Why don't I have this novel yet?
It has seemed to me sometimes as though the Lord breathes on this poor gray ember of Creation and it turns to radiance -- for a moment or a year or the span of a life. And then it sinks back into itself again, and to look at it no one would know it had anything to do with fire, or light. That is what I said in the Pentecost sermon. I have reflected on that sermon, and there is some truth in it. But the Lord is more constant and far more extravagant than it seems to imply. Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don't have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see. Only, who could have the courage to see it?
-- Marilynne Robinson, from Gilead
h/t to Andy Whitman
At this moment, I'm holding my daughter as she's struggling to comprehend and eat her Christmas toys. She is the cutest thing (click here if you want proof) and soft and cuddly to boot. And her smile, when she smiles, is a moment of pure, unadulterated joy. It's a sunset over the ocean, with the salty breeze blowing just hard enough to smell it. It's Pentecost.
But sometimes when I'm away from her and my wife, I get saddened that I am not with them. It's a sort of every-day letdown. A feeling that I've come down from the mountaintop and that life is somehow more dreary, somehow less vivid, and I am less alive. Where's the sun, I ask in this classroom or that hallway or office? Where's the sweet sprinkle of sea water?
But, much like Moses only seeing God while on the mountain, much like the one reassuring vision that MLK had, the mountaintop experiences validate - and should not replace - the dessert years. That grace is recognizing the glory in our everyday lives. That I work for my Lord - as well as for my daughter and my wife. And, well, my own sanity.