There are mornings when my quiet time pushes me to the limits of my imagination. It is not every morning. It is not every season. But when it comes, I can see God alive in all of creation – in every creak of steps as boys come down in the morning, in the birds whose songs fill the room through a cracked window, in the heart that still beats in my chest after all these years.
My chest fills with an awareness of the divine-saturated beauty of all things and of the human ignorance of its participation within it. I feel surrounded, overwhelmed, saturated in the Divine Life. Yesterday morning, I continued reading Richard Rohr’s latest, The Universal Christ, and I was struck again by the glory of God – an understanding of the ridiculously extravagant presence of the divine that is just within reach enough to knock me to my knees.
If life really is this rich, it is nearly too decadent. The glory of God can feel like a decadent chocolate cake that cannot be consumed in one sitting.
Pace yourself in witnessing God’s glory, I scribble in my morning journal. It isn’t escaping or vanishing if it isn’t witnessed in full now. God’s glory is a forever gift.
My morning time ends, but the glory spills over. I feel an ache in my chest as I move onto the morning tasks. Time shifts as I am surrounded by the glory of God – visible and accessible, within reach and yet always flowing past the horizon.
I feed the koi in our pond and marvel at their form, wondering, “Is the divine in you, too?”
I make PB&Js and wonder, “Is this the body of Christ that is taken, blessed, and broken in the beautiful chaos of a crowded lunchroom?”
I see our youngest cry on the monitor as he mourns the loss of his beloved pacifier, and I wonder, “Is Christ within you weeping over all that longs for soothing and comfort? Are you with him to wipe tears while I load the dishwasher?”
On the way into dropping our boys off at preschool, one mom backs out of her parking space without full sight of all that is around her. She comes close to hitting another mom who is escorting her baby girl into school. Frightened, she jumps back. She was already clutching her daughter close to her chest, preparing mentally to say goodbye for a few hours, but now adrenaline rushes through her body, and she struggles to breathe.
It is an easy mistake. This human life is filled with them. The mother in the car apologizes profusely. All day long, I consider all that these two moms are thinking and feeling. We live with the constant possibility of injuring one another without intent.
Once back in my car after dropping off all the kids, I drive to work praying, “Glory, glory, glory,” under my breath. This ache is not pain. It is not anxiety. It is, perhaps, what the “fear of the Lord” is – a reverence that witnesses God’s glory instead of controlling it or running from it. It is living peacefully overwhelmed, aware of God’s permanence and our fragility.
The glory of God, witnessed in this human frame, always comes to me as this ache. My eyes take it in. My body feels at rest with my feet planted firmly on this ground. But somewhere deep within me, where my heart beats and my soul breathes, where God’s imprint radiates like a hidden jewel, I feel an ache.
There is an ache in God’s glory. And I would like to spend a lifetime – an eternity that matters in its saturation of witnessed moments, more than the number of days – exploring this ache and seeing how it might transform me into a gift to the world as an act of devotion to our Creator.
For this ache, I pause and give thanks.