Forget these temporary pleasures.
Forget the lover’s kiss and the gentle pressure of her hand against my arm. Forget the parties, the clothes, and the electrical circuiting in the palms of our hands keeping us alive. Forget the blanket we lied on in that field that cloudy midnight. Culver City was electric. Take me back there and I would spend endless days just dwelling in that feeling.
It’s the free fall where your organs elevate within your ribcage, erasing all other places and times, presenting you with only the very raw Here and Now.
I would trade all that for a taste of glory.
For something more intense than a free fall and more intimate than a simple touch. After all, how much nearer can one draw to another than to simply reach out and touch them?
The tragedy of fallen flesh is every touch ends. Each one exists only a fleeting matter of moments before the sun comes up, the lights come on, and the magic escapes. I think every close call I’ve ever had with glory ended before it could climax. The curtain falls and the actors retreat to the greenroom to rub the stage makeup from their faces.
I touched you in Chicago. I kissed you on the mouth. I pushed the hair from your neck and held you in the dark. But like each close encounter with the infinite, you grew tired and drifted away from me.
Your body was in my arms but you were not.
The mystics in their quiet rooms speak of a glory that visits them in their shiny silence. Sometimes I feel it in the rain. Foreign monks build temples from blood money then reach for glory through the emptying of their minds. Sometimes I’ve felt it on the road—those silent drives in the dark as the white stripes slip rhythmically beneath the car.
I’ve never been able to wrap my mind around a God big enough to make All This, so I made idols of women instead. At least I can wrap my arms around them. At least I can hold them for a little while. (Though I always wish it were a little while longer.)
All my life I’ve been looking for glory.
Hunting it, really.
I remember that rainy day on Cape Cod when I faced You in the forest. We were dressed like Adam and splashing through the mud. The glory was so near, I thought the next raindrop to slap my skin might finally burst the bubble once and for all.
My boys in Chicago and I ran to Lake Michigan because the sky was pouring warm rain. We dove in and listened to the world; silent, save the impact of the drops on the water’s surface. Those gentle waves lapped at our chests in the windless afternoon. I was convinced the glory was waiting for us in the mist just a little further out on the water.
But once again, the clouds departed and the rain stopped. The puddles evaporated and we toweled off.
We were so close.
So I didn’t see glory when I sat on the bare back of an elephant while we paraded through a Thai jungle. And I missed it again when I played soccer with the Nigerian kids—But I was close! The way you can taste the meal your mother is cooking just by inhaling its scent.
I think that’s all this world can be—close.
I think we can only catch a hint of its flavor. Glory eludes us like that phantom in the attic—always calling out our name, then vanishing when we get too close.
The house lights come on, the actors bow then retreat to the greenroom to hang their costumes on the rack.
All this tells me is that glory is somewhere, but it’s always somewhere else. Somewhere we can’t touch in this life, but we can sniff it out. C.S. Lewis said that we can’t attain it on this world, so we were probably made for another one. This world is not all there is.
It tells me I have a home I haven’t seen yet, but my name is written on the door of my room.
I’ve come close to glory several times, but have yet to hold it without it wriggling from my fingers. I’ve come close, and will arrive there soon.
The Lord is glorious and I draw near to Him. I’ve chased Him through the trees and sat with Him in silence. I’m longing for glory so I’m binding myself to Him.
He’s the best chance I’ve got.