D used to study his hands. He stretched his fingers out wide, curled them into fists. He turned his palms over and back, tracing veins and creases. He said to me, “Look, these are my hands. Look, I’m alive. How strange.” How strange indeed. It is August 29th, 2014, and look, I am alive.
We move through our days from task to task, event to event, thrill to thrill, partly living. Such clamor and distraction in our days; we are bored out of our minds and do not know it. What will waken us out of this fog? What will thaw the frozen sea within us?
When I moved back to California, the light seemed inescapable: long sunlit days and burning streetlamps. In a grey and rainy city, I had learned to let my heart break. Deepness came in darkness; shadows validated ambiguity. When I returned, I craved the blessing of darkness.
Even as a child, I knew darkness and stillness held a gift for me. I lived for the times my bustling house emptied out; I orchestrated evenings in the house alone. I turned out the lights, sat cross-legged on the floor, and listened to the house creak and breathe. I let emotion come at me in complexity and intricacy, declaring, “Let me not live what is not life. Let me feel all I can feel. Let me live everything.”
What I was hungering for was no cheap thrill, no passing emotion. I didn’t want to chase adventure or manufacture meaning from the mundane. I didn’t want something cliche and mass-produced. I didn’t want a perfectly curated existence. I didn’t want to make a god out of my finest moments. What I wanted was a life larger than what I could say about it. What I wanted was reality.
Months ago, I spoke in haste, “Nothing is meaningless. All things are sacred.” No sooner had the words slipped off my tongue that I awakened. I had spoken untruly; at one point in my life, I had lived the truth of these words, but no longer. I had grown satisfied with half-living, and a hunger awakened to live these words into being once again. I needed to know deeply, viscerally, the meaning in my days; I needed to come alive again.
So I entered in again to the ancient rhythms, claiming truths tested by time: the Infinite wraps Himself in the mundane; the Eternal hides Himself in the moments of our days. Glimmers of His glory press up against the membrane of time, meant to catch our attention and invite us to step through into Time outside of time.
As I crossed the threshold, I sensed a stirring in the secret part of my heart. Here, in the secret place, time and space extend. Peace washes over. Mind and heart touch holy fire; golden light calls forth gold hidden beneath layers of dullness and despair. Senses sharpen to divine order and beauty. The waste places are plowed through and gratitude rises.
Can it really be so simple? To pause when life gives you pause, to cultivate stillness in chaos, to assent to the whisper weaving through our days: Be still; come in; come alive.