Half a year ago I kissed a girl in her apartment at midnight. Her roommates had gone to sleep already and she and I were left talking on the couch while Netflix’s House of Cards flickered silently on the flat screen in the background.
It seemed to mean so much at the time, but now I can’t remember the moment at all. Can’t remember her smells or her motion. I don’t recall very much; simply the fact that it happened.
It seemed to mean so much to me at the time, yet now the finer details of the episode evade my memory. What once weighed so heavily on my mind and my emotions now feels more like a dream from which I’ve awakened.
You live in a foreign country long enough and meaning will eventually come of the alien voices which were once mere babbling sound. Minds expand as they extend toward the infinite and I’m nervous about what awaits us once we become aware of it. Lewis says that once we reach that High Country, every ache and pain we felt in this life will seem like nothing more than a dream from which we were all too glad to stir.
They say you can’t take it with you, and I’ve just realized something: I once thought it was because you can’t carry your bricks of gold with spiritual hands; I used to think they would be too heavy for our ethereal hands to lift skyward.
Now I think it’s the opposite.
Now I think our bricks of gold or silver aren’t real enough to be carried to that high country. Lewis also wrote that when Jesus passed through walls in His resurrection body, it wasn’t because He was some effervescent phantom, but because He was more real, more solid than the walls themselves. That Jesus walked through the walls the way a man passes through a fog.
When I was a boy I had a dream that my parents bought me a .22 caliber rifle. I was ecstatic and took it to the woods to shoot. When I awoke, I was saddened to find that it was only a dream and I was still an unarmed 8-year-old. I had the same chance of bringing that dream-gun with me from sleep as we have of carrying anything from this life into the New Country where we are going.
You want to take your looks with you to heaven, so you can hide behind them from the fiery eyes of God? Or your bank account? Or your intellect?
Christ, the realest of the real, looks at us and asks, “How much longer will you continue to cling to these vaporous items—this sex and this money—before you begin to desire what is real?”
Last week I was on the phone with my friend Dalton. I asked him what he thinks of the invisibility and silence of God. “I believe that the hiddenness of God is one of the greatest gifts God can give to mankind.”
Moses peeks at God’s divine rear end and his face radiates with a blinding glow for days.
You who dare God to reveal Himself: Are you ready for what you will see? Can you withstand the awful and excruciating glory of the Almighty?
It’s a gift. It’s grace. God hides Himself, not out of elusive menace, but out of incredible mercy. And I’m grateful. I’m glad I still get to see the beauty peeking through the blinds of the sunset or in the strange warmth of my cousin’s infant daughter as she slept on my chest last month.
I’ve been overtaken by an overwhelming God.
Are you aware that you’re born into a language? Whatever you grow up speaking, did you know your language reduces your opportunity for knowledge to a fraction of a sliver of the universe? Our epistemology is confined to a ten mile radius around our house.
And yet we are bold enough to assume that we understand God.
What a crazy thought. We don’t even understand ourselves.
Gregory of Nanzianus wrote that at the baptism of Jesus,
Christ rises from the waters; the world rises with Him.
So may you rise.
May we rise from our collective sleep to a world much more real and much more alive that the one we’ve been inhabiting. May we not fall in love with this world of our dreams, but may we starve for the world to come. Uncurl us from our lifelong navelgazing, O overwhelming God! May our eyes behold the real light of your presence, and may our skin develop to withstand its rays.