Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thoughts in Strange Space

Sleep has refused my mind right now, and of all the thoughts that race through my mind the vision of an overflowing fountain where all the water cannot be contained is the one. It overflows abundantly. Such is the case of my mind and heart right now. How can I keep each of these moments these past days, past weeks, and past months? I cannot. They are bound to escape into the ether, into the darkness of night. They are as elusive as of the dreams that are dreamt each night. They are probably even more heartbreaking because they are brought into consciousness in the first place.

But is it worse to have encountered a joyous moment and forgot it or to never have had that joy, that love at all? A time-worn thought indeed, it is not without worthy consideration here at this juncture. How can I not consider it now? It is a time of transition, of shifting priorities, of new directions, of new loves. And yet I leave with a profound emptiness, a distinct and utter hole that I had not recognized when I came to this place six years ago.

Even so, it was meant to be discovered now—not a moment sooner. It was meant to be discovered at this moment, at this very moment in time. No sooner, no later.

The profundities I speak now and have spoken before, the drama of my heart and mind do nothing for my own ego; they should not. I don't write for my own sake, for my own ego—though at times I feel I do. I do not create to necessarily extend my own posterity. And this is where I take some issue with a particular day being "my own" or some writing "my own creation." No, it is not mine alone though it is created within my own free will and effort and hand. There is something more beyond this present reality. There is a reality beneath it, a much more sublime and profound reality.

To borrow and transpose in a personal analogous way from Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, my actions and resulting effects—the accomplishments—are the effects on the time-space fabric. There is only so much that we can do, say, and be there for in this world at the present moment. Even more fleeting are the thinking moments we have, the recollections and preponderances of the future ahead. This limitation has its place as well, for it would be ill-conceived to hope that the analogous "gravitational" effects of the largess of the given "mass" of the moment, so to speak again in a borrowed conceptual model, would overpower the present reality. If that were accomplished, we'd go skipping off into oblivion. There are set tracks for good reason. Anti-matter isn't necessarily a good thing, is it? And so we are presented with a set amount of resources of mind, body, and spirit. What do we do with these talents?

Those who reject the faith component of life may not so easily recognize this jump in conceptual understanding of the universe. And to me there is a great deal of sadness to this reality. The metaphysical reality, as it were, cannot be explained away as fanciful, wishful thinking. There is something more to this, much more. And if it weren't, we'd only be "guilty" of thinking so highly upon our own feeble intellects, so much so to "invent" a compassionate, personal God. However, it is here at this very intersection of faith and reason that I see the most logic. The construct's open world nature gives the best conceptual mapping between mental reality and physical reality. There is an unknown variable that is missing in the closed world set, which is of the utmost importance.

It could be true; it could not be true. It is unknown. The closed world assumption considers it false until proven true. While this understanding is good in the case of court proceedings ("innocent until proven guilty"), it does not bode well for the area of science—an interconnected area of theories to be proven and disproven. There is a web of connectedness between human judicial law, scientific theories and law, and Divine law at its very basics. There are many specifics of faith that are improvable to reason's standard. Most of these questions fall under the subject line of "Why did it happen this way?" These shouldn't be ignored in one's personal journey and search for Truth, but it shouldn't be a stumbling block for discovery of true wisdom and not just merely human knowledge. The divine fingerprints are there.

The complexities of our physical reality, the depth to the specific creation—beautiful, beastly, and befuddling at differing situations—make for a difficult case to dissuade the religious, spiritual person of the Truth found in the Creator God. It is there, real or imagined. Each person goes through their own mental wanderings as we are disposed to at our given intellectual level. And even so, this doesn't preclude other levels of understanding, knowledge, or communication just because it isn't present. The theoretical of science—wormholes and the like speak to another dimension described in physics, or rather alluded to. The allusion is key here. The open world possibility is there.

Simply because the reality that was there all along cannot be described in concrete terms at this moment does not exclude that Truth in reality to even exist. The existence of the underlying truth is always there no matter if it is never discovered by human minds. As an example consider the possibility that the "New World" was never discovered by the Europeans or vice versa, would the New World ever be in existence? Yes, it existed so long as it was set in the first place. Our knowledge of something doesn't create it; it's the primordial existence of the given reality that gives its basis for being Truth.

