Over at My Impasto Life I wrote a post about dusting off my artistic eyeballs and re-learning how to look at the world in order to discover opportunities to take attractive photographs. Lately, I find myself considering the possibility of doing the same thing on a spiritual level. Is it possible to look at the world with eyes that see through the physicality and immediate facade of the world around us; and catch a glimpse of the Divine?
The Bible says that if our tongues were still, the very rocks themselves would start to sing. What if there’s more to that statement than a poetic metaphor? Just… Follow me on this for a second… What if not just the people, but the relationships, the stories, the ideas, the objects around us carry an amount of spiritual “gravity” that tugs and pulls at our own souls if we’re willing to be sensitive to it?
Think about ten dollars. One hundred dollars. One thousand. One million. One billion. At what point does your brain tap out and switch to thinking about the dollars conceptually instead of literally? Some ideas are too big for our brains to grasp, so we boil it down to a manageable notion or symbol. Is that what we’ve done when we talk about God’s love for us? We’ve programmed ourselves to simply think of God loving us a lot. But what if his absolute devotion and adoration is in such full supply, such demand that it rivals the concept of “infinite”? And not in a metaphorical way, in a very real, and very literal way. We are blind to the amount that God loves us because our eyes can’t see that far in any direction.
If that’s true, is it possible that God’s love for us runs so deep that it carves out riverbeds in this world? Could God’s love inspire a flower to bloom? Could it make a bird sing? Could the love and attention God puts into us be transferred to the objects we make? Can a cookie remind us of God? Can a phone vibrate with the satisfaction of knowing that it’s functioning exactly the way it was intended? Can a building revel in the knowledge that every angle is exactly as its architect intended? Could it be, that remnants of God’s absolute and infinite love spilled out of us and into the world we live in? Everything could bear the fingerprints of God.
But… Those fingerprints can be marred. Sometimes wounds are self inflicted; sometimes they’re forced. I think maybe that’s why our reaction is so visceral when we hear stories of or experience cruelty and violence. Our response recognizes that it’s possible for a person, a relationship, a story, an idea, an object to become so twisted that its spiritual gravity actually repels us instead of drawing us in. Where’s God’s infinite love then?
That last question has challenged me. So much so, I had to ask my wife if that was an acceptable place to stop writing. I think you can guess what her answer was.
The fact is, we live in a very strange and conflicted world. Picture in your mind of all the people you’ve encountered and the relationships and ideas… We’re surrounded by these things. Some of them pulling us closer, beckoning to us, drawing us into a better understanding of a God whose love for us is almost terrifying… And others that have been so mangled and twisted that they push us away from the good things the world has to offer and deeper into ourselves. We feel this tension, this constant tugging and pulling all day, every day, but we rarely think about it.
In my mind, in this metaphor of all of us being pulled and drawn, I think of God’s love as a wind that can change direction in a moment’s notice… Sometimes it blows just hard enough to send a series of goosebumps down our back; others, it’s a gale that tries desperately to push us towards or away from whatever has us caught in its gravity.
On my best days, I let myself get swept away by the wind. Caught in the monsoon of a moment or a phrase. I become aware of the gravity tugging at my insides. It catches me and sends me into orbit. Sometimes I can hear a voice speak in the back of my head. It whispers “Be still. Don’t miss this.” And I try. But like learning how to see artistic moments is a skill that takes practice and effort to develop, so is opening your eyes to the truth that everything is spiritual.