“And what is more it may be that we find him there more truly than when we thought we saw Him in the light of our own dim day.”
I want to grasp all corners of the future,
to make sure no wild angel arrives with a message I cannot fiat.
I line the insides of my stomach with thick Icelandic donuts. I’m not sure why. What am I hoping for that my body reminds me. I try to silence the hole with food. It’s freezing in the basement, and I stoke the fires of my mitochondrial hearths with cords and cords of fuel. In the face of the future’s uncertainty, I transform my alimentary canal into a pantry.
I’ve learned enough to know this stockpiling of food is my body sensing a perilous openness, a vacuum it abhors. Seal it shut. Close it off. Delimitate the reality we will handle. Squelch the mystery that lingers in the dark beyond it.
To let angels into the story is to let in the wild dark. Can I allow it? Can I stomach that which I cannot contain or create on my own?
In the silent, golden church, I notice the Latin written around the nave—“do not be afraid, Joseph.” A stained glass window celebrates an oft-neglected scene: Joseph dreaming of the Immaculate Conception, her head crushing hell’s serpent. The angel assuring him to follow the peace filling his broken heart back to his erstwhile bride. The painter of this window reveals the ending: millennia later, Joseph’s risk will be celebrated in doctrine. His leap into the dark radiating shards of colored light into the sanctuary.
I know what will happen when I leave the church—I will be knocked out of the golden silence. I will fall again and skin my hands. I will again find God in the quiet of the cross, in the silent sufferings of our own lives.
Why does he come to us in the cross? He is not a gentle God. Nor is he predictable. But, could he not be present most nearly in joy? Could he decide to speak to us most clearly in certainty?
But of course, the cross can be joy, and mystery is certainty. And perhaps we find him at first when we call out to him in darkness, because in darkness we discover our need to see again, to see in a new way. We might learn to see as God sees.
And we prove, as Augustine says, our faithfulness: God need not blush, for we love him, even though we do not get what we want, even though the night is all that’s visible. Still we delight in him—and how good to be delighted in for your own sake no matter what.
Even God finds that very good.
We are delighted with Him, the giver of all gifts.