As the lines draw long upon my face and begin to settle, they remind me of a lifetime full of boisterous laughter and hideous suffering. It reminds me of the great paradox of this life, which is fleeting. Every second a counting down until I return to the dust from which I came and am buried in dust by dust.
There is no escaping the fact that this life is dirty, messy, exhilarating, beautiful and fading. Like the great islands in the pacific remind me, I, too, am in the simultaneous process of decaying and being remade. Every cell in my body, every organ—both dying to live and living to die again—is remade.
Since I became a thought in the mind of God, struggling as a character to make myself stand apart in that infinite space of potential, my soul has sought expression: I desire existence. I want to be and not ‘not to be’. That is a question that was settled in the great quest of, the first impulse to become.
Eons before I was awarded the opportunity to sit here in this uncomfortable plastic chair, I leaned forward into the mind of That Great Author, as He suggested a me to Himself; and that me became an I and continued to echo that eternal and first thought of me. Yes, outside of time and space, I swam around in the Author’s mind, hoping to be captured in that great net and cast out into the realm of human being. When God thought me up, He thought me good enough a character that I believed the merit of His thought, not as though I had anything to do with that original conception of me; but the me who would become an I did not argue against the opportunity to experience this life and time itself—with its damnable friction and inescapable clutch.
Down through the ages, my ancestors rehearsed my becoming, joining, as they did the best qualities of their own selves in the fruit of their love. The same is true of them and you. God saw the beauty of His thought and the wonder of your being, an echoing chorus that demanded, like at the close of a wonderful play, an encore. It is a mystery for us how God could always be wanting to see your expression here, how all of the time it was you He was thinking of and preparing room for in the finite drama of this world, while also willing the same for everyone who is. That is rather to His credit though. How He could desire the past, present, and future—ancestor and posterity—all at once with equal intensity.
We do both God and ourselves a great disservice when we diminish our own existence and importance in His weaving narrative. How do you not know that you--in all of your comings and goings, in all of your mundaneness, in all of your bill paying, eating and drinking, loving, lusting and hating--might be the one to tip the scale towards the best possible outcome? One word. One thought. One hug or handshake might make the difference. Was it not an ordinary Jewish girl who gave birth to Christ? Your ordinariness has nothing to say about your cosmic extraordinariness.
We cannot escape the tenuous nature of this human being, this way, this Tao we call life. Everything I am and say matters, if not to you then for you. My life either opens up or extends the possibilities of opening up for you and yours or closes or comes one step closer to closing doors that you might wish opened; and your life and expressions do the same for me. Make no mistake, you do not exist for me; nor does everyone exist for the sake of everyone else! The ontological framing of my existence is primarily vertical, that is, towards the infinite. It is only from being in concert with my primary context for existing that I come to know of my lateral responsibilities: Jesus says, “love thy neighbor as thyself.” In order to honor that Divine dictate, I must first recognize the primacy of the source. I must recognize that He is a source worth listening to and then actually listen to Him. Only in listening and obeying do I find my neighbor, Samaritan-you, all around me, close to my own heart. In doing good to you, I am honoring His great creativity like a patron of the art that is you. I am exercising generosity so that it can expand in me and return to me.
Generosity is not a selfish, for-profit motive. The fact that people interpret the concept of generosity returning as a material or substantial gain is a symptom of our age: an anemia and sickness of souls. Love is that true profit motive because it profits you, me, and the heart of God—not as though anything of substance can be added to God; but that love, wherever it is enacted, furthers a Kingdom and mindset that is selfless in the face of adversity and gracious in the realm of human action. Love brings abundance into the spirit, the essence of our existence, and makes the cup overflow.
Wherever you see people speaking of unlimited material gain, be wary of the leanness of those things. The economy of God is contingent upon love, and not love of a thing or money, but love of selves, of you and me. The only poverty that still exists on this planet is one of the soul: a withered spirit that refuses to participate in the nature of God by extending creative possibilities to another. We truly are at a period in history when the people who die of starvation die of a lack of love. It is us, you and me, who close the door on their existence. There is food enough. The lack comes from inside and proceeds outward, consuming and being consumed by selfishness.
There is time to act. There is now. There is love enough. Love is here. “Greater love hath no man than this, that he would lay down his life for his brethren.” You can trust these words because they were uttered by Love, in love, enacted historically by the very Logos who suggests Himself.