When I was a younger man, back when I was absolutely certain that I knew quite a lot about a great many things—whereas now, I’m only fairly confident that I know much less about far fewer things—but back at that time, when my expanding mind was burgeoning with fresh thought, the Spirit tried to teach me a little something about the world around me, of which it spoke that I was a small, but still meaningful part. Though at the time I was unsure of my part, or whether I had any part at all to play in the world—meaningful or otherwise. Yet, paradoxically I was at the same time the precise center of the entire world, at least in my own mind: a modern man—both narcissistically self-assured and insecure.
I was quick to speak and slow to listen; even so, the Spirit led me up a mountaintop to show me things I didn’t know. If only I had eyes to see and ears to hear, and a mind receptive to truths shrouded in mystery and shadows. The poetry of creation surrounded me and I was immersed in the language of the stars; like all people, made to understand (at least in part) the same celestial music that directs the moon and the wind, though I didn’t know it at the time. Perhaps I felt it then as a numinous possibility, a spiritual potentiality, but my mind was too dull, from too much calculation and from seeing the world too fully through the lens of calibration; falsely imagining that if I could measure reality, then I would know reality. We are enamored by the allure of quantifiable minutiae, making these an end in themselves rather than as markers pointing to our spiritual source. We speak but don’t listen, we speak our own language but do not try to learn, or remember, the language of creation.
When I finally stopped talking (which was very difficult for me to achieve) and I listened instead—another presence came and filled the space around me. It has taken me decades just to begin to quit talking, and to start listening. Spirit speaks poetically and enchantingly—and quietly. I try to write down what I hear. Sometimes I hear clearly, so as to take dictation in a sense; other times it is as though I am translating from another language into my own. However, when the wind gently shakes the tree tops, what else is there to say? As sunlight dances brilliantly upon the tiny waves of a sheltered bay, and as gulls glide softly through the silken water as silhouettes, why should I append this happening with any additional words whatsoever? Isn’t God clearly seen and known by what He has created; what then is the purpose of clarifying creation as it is occurring, simply with more words—as an ultimate act of redundancy?
Although…the words that we use to describe to one another the beauty and mystery of creation, might they be symbols that can and do describe something even further about God? Poetry speaks to the heart and soul, and communicates something that we humans are, perhaps, otherwise too dull of mind to perceive; directing our thoughts, and hearts, heavenward in an inexplicable encounter with the Divine—discovering word and meaning from the world around us.