The Real

Call this country what you may: the City of Wait, the Island of Hopes Deferred, God’s Silence, Barren Tree, Whittling Point. This land is rugged, ravaged, bleak, and spare; its inhabitants spend their days in continual twilight; their moments are occupied with any distraction to ward off each coming night.

So. You have left the cold cheer of their company behind in pursuit of the Real. Here you are wandering somewhere in a wild wintry territory where the bitter has already begun to numb your extremities and the altitude your mental capabilities. You must stay awake to the beat of blood pounding in your veins, stave off the onslaught of white all around you, twist the shifting, flashing, shimmering kaleidoscope of your mind—that is all you can do to keep alive. You have no choice: you must go to the limits of your longing, explore and test the boundaries of your desire for this Treasure which you have only heard of in whispers and rumors.

That moment when you think you can go no farther, when the light has dimmed and you are hopelessly lost—look, your feet have already crossed the line. You have reached the edge of the Known World, and gone farther. You are in No-Man’s Land. You arrive, empty-handed and empty-hearted, raw, naked, and hungry, having given much away, and lost the rest as you wandered: all direction, all dignity, all sustenance, all sense. You have no words, no context, and no perspective to understand or name what you find there. You are Adam, the first, newborn. You are utterly alone.

But there is a Fountain there. You approach with shreds of a memory of an outrageous hope that there you are seen and will receive exactly what you need. What you receive there—if you will—seems small, irrelevant, and ludicrous in light of your circumstance: a word, a garment, a vision of a shimmer of something just outside your range of vision. Or it may be only a vast stillness where your fears go quiet, where you can rest your feet and be warmed.

*

This journey happens each day, several times a day. In this wilderness, there is the fallacy of progress, the illusion that you get anywhere or learn anything at all. The pathway is not a linear road that moves from point A to point B. You are no strong oak, growing taller with each new revelation. You are nothing special, only a planet “the size of a hazelnut” flung broadside into a current of gravity which keeps you orbiting an Expanding, Exploding, Eternal Sun.

Each moment you are reminded of a grace that looks like injustice: if you advance on your own terms, you are instantly incinerated; if you retreat, you freeze over. So you circle—moving at least but in a void, not away, not toward—being emptied and filled, emptied and filled, days without end.

*

Until one day when nothing particular is happening and suddenly the significance slams down, blowing all illusions to smithereens, preserving intact only the astonishing extravagance of the Holy and Real. This Fountain you receive more from with each passing day never runs dry. The One whose blood fills the Fountain considers it His highest honor to lay his life down—and daily—to let His blood run fresh and new over you. His blood is your blood; His heart yours.

This Real you are bent on, will brave a blizzard for, will sell everything—your possessions, dreams, and reputation—for—this Real has already caught you and is hidden in the deepest, most secret, truest part of your being. This Real is all and more than these: the twilit light, the winter storm that wraps around you, the void, the hidden Treasure, the Fountain, the Sun. And you can never fall out of His favor for you are held in the gravitational pull of the Real—which is Love—which keeps you circling forevermore.

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