2/21/05

super hero and supper

I was walking the other night when ideas for this entry began to deposit tehmselves on my consciousness like particles of dust settling on a highly laquered chest of drawers. Disillusionment, basic trust, moving from life as a learner to life as a teacher of learners, destiny, being lost like Red Riding Hood in the woods, passing through invisible portals where the ordinary and wonderful converge to rain down an unexpected sense of well-being and appreciation, dreaming. Each of these particles settled a speck at a time - some seemed to be more important than others but how can I really tell?

This line of thought led me, don't ask me how, to think about spiders. I don't like spiders but I am always impressed with what they do for a living. In essence, a spider spreads filament in a web-pattern in hopes of catching an unsuspecting insect. It works hard, waits, and when the web succeeds, it moves for the kill without mercy.

For the first time, I thought of myself as being like a hungry spider.

I can't quite wrap my mind around the odd notion that the universe might view me as the predator. More surprising, and even ego-injuring, is the notion that, by the universe's measure of highly evolved, I am not so different from a spider.

To what extent have I related to God as a "catch" - or someone to apprehend? To what degree have I imagined myself able to attract God's attention on the basis of my honoring my side of a sacred covenant? How much of my existence is dedicated to constructing a giant God-catching web?

I could despair at the thought of this but the discovery makes me giddy with joy. I can't explain why except to say that the realization sucks me into a whirlwind of grace where God allows Himself to be caught and eaten for the sake of turning a mindless soul into a thinking and feeling human being capable of imagining and even connecting with a sense of divine purpose.

Now for the concrete.

I was talking to a fourth grader the other day. He was crying because he lost a speech contest to another boy - of course the popular boy with everything going for him. He admitted, "I just want to choke him, I hate him so much." I said, "Pretend my arm is his neck. Choke away and tell him everything you feel." He grabbed my arm, squeezed, yelled, then cried - letting go he sunk into a heap of wrung out energy. I used the opportunity to tell him something I thought was important and said, "When you're all grown up you're going to come to me and tell me how I was right about this." His response was simple and probably true (I did the math) - "You'll probably have Alzheimers and you won't even remember me."


What he doesn't know, cannot know, is that even if my mind forgets, I will always know that there was a moment when my arm became a surrogate scapegoat for all that was wrong is that boy's life. The ageless boy in me connected with the real life boy in him in a dimension that neither of us can completely occupy despite the concreteness of its existence. He will not even know the place exists until the ageless boy in him connects with a real life boy somewhere in his future.


Consuming God means eating one's way to the most startling, terrifying, and humbling core of reality. The core of reality is that, like the fourth grader, I use God's arm and hem to work out my angst with little or no concept of how deeply I touch him - the whole of Him. This would be tragic were it not for the wonderful irony that our own experience is full of stories where we get to be both super-hero and supper.

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