Monday, November 06, 2006

Touch

I am up too late again. I am tired and so, in my delirium, must write. Confusion or clarity ensues - be forewarned.

I went for a hike about a month ago - on Avery's birthday. The knob we hiked around is a favorite place of ours to visit. On my visits to Pilot Mountain, I love to touch the trees and the bare, cold face of the mountain itself.

The stone is real. It is hard and cold. And when I touch it I know that I am, and that it is. And I come away from the experience thinking I do not touch enough.

I carry the yellow-haired child to bed. I embrace my children and kiss them. I pray with them. Similarly, my wife. They stand apart from the natural world in their warmth and life. Touching them is wholly better, but familiar.

The stone is not warm. The tree does not create heat. They are other. I touch both and I am educated. It is difficult to put into words. But I am a creature - made from the clay under my feet. This rock, this mountain, whispers something to me about myself. It whispers to me about our brotherhood. It whispers something to me about our Father. And I fall in love.

We are not brothers as you and I are brothers. But there is an affinity between us. Life is the difference. The Breath of God is the difference. The imagination of God differentiates one thing from another.

As we grow, we hear it often enough: Do not touch. It is said for our protection. I say it to my own children. But when I am on the mountain with them I tell them to touch. To smell. To see. To hear. And, on occasion, to taste.

We are creatures, you and I. And we know in creaturely ways. And I fear it would be sacrilege to wish it different.

We do nothing of worth abstractly. The worthwhile is concrete like the rock and the tree. If I feel love for God but do not obey Him, do I love Him? No more than I would love my wife or children, if I merely felt love for them. I love as I am able, as the creature I am, or I do not love.

The cold seeps into me. Given time, it could overpower me, but it will not. Not today. Today I stand on the cold rock under the burning sun beneath the shade of the trees and I live.

Touching the mind of God, I praise Him.

2 comments:

alison said...

Great.

For me it is the darkness that threatens to overpower me and I am learning to praise God in it and thereby escape.

Dan said...

Well done...beautiful stuff, and I feel much the same way in nature.