Who are we?

I’m a low-tech, sticky note kind of girl. Sticky notes of every vibrant color and design can be found anywhere from my refrigerator (milk, cheerios, coffee) to the frame of my computer monitor (What do your characters really want?!!!). Recently, I found a 4″ square chartreuse sticky note written at least eight years ago before my oldest son, Charley, went to college. The front of the note says:

  • schedule kennel for 1st wknd in march
  • replace split toilet seat
  • Charley to chiropractor 5:45 Tues
  • postpone guitar lesson 4/24
  • Toyota appointment
  • returns to Talbots

I laughed at the toilet seat reference and smiled at the unlikely congruity of these random tasks. I’d almost forgotten about the guitar lessons! I held the note in my hand for a second, then turned it over and read a surprising scrap of poetry:

She could feel it. The fragile fugitive beginning—the brittle amniotic sac of her soul like a crackled shell, threatening to disintegrate and invade the continental divide between her spiritual DNA and His.

I hardly remember writing it—one of perhaps a thousand buried clues to my life left for archeologists or garbage men. But there on a single sticky note was clear evidence of how the Divine can be beaten into disguise by the too familiar rhythm of our natural lives—the car maintenance and the shopping snafus.

Reading it, I was reminded of a magical period in my life when the mystical world collided mightily with the material. Oh, how it had enveloped me like that crackled shell! I wonder now at a life—my life—that has had the luxury of experiencing the Divine in ecstatic ways, featuring vivid peeks into esoteric mysteries interrupted by a sudden impulse to return a blouse at Talbots or replace a split toilet seat. Who am I anyway?

And who are you? Such mysterious winged creatures in pedestrian disguise! It makes me think—why don’t we wonder more about the miracle of our own humanity? A humanity that we ourselves have normalized in order to stay humble or focused. Or sane. This quote from St. Augustine says it all:

People travel far to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.”

Maybe the only effective way to unearth the Divine is to first recognize the miracle hidden in our own humanity.

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