A Story Told Through a Toothless Grin
Look round you and see how the world is full-bellied, flushed, and pregnant.
Four fetal feet kick within her, for she is great with twins-- two primitive beauties, not tame wonders ruined by convention, instead Holst and Wagner who crash and thrum, with order enough to make you thirsty and with danger enough to keep you wide awake.
If you are brave enough to walk in the woods at the edge of spring, or courageous enough to walk along the foaming lips of the sea as a storm rolls in, you will find that all that is natural and unsullied by human hands speaks a language you've nearly forgotten.
All that has been left alone resounds, and her songs make you ache, and this is embarrassing and uncomfortable for you with all of your school of hard knocks graduate degrees, so you don't talk about it much.
But of all that is wrong in the world, is right also to ache, for this world was created to be read like a child reads.
Once you start to hear what she has to tell you, it will pass also before your eyes like a flicker of light, and you wonder if you have really seen anything at all. Then once you admit what has come to you, once you relax into all the possibilities that M-theory, and molecular biology, and Degas, and Pascal, and Vaughan-Williams strain to promise, you will have to shove your fingers way, way down into your ear canal to deny what is impossible to deny but difficult to believe.
Because here is a love song sung in an age of lost love, see? But do not sing it. Do not sing it! You dare not hold this melody inside you because it is too much for the frail wineskins of your mortal heart. It will burst you clean.
But if you will not run, I will tell you a story that goes like this... long, long ago the most eloquent of all poets, the most expressive of all musicians, the most nuanced painter of gold light upon blue shadows decided to create a new work of art.
This Creator decided to mold dimensions with his own hands, length, width, depth, time -- and work upon this canvas a creative being that He could love and enjoy forever and ever.
Like a papa creating a playroom for his own, the Creator designed a studio--an entire planet full of pigments, marble, wood, metals, jewels, and every element that could be harnessed to make more beauty still. He planted inspiration all round and about to teach lessons of form and balance, plants, and animals, and stars--a world full of textures, and stories, and lessons packed with inspiration.
But the Creator knew that an artist cannot be an artist without autonomy. Autonomy allows an artist to make new ideas come to life, and so the Creator took a great risk. He decided to give his created being freedom--freedom to love him or to reject him. Freedom to abide by beauty or to turn away from it.
He got down to the business of making his beloved, formed the animal body of the created, then knelt to place his own mouth around the nostrils of his new man. He exhaled His own sweet soul-life into his creature's lungs, and at that moment, his new man fluttered and quickened and became more than an animal--he became imago Dei--a being made in his Maker's own image.
And oh, this creative creature was stunning. As he stretched out his bare arms into the light of the star his Creator had made, as he opened and closed fingers nimble enough to play Kabalevsky or do a surgeon's work inside the chest of a little child-- the Creator smiled over his work and and said, "This is delightful."
The Creator wanted to keep close company with the created, a closeness very much like the Creator kept with His own God-Kind. So the Creator walked with the man and talked with him in the cool of the day.
He also warned his man of danger, for there was one who hated the freedom and the gifts of this Adam. This enemy was a proud, hateful being who despised the Creator and all he made.
The Creator implored his man to use his freedom to trust him, to recline in his lavish love, to dwell in the life of God-communion so that death would never come to this artistic paradise. (For all that is of God is life, and all that is not of God is dead and dying.) The Creator pointed north, east, west, and south and told his creature to play, to work, to revel in every luxury -- save one single barrier, one boundary that had to be respected out of trust in the wisdom and authority of the Creator.
The warning proved true and good, for the enemy of the Creator and his created did indeed come, and he was sly, and he was wicked. This enemy convinced the created to mistrust the Creator, and so the death of separation from trust in God entered the world. And in the separation of man from God, there is death, and disease, and sadness, and loneliness, and bloodshed, and hatred, and suspicion.
Instead of choosing communion with the Creator, man chose to defy Him. Instead of choosing to yield to the warm light and love of his maker, he chose to rip himself apart and stand alone in the stone cold dark.
The mighty Creator's heart was broken, but he had a plan for rescue even yet. Even in the day of her greatest sadness and shame, he whispered over the man and his wife, promising them that one day a descendant of the woman would crush the evil one who had deceived them.
The Creator gave her hope, but He didn't tell her how much that hope would cost.
In the years that followed, the death that the man had been warned about unfolded. The world was now plagued with trouble, violence, injustice. Humans learned the hard way that even their greatest strengths could not save them. They needed help or else death would grow until there was no life left at all.
And so the Creator did something radical. He shook off His rights and implanted an essential, vulnerable part of Himself into one of the grandchildren of the first woman. He made his infinite self small enough to fit inside of a human womb, small enough and yet vast enough to soak up all human wrongs into His own flesh.
This man-God stretched out his own arms to all the mistakes the created had ever done and said, "Beat me for them. Abuse me for them. Let the payment for my children fall upon me."
All the darkness and the ugliness of all dark and ugly things poured into the Creator's body. Though the gravity and the horror were great, though like a black hole the density of all history was pulled into a single lightless center, the Creator yielded. All death that was meant to fall upon the created, he welcomed in to kill himself instead.
And this created a vacuum inside of every soul of every person willing to offer her failures to God, a space large enough to make room for a living part of God to be implanted in her. So when this Son of God rose from the dead, his roots loosened the graveyards, his resurrection plowed up black earth souls, made them soft so that he might dig down through to plant the seed of a powerful, invisible part of His own God-nature to fill up their emptiness.
The communion that resulted from this exchange between the Creator and the created was even closer and more powerful than the communion of those first long walks in the garden. This time, the Creator wouldn't just visit His created. He would indwell them. An internal dance began between the maker and the made.
Once again there was freedom. Freedom to receive this union. Freedom to reject it. Freedom to willingly agree to trust. Freedom to unify with the giver of beauty and love. Freedom to refuse connection with him and scratch the best life possible out of death.
To woo the children of the children of the world, the Creator continued to leave whispers of His love. The crash of the sea against the rocks. The creak of old wood. The little black eyes of a fawn. The romance of His fingerprints. The ache in a chest at the end of a good story. The reaching out of a soul for a home it's never quite had.
And He left stories like trail markers, tales told by prostitutes and tough-talking fishermen. He entrusted his holiest words to the motliest crew of men and women, a rickety, traveling caravan of gypsies who cannot quite translate what they have seen, but if you are humble enough to sit at their feet, you will find mystical, magical tales of wonder.
Through toothless grins, they will tell you of buried treasures, and like a fool, like a child, you will want to listen, and you will pity them, too.
And maybe it will cross your mind that in the best stories there is always a Yoda or maybe a hideous old hag standing beside road asking a glass of milk, and that sometimes it take a week or two in the swamp to learn to become a Jedi.
For the way is narrow and few will walk it, but it is not narrow like membership in the country club, and not narrow like an SAT score, and not narrow like being born with Kate Upton's legs-- but the way is narrow as a fat little bluebird who comes to sit on a barbed wire fence, and stares at you directly, then nods as if she wants you to follow her.