The solstice is almost here. Nature only causes our part of the planet to grow darker for a season. Then, the light returns. In that spirit a more positive take on my previous essay.
“Gentle rain falls on me.
All life folds back into the sea.
We contemplate eternity
Beneath the vast indifference of heaven.”
However, Warren Zevon’s beautiful lyrics do not start with indifference and we are not required to begin or end there either. In fact, all four of these poetic lines come from the end of the refrain. So much depends upon where we choose to begin. Here, we begin with the life-giving gift of gentle rain and the cycle which returns that life to the sea. As I see the world, it changes everything.
When we look to the skies and desire to see a magic and all-powerful version of ourselves, we are disappointed. We see vast expanses filled with wonders beyond our comprehension which leave us feeling insignificant. But, that is impression not fact. What we see out there is exactly what we are made of down here. Everything we are in substance and energy is provided from out there. Everything we see out there is made of the same packets of energy become matter that comprise our own physical reality. Each and every day the sun continues to shine new energy which is absorbed by the systems of our planet which warm, feed and sustain us. We can just as easily say that it requires hubris to label “indifferent” that which like a doting mother continues every day to pour out for us everything we need to grow and become who we are.
The sense of meaninglessness, our orphaned feelings of futile abandonment in the immensity of it all, come when we insist in finding out there a reflection of ourselves. If we allow the universe to be what we know it to be, it fulfills many of the characteristics we have called God from the time of the ancients. The universe provides the source of life, the sustaining power of life, and the potential to being the end of life. We come out of it, and in the end we return our energy and our substance to it. It is both the source and destination of all that we are and own. It inspires our contemplation of beauty and surprises us by being always more than what we have imagined. And all good gifts come from it to us. We experience life as good and discovery as exciting within the wonders it reveals.
What it refuses to do is be human. Good theology has always tried to proclaim that God is not the same as us, is spirit, is beyond our limits of body and mind. And yet, our religious efforts have always insisted on turning the ultimate into something cartoonists easily draw as one of us grown old and wise. The heavens provide no such image. They do give life, wonder, beauty, awe and everything that is. They are the source and ultimate destiny of everything we know.
Only when we ignore the gentle rain, the welcoming sea, and the glorious light filling the vastness and demand to see ourselves.