Saturday, June 29, 2013

a glimpse

Just one glimpse ...

Besides the uncertainties and unsatisfactory qualities bestowed on any given life, perhaps there is something to be said for the brief glimpses that draw people forward in spiritual endeavor... clarities that come and go before anyone can say "comegone." Perfectly plain ... utterly compelling. Nothing to do with "spiritual" -- but "spiritual" is the best a crippled language can offer.

A glimpse.

The stumble-bum image comes to mind...

Of a hiker traveling through some night-time woods. The darkness is not spooky or profane. Darkness has no agenda. It is simply dark. The darkness has implications for the hiker, but the darkness itself has no implication.

And suddenly, up ahead, with a certainty that goes beyond certain, there is a single dot of light -- a camp fire at some distance through over-hanging bows and leafy brambles. The glimpse is so quick that the hiker may not be sure that what was seen had actually been seen. Perhaps it was some flashing trick behind the eye lid. But immediately the doubt is evaporated ... I did see it, though now it is gone once more.

The hiker directs the steps, one by one towards that camp fire up ahead. The certainty of that single glimpse is lost behind tree trunks and thatching fir branches. But still, one foot is placed in front of the other. The fact that the hiker cannot see the trail well or precisely means that roots or holes destabilize the march. Branches brush or slap the face. Who knows what's coming next? No one can see the future. The only option is to take this step... in the darkness ... towards the camp fire that may not be there once the hiker arrives. Fear is just a delaying tactic.

And so it goes. Step by step. With other glimpses, other bright certainties, perhaps ... all disappearing as quickly as the first....

Until at last the hiker enters some small clearing and there it is, the camp fire that winked and beckoned through the dark. A small clearing with a fire, assured as any glimpse.

The hiker sits and may wonder idly, "Who built this fire? Whom can I thank?" But fires, like darkness, have no agenda, so all anyone can do is enjoy the warmth ... a warmth that likewise lacks agenda.

My glimpse. My darkness. My fire. My warmth. My home....

And delight, like fear, is just a delaying tactic.

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