catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 8, Num 25 :: 2009.12.25 — 2010.01.07


Breaking through

Birth has to be one of the messiest and profoundest of realities.

The phenomenologists write about experience as only understandable in its reflection. For us, the selves who face the world, the flow of our consciousness becomes so full of the primacy of sensation that we quickly filter it, look back on it, and make sense of it in order to not explode.

At least that’s how I sum it up. But those of us who have been fortunate enough to witness a birth may remember, as I do, how close they came to exploding into the ether of all that was present there. The juxtaposition of anticipation, joy, empathy, pain, and perhaps silence and whispers punctuated by straining cries; the feeling of your heart pounding in your ears…and the overwhelming moment when the wave of experience finally breaks as a new life comes forth to the shores of the world as we know it. Witnessing a birth, for me, was one of those rarest of experiences when the duration of the moment stretched out, way out, creating an opening wide enough for the fullness of reality to pour in and take my breath away. No wonder it was so terrifying.

I am learning how to be a student of the social world. Some people see that world as a chimera, present only in the minds of individuals, made up of only the aggregate of individual consciousnesses, as re-arrangeable as family members posing for a photograph. But I prefer to think of the world as much greater than the sum of its recognized parts. I suppose it is the fullness of reality that convinces me this is true, the fear and trembling of the knowledge that, should any moment become too great, I would be swept away. Yet there is also a pull, a longing to be drawn into that realest of the Real, to finally know the source of life itself.

And I suppose it is for that I say thank God, thank God that Jesus lived on earth. That he broke through the veil into time from that-beyond-time and grew into a young adult as I did. That he felt the pain of separation from the God of being more greatly than anyone else because he was its sinless child, and yet his body was flesh and bone like mine, his brain full of neurons, the breath of his Spirit felt by his disciples as a human’s breath.

Because of Jesus I know that the world is not a lie. And in studying the meaning that we make of that world I look confidently beyond what I see, expecting not a gaping hole but a tangled, astonishing, dimly understood mystery. Welcome, little babe, Prince of Peace, Lord of all.  

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