The day is brilliant―a wash of purity across the often-muddy sky, an opulent blue so intense it defies the concept of endless space. Surely it is a fascia that cups and covers the earth and floods our dowdy souls with its unnameable azure-cerulean-cobalt.
In this moment's proclaiming, even the word "blue" defies definition. It begs language we do not have for color we do not see with eyes alone.
Once in a while, by our earth-heavy standards, we can see beyond vision. One blink, and suddenly our corneas are washed in that same purity, and world and sky and space shunt aside for a flicker of a moment. Long enough to know a hint―a tint―of Heaven, if we crave it so. We need it so―twice in a while. Once to convince us, once to remind us to imprint the unnameable upon our dull blue-seeing.
Of such is the Kingdom we sense just beyond the next rise. We need to head there, transplanted out of the blue that we know beneath a sudden altar above.
Yes, because earthbound we are!―tiptoeing or galumphing into a new year, dragging our baggage and bearing our gifts. Still trying to find a fit in this second millennium Anno Domini, here on this small outpost. Shaving everything down to a size we can handle, can tuck into the cerebellum―or perhaps, dump in the back bedroom where our unknowns and leftovers and last year's wannabes often end up.
We are reluctant or we are determined . . . even hopeful: We are yearning for life as normal―a continuity, a grounding beyond our wanderlust.
Perhaps it is Wonderlust that will save us.
It becomes harder today, rowing into tomorrow. The "knowns" that we once lived by―or thought we did, paid heed to, woke up to every morning―are shifting rather suddenly, perhaps inexorably. Only a cosmic blink ago, we were huddled in caves and crannies at the brink of flickering campfires.
Today we homosapiens are sown across the face of earth, but oh, so precariously. Too often now we see, or become, victims of ravage―man's worst nature or nature's harsh rebellion. The "unknowns" have swept upon us, swept us off our souls' narrow peninsulas like flotsam and jetsam. We are, we oh-so-modern pilgrms, drifting off on dinghies that have lost their mooring.
Physically, or not, we are adrift.
We circle the globe on silver wings beneath an endless sky, and see little more than the smog that blocks the busyness below. An apt metaphor for the way our civilization has evolved. We "see" what we have trained our eyes to witness. So it has always been, but never with so much of a muchness to flail and filter through.
Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase. – Daniel 12:4
The Word of God says it, and noted writer Alvin Toffler saw it coming:
Future Shock is a book written by the futurist Alvin Toffler in 1970. In the book, Toffler defines the term "future shock" as a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies. His shortest definition for the term is a personal perception of ‘too much change in too short a period of time.’ Toffler argued that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a ‘super-industrial society’. This change overwhelms people, he believed, the accelerated rate of technological and social change leaving people disconnected and suffering from ‘shattering stress and disorientation’—future shocked. – Wikipedia
Adrift beneath that sudden bluebeyondblue. Rowing through a sky full of our debris. Chasing something less than rainbows.
It was ever thus, both this propensity toward rushing forward and the heart's innate resistance. We simply have tools in our hands and behind our brows that have taken us further, faster, from familiar shores.
We are "loster" than our grampas―intricately wrapped, engulfed in our strange new circuitries, mastering the invisible forces and illogical logics of an unseen universe. Twittering through the rocks and rills, through mountains, past ancient borders drawn by man to guard what now we know is never really, fully ours. Wanderlust.
"Hier stehe Ich! Ich kann nicht anders." Martin Luther said it―said it well.
Here I stand. I can do no other.
There is a way to stand guard over what must not be lost, and finding it is a life-theme: Learning to grasp it when it suddenly takes shape "within." Gripping what we discover cell-deep when we are tempted to equivocate or hunker. It is a bulwark―a hedge against the harshness or great moral laxity around us. When we "stand," we row back against the tidal wave of all the atrocities and apostacies. It often comes to us, this new perception, when we are most down and dependent . . . lost in that sea of angst that has no shores.
Suddenly we have oars. And direction.
Today, the world stood still―right here before me―for an instant. For a lifetime. I offer you this gift of blue upon blue within blue beyond our ken . . . beyond our broken hearts, beyond our fixing. Look up. It is well; all is well with your soul.
I start over, trying different tricks, until I can prop each bloom in a semi-erect position. How ridiculous. I know it will be useless. I am perfectly conscious of setting up a sad masquerade. What is this pathetic comedy for? My own sake, I guess. These sunflowers are in agony, maybe already dead, but I have to pretend I’m doing the impossible to rescue them. I’m doing it, no matter the cost.
That day we explored this passage in Brothers Karamazov, I saw in my professor a humbling acknowledgment—that there are things which belief fails to fully reconcile. That something like suffering and the weight we feel because of it seem, at times, incompatible with the love and reconciliation we so desperately seek in our horizontal and vertical lives.
The radar confirms what I sense. An amorphous green mass, outlined with yellow and red, tilts from the well of Texas to the roof of Michigan. I wait for it—the sky like a pressure cooker, eager and dangerous with its current of heat and force.