And so I enter into the search for the fingerprints of the Divine, and I see them all over. The daily small miracles of the ordinary—He is there. In the passing of life into death—He is there. In both sadness and joy—He is there. In times of failure and in times of success—He is there.

To borrow a phrase from John Paul II and his poems, these are "thoughts in strange space."

If this Creator, this "force" that created all things and is above all time only set the world in its course, wound its clock gears so to speak, and set it on its ways with the natural laws then would this universe lose part of its deeper meaning? Would we not reject a reality of the universe that there something greater than our own reality, our own very existence? These thoughts we have must begin from somewhere. They do not just come to existence out of strange space. They must have a beginning. As a result, René Descartes seemingly flips a working reality when he states: "I think, therefore I am." It should read, "I am, therefore I (can) think." And how did we get the ability to even possess philosophical thought or any given thought at all? We don't necessarily exist because we think; we are more than mere mental islands in a large sea. We affect every existence in such a way that our thoughts cannot fully grasp it. Such is the case with the well-known "butterfly effect" regarding the chaos theory.

The Deistic "clock-winder" God only goes so far. The framework of not just a personal God but an intensely personal God is there. The lines of communication, though not physically visible, present themselves in a sacramental way that is not merely a spiritual reality. This jump of conceptual understanding bridges the chasm of understanding between the physical and the spiritual. However, we must be properly prepared in body, mind, and spirit to accept an ever-present intensely personal gift of the Divine. And it is here that we so often fall short of the ideal, our preparedness for the Gift. And yet, those of faith tend to dismiss in the same closed-world fallacy of the scientific humbugs. We turn ourselves intensely inward away from the Unknown. It does not affect change, merely stagnation.

Even so, the Gift is not taken away. We have the free will to accept or deny what is given. And He remains there to help us back out of the dust to reach His love. For the gift is love. The gift is Himself.

It is here that I find great joy even in sorrow of failure. He is there to pick up the fallen. He is there to take back His spouse even in infidelity. He knows us intensely, in every manner and way we go and in every time we succeed and fail. We must accept our frailty and His strength. If not, we reject His sacrifice for us. We reject His love for us.

Paradoxically we must let Him love us. We must let the Infinite bow to the finite. We, the finite, are given the opportunity to accept the Infinite or reject it. And this suitor will not be outdone. He intensely wants us, all of us completely. However, He does not want us out of fear. So often do we act out of fear. No, He wants us to choose Him out of love. And so the Infinite waits on the finite, and the simple reality that the Infinite can wait out the finite is reiterated. His grace is not finite.

So what must we do? Turn to him. That's all. Turn to Him not to avoid the disappointments in the world but to strengthen your gifts from the Divine in the face of the difficulties of the moment. And by passing the difficulties of the given moment, you can and do achieve what is infinite—the love of the Divine. The finite finds that its true limits are the infinite—everlasting life.

And this is where I am, warts and all, before Him. Disposed enough to see glimmers of the fullness of His love, I stand in awe. I stand in awe that He would even shower me with the least amount of water, that saving water. I stand in awe that He would water this unkempt garden that I can become so quickly. Still He waters the weed-filled garden, and yet the Gardener comes. He comes to prune what is dead and pull the weeds that choke His word that is sown.

And still the image of the faithful spouse comes to mind now. He is the faithful spouse, and I the unworthy one taken back. He is teaching me, though I am at times intractable. Even though I futilely fight His love in the passing moments of failure, He keeps coming back to the threshold of my heart and pouring deep within a wellspring of His love.

Deep within He pours a creative spirit that renews, nourishes, and regenerates a dead soul. He accepts the faults of the heart, the wounds of the past to transform what was once lost apart from Him. In this we all become one with Him if we let Him do His will within us and within the world around us.

We are in this world but not wholly of this world. We must remember the depth of the time-space of both faith and reason within our lives. We must keep close to our hearts the Spouse who comes back to us, even though we run from Him.

Turn to Him; see the freedom in this understanding. He is there with an outstretched hand, not a condescending wag of a finger. He has no need of lording our failures over us but only our acceptance of His will in our lives—to be transformed to be instruments and co-authors in His love through His creation and to join Him when our work here is done.

What joy is found in reflecting on these thoughts in strange space. What joy in the face of a hole that remains unfilled still. Some day I will let Him fill it; some day He will choose to fill it, not a moment too soon or too late. I await that time with a continuingly joyful heart.

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