Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Real but not "in-your-face" Real

What would reasonable people think of you if you told them you’ve been talking to and learning about and thinking about three people since you were a little child, but had never actually seen or heard or touched these three people? It sounds a bit unsettling, does it not?

There are people who have done just that, but don’t think of these three people in the same way as they do, say, their close friends, husband or wife, children or parents. They think of these three people as being, somehow, “other.” Yes, of course, they will tell you these three people are real, but in a way, not as real as their other significant others, the ones they can see, touch and hear.

The other day, it dawned on me how I have spent an entire lifetime mostly thinking about these three people as “other,” and not as very real, in-your-face real. It made me think how I could have thought so much about them, for decades now, but somehow categorized them in an alternate, less real and tangible reality, that of the spiritual. Even though I’ve never seen them, touched them or heard them as you hear a child’s laughter, they are just as real and inhabit a very real world or realm.

I hoped at times that they had decided to make themselves “in-your-face” real, instead of physically removed, audibly unheard, tactilely unperceived. How different and yet familiar it would be for each of them, or at least, one of them, to appear when I wanted to see, hear or touch that person. That would make a world of difference. Of course, that was not how they wish my encounters with them to be. Historical accounts tell of a time when one of them was heard audibly by thousands of people and still, hours or days later, the “in-your-face” encounter might just as well not have happened. Then, of course, there are the various accounts of one of them walking, talking and touching and being touched by hundreds, and yet, hours, days or weeks later, the “in-your-face” encounter might just as well not have happened. So I’m left with the perplexing reality that seeing, hearing and touching a very real person does not guarantee you have a valid, lasting and significant relationship with that person. I’ve heard, seen and touched people I thought I’d hear, see and touch as long as my life should last, and they have since disappeared into the shadows of time and emotion.

Still, how uncanny and unbelievable to be so obsessed and to spend so much of my waking and dream life focused on the three in question: God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

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