were not just incidents of the past; they were as much bound up with the present as courtship has a continuity with married life. She existed—her very self—and communication was possible between them....