Monday, August 27, 2007

Imago

At the end of that dark day, near sunset, I pulled into a rest stop to stretch my legs. A group of monks and nuns in pale gray robes clustered at a picnic table. Flying in ecstatic circles, over lawn and concrete, a thousand giant dragonflies, four inches long and a half inch in diameter, feeding or mating, being a manifestation of beauty. The monks were all speaking French; and I felt the old language take life in me, as I contemplated chatting with them. I would say, Bonjour, ca va? And once introductions were complete, we would discuss obscure theologies in multiple languages. Leaving the bathroom, though, they all spoke English. The dragonflies still danced in waves and ripples and spirals. I stood in their midst, encircled and surrounded by flying bolts of light. It was a summoning. The monks and nuns, it was easy to believe, were not human, but emanations or emissaries. They ignored me as I stood, hands out, to touch those whirling and diving wings, power throbbing my palms, the threshold between worlds very near, in the shadow of that dark tree near the edge of the woods. A tent caterpillar nest overhanging the sidewalk, looming, intimate shadows within. The monks and nuns got into their cars and drove away. It was a meeting of overlapping worlds; strangers at the crossroads.

Thus I came to an insight about the true nature of God: the whole theology of the Trinity is wrong. It’s actually a four-in-one, not a three-in-one; four is a much more sacred number. Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and Godhead, which is called Mystery: that deep silent Unknowing behind the imago dei; that one can only arrive at by sinking and cooling into release; a still small voice one can never quite shoehorn into image or word. That dark day I had gotten lost, been waylaid, found deep pools of reasonless waters; I had driven myself hard, and gotten nowhere. Now I return to the unknown and silent. I knew this once, and lost it. Now I must re-learn it. Like starting over, maps are useless, the territory uncharted. Every structure stripped away, in order for the voice of Mystery to re-enter, rebuild, again.

I am too tired to resist, to fight. The day empties me. I am dying, and just want the powers that be to take me now, and get it over with. I am willing to die to the old life, to be void. That emptiness that is what used to be; that hole in the air that used to be shaped like a body. So the dragonflies might dance through, and catch light in the indigo twilight.

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