Presence

I have heard that beauty is the residue, the fingerprint-glory of God.  And I have agreed wholeheartedly.  But I have begun to suspect that a fingerprint is something we leave behind at the scene of a crime – and doesn’t that mark the suspicion in our breast?  Isn’t that the shape of our doubt?

But what if God is a gentleman, who left, that day in the Garden when we asked Him to, but it broke His heart to go?  And what if He only left like the faithful parent of a railing child, listening with His hand on the doorknob, ready to enter at the child’s first frightened cry?  

What if he left as the faithful lover of a woman momentarily lunatic on the tide of the moon: peering through the lattice, ready to protect her from the intruder she hasn’t yet learned to suspect?

What if He is this near: that slant of light that aches your heart?  What if the way the light cannot help but dance (and you, sometimes, cannot help but notice) is a whispered invitation to catch His eye?

What if He is this near: that breath of air that catches yours?  (The scent of sea, the alpine eucalypt, the daily breeze of dawn).  What if His very breath is breathed invisible through your ordinary window?

What if He’s here?

***

What if beauty is not evidence that He left, but evidence that He’s here?

What if beauty is the sound of His whisper to you, the sound of the song He’s singing to soothe you, woo you?  If the beat of the drum, when you hear that song that makes you move, is not a war cry but a heartbeat?  

What if He is love?  

And what if the beat of His heart is a war cry – against your enemy, and not you?

What if, when He looks at you, he’s smiling?

What if it’s not ignorance, but innocence, that’s bliss?  And if the only way to find it is first to admit that it is lost?

What if the way He returns, in this age, is not all at once (as He some day certainly will) – but one by one: to the ones that welcome Him?

What if He’s just waiting for you to welcome Him in?

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