Exploring Thin Places
In Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire, Stella says to her sister, Blanche, trying to explain her marriage to Stanley Kowalski, "...there are things that happen between a man and a woman in the dark that make everything else seem unimportant." Likewise, there are things that happen between us and the Holy. Whatever the name, whatever the source, there are moments when we sense, when we know, when we experience a sense of connection, greatness, and wonder. And nothing else seems to matter.
How rarely our
culture encourages us to explore and share these experiences! The child who
sees an angel by her bath tub is told by a distracted mother to please hurry
out, it's time to go to bed. The woman who hesitatingly shares with a friend
an amazing experience she's had gets
embarrassed and stops.
There's an old song I sang at my disturbing and evangelical camp (but that's another story) "Jesus may come in the morning... Jesus may come at noon.... Jesus may come in the evening.... so keep your heart in tune...." Well of course.... God is raining down on us all the time... with every breath we take... with every move we make... of course... how can we travel and not take our bodies, our hearts, our minds with us.... and just who do we think we are if not of God?
It's always amused me that intelligences we don't understand, we dismiss. A dog knows through its ears and nose thousands of bits of information about which we're clueless. We don't hear on those frequencies or sniff with that much discernment, so we ignore much wisdom that a canine is ready and willing and eager to dispense.
God is like that I think. My favorite verse in the Bible is one of the ones that got axed... it's from the gospel of Thomas and it's Jesus talking: "The kingdom of God is spread upon the earth and men see it not." Few of my friends would ever call me a literalist, but for this verse sometimes I like to be one. It doesn't say that women and children and sentient beings of all description see it not.... No, the claim is that those running the place, those making the rules and setting the cultural norms have overlooked this small and stunning fact.
It's all right here. And men see it not. And that doesn't mean there's not a sensitive guy in the joint or that all of them are Neanderthals run by testosterone and so what can you do? No, there's more a suggestion that the group doesn't get it.... that the institutional, mainstream day-to-day point of view is overlooking the glory for the guts...
So it's reassuring and validating every once in a while to risk It. To risk telling the truth, calling it as one sees it, sharing the radical, silly, beautiful experience of what all our senses...even the sixth and seventh ones... have to tell us. After all, the oft-quoted 1st century Rabbi Hillel as well as Jesus himself both said that God is with us when we are with each other.
So, go for it. Just for today take the risk of saying one outrageous thing to someone maybe possibly you can trust. If you have a memory you can't explain but makes your heart beat fast, tell someone. If you had a dream that has stayed with you and seems somehow to want to break into your day-time consciousness, share it. Risk talking about God, risk sharing one of your experiences of breath-taking weirdness and wonder. The fear you lose may be your own.... and then again you could help shake someone else's. Now there's the kingdom of God.
And that does make everything else seem unimportant.
Copyright © 2002 Ellen Klyce