How is it possible that the moments in which we truly feel the most alive are so few and far between? Has it always been that way? When we were running amok in loin cloths and trying to spear our dinner, did any of our ancestors suffer from ennui? Was it the advent of modern culture, the deskjob, that finally did us in? How much of our life is lived in a gray, hazy stupor instead of the tantalizing sharp vibrancy that God intended?
We settle for mediocrity in a lot of places. I think that’s why we stop and stare at a sunset when we happen to catch one. That’s why we notice what it feels like when we walk through the grass barefoot. That’s why we find storms and active nature so fascinating. I think it reaches deep into us and whispers to some primal part of our mind that the drab matching boxes we live in have lulled to sleep.
I think that’s also why we put such a premium on art that is truly good. That’s what it’s there for. When we’re too self-contained, too self-reliant, too self-centered; a good work of art shocks us like a defibrillator and kicks us headlong into the territory of the Primal Mind. Once there, it reminds us of who it is we were called to be. It shows us a glimpse of what we might one day become. It forces us to confront the truth about our own failures, and it points out all the little lies we tell; the dark hypocrisies that we’re too blind to see without intervention.
Maybe that was why Christ came? Like a living masterpiece, he had a knack for telling stories and turning phrases and taking action in ways that constantly left people on the edge of their seats. People noticed Jesus. He gave the pharisees no shelter, to them he was a dark and raging storm, speaking thunder and wielding lightning directed squarely between their eyes. To the downtrodden, he was the sun on their face. He was the tickling breeze that gave them goose bumps even on a hot day. He was the spotlight that lit up the skeletons in everyone’s closet. Some people were horrified that they had been exposed. Others were eternally grateful that they had discovered they weren’t alone.
What if Jesus’ main purpose for coming and doing what he did was to try and wake us from a dark and restless slumber? Is it possible that God would rather someone be awake and hate him than watch a church full of comatose Christians? What if we’ve drawn the lines all wrong? What if we will truly be surprised at the faces we see up in heaven?
I can already feel this slipping… A moment or two of clarity is the best I’ve learned I can hope for… I was ready to spend a paragraph talking about how I know that being hyper-aware of every moment in life, of living with your eyes truly opened is a pipe dream. I was set to end this post with a good natured smile and a thumbs up. But… What if we can live our life actively? What if we can be the streaks of stunning color that invade the lives of those around us and force them to confront the reality of their own monochromatic background?
God, help me be cobalt blue. Teach me when to turn cadmium red and iridescent white. Allow me to speak hansa yellow into the lives of people around me. Let me be the carbon black that gives depth to the reality around me.