The desk in my bedroom has a squared-u on top of the back part of it. There is a wide flat top to the u that up until several days ago held most of my books. There was a pile at one end…a line of books…and a pile at the other. Since putting volumes up there, I rather enjoyed the idea that I had end books instead of book ends.
I loved having my books up there. When I sat at the desk, I felt surrounded by them–because aside from being overhead, inevitably, there is a book or three on the desk surface itself and an assortment of dictionaries in the small cubbies of the u. But, the top was beginning to bow slightly and would probably only get worse so I found a book case in another part of the house and it fit just outside my door…and my books fit perfectly. Now, books welcome me when I enter this room. And, they keep watch when I leave, wrapping me in the memory of certain passages or stanzas or lines. I crave the free and creative space to which books and language lead me…And that space moves with me throughout the day and the places I occupy.
And while books and writing are things I enjoy, I know too that they are but one way to learn of the wonder that is the Origin of all that Is, the Creator, the Impetus, I AM. They are one way of entering into and sensing the presence of God.
Hearing the sounds of language when I read and bringing what is inside of it into being in voice or imagination is a profound experience of God for me. In some wondrous and mystical way, the story or image that rises is also what lifts notes of music into a cradle of air and what happens between them to make sound and it is the overlapping edge between light, shadow, colors and texture and pattern in painting.
God is the space between and in the sensing itself and in the whole come together.
I think I have read something of God in lines of the poems on my shelves, in Isaiah, the Gospels, the Psalms…And I have seen something of God in the works of Matisse and Van Gogh, students I have taught, and the movements of sun and moon….I have heard something of God in laughter on the playground and in the notes that hang at the center of the ceiling at the Church of Saint Francis Xavier in NYC.
And today… Today I have tasted something of God…
I made ancho chile-cinnamon-chocolate crackle cookies and they were amazing.
All of the flavors were huddled together and yet, each could be discerned, each waited its turn for revelation. The chocolate was up front, but you could tell that cinnamon was teasing for attention. Then…just when you think you are done, there is a tap on the shoulder and chile is there, claiming its role in the whole overall, drawing the cinnamon and chocolate back for an encore. What happens between the layers of flavor is not at all unlike what happens in the other sensory experiences…
And I believe it is God to whom I draw close in each sensory act of creativity. God in the sound, in the Word, in the coming together of color, line, contrast, texture, and in the thoughtful interplay of flavor…
Glory, that thrills me.