Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
The article on the living hell that's become of Japan shared space on my computer screen with an ad for "Hollywood's New Secret Diet" and tips for finding a haircut that works well with your face shape. "Ah," I thought, "how very telling."
It's crazy hard to meditate for long on the Greater Reality, namely that every one of us is in the process of dying, without becoming eager for an escape. It's remarkable how the magnitude of our universal vulnerability to any number of tragic scenarios, and of the powerlessness of our resources and accomplishments to combat them, can be so effectively muffled by You Tube, a bag of Doritos or a trip to the outlet mall.
Great Lent is asking of me to gaze upon the terrifying Truth in all its mind blowing wonder without blinking or turning my head, and boy oh boy if that doesn't make me squirm like a bug in the sun under a magnifying glass. It's overwhelming.
In this unnerving state of rawness, however, where theories and grievances melt away (in light of the Light) into irrelevance, the Resurrection emerges as the Everything it truly is. If I can just hold out – refrain from surrendering to the temptation to find relief from the intensity, of a Mercy far beyond our comprehension, in empty trivialities - anxiety will loosen its grip on my soul.
I'm not so naive to imagine this struggle to keep my faith in spite of it all won't tear me up, or reveal my ugliness. No, I know by this point it's going to hurt, burn, humble me, demand more from me than I feel capable of giving. I may very well end up crawling my way to Pascha, and oh how much more triumphant will that empty tomb be because of my utter desperateness for it – my keen realization that without it I am lost, all is lost?
For those who choose to see, earth is crammed with heaven. Love triumphs always.