Understanding and Expression

At birth, we awaken to find ourselves placed in a world – untrained, unknowing, unaware and off-balance.  Each of us tries to find orientation and a stable base of understanding upon which we can endeavor to make sense of our existence.  In this context, the universe of God has revealed a mystery of meaning and our life journey is destined to its understanding.  Yet the tools for comprehension that exist within us are so limited.  We start  the journey by looking inward; with self-awareness and self-understanding.  We look deeply within. We dive into the universe of who we are.  We try to sift though the seemingly inexhaustible darkness of thoughts, feelings and experiences in order to form some comprehensible matrix of our personal reality in the attempt to create some firm footing from which we may observe and launch out in other discovery.  We try to receive external information from our environment and harmoniously assimilate it into our personal construct to better make sense of the world setting we exist in.  Through all of this there is movement, flux, history – nothing static, always changing.  The world swirls around us as do our ideas and experiences requiring us to ever adjust our reality construct in order to account for the new information.  Between each breath, we are in a constant state of change and evolution.  And we try to make sense of it all.

In this personal, autonomous experience and in our interactions with other sentient beings, we are significantly and utterly limited by our humanity in two ways.  We are challenged to understand and express using tools that are finite.  We find ourselves given tools that have a limited capacity to remember and recall. Tools that require rest and rejuvenation. Tools that have a limited ability to process information in both scope and complexity.  Tools that are deficient in transforming thoughts, ideas, and emotions into adequate forms of expression and communication to others and even to ourselves.  Even if we are able to make some sense of the swirling maw within ourselves; given the desire to express our ideas to others, we are never able to choose exactly the right words or other mediums to form a complete representation of our ideas to those outside of our minds.  Even as I write this I realize the woeful inadequacy to find the choice combination of words that will express the meaning that exists within the cloud of my conscious mind.  Even the most talented poets manifest the sheer inadequacy of their expression.  Yet, somehow, some form of their meaning comes through in their words.  That some meaning escapes into the consciousness of another who finds and recognizes its value gives me hope and also draws me closer to an understanding of my deficiency in relation to the infinitely expressioned God.

In realizing these limited capacities for understanding and expression, I also conceive that each sentient being, experiencing the same inabilities, is universally bound to each another.  We are a collective of individuals inextricably unique and tied together.  We exist within ourselves, but never apart from one another.  We are together on a common path to make sense of a life that none of us asked for, but find ourselves in.  We find greater degrees of meaning through each other – through our communication across and because of our limited medium and capacity.  And it is only in the chaos of our togetherness, in conjunction with the God of experiences, that we come to a more expressive and fully realized comprehension of the divine mystery.

What corrupts a child?

In Watchman Nee’s The Spiritual Man, Nee says the following:

If man’s spirit and soul would maintain their created perfection, healthiness, and liveliness, his body would then be able to continue forever without change. If he would exercise his will by taking and eating the fruit of life, God’s Own Life undoubtedly would enter his spirit, permeate his soul, transform his entire inner man, and translate his body into incorruptibility. (p. 45)

Watching Harper, I think about his innocence, softness and purity at his young age. Already however, at age 3, I observe a hardening occurring within him. The innocence in his eyes from a year ago has been diminished and a part of it has been replaced by a blossoming understanding that the world contains cruelty. Of course cruelty to this 3 year old is not actually cruel, but he has experienced disappointment and is increasingly realizing that life presents choices and especially limitations. I see this a s the beginning of his personal evolution toward an understanding of the world – the knowledge of good and evil.

The embodiment of such knowledge transmogrifies (transforms the nature) a person. This first introductions of this knowledge ignite a process of corruption. While watching this process begin to work in my son disturbs, saddens and frightens me, I also recognize that there is a significant beauty in it. Or rather, there is beauty in God’s response to it. This process first occurred and took its root in Eden. When Adam and Eve took and eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the mechanisms of God’s redemptive plan begin to move. God foresaw the need for man’s redemption from corruption and planned for a way of reconciliation and restored innocence in the person of Jesus Christ.

So now I can watch my son, who was born incorruptible, become corrupted so that he can journey to the point in his life where God reveals to him that he needs rescue from the mire that he currently has no idea he has dipped his little toe in. And when Harper is given his vision and realizes his opportunity, it is my hope that he will choose to reach out as far as he can and that God will deliver into his hand the gloriously brilliant fruit from the tree of life; that Harper will be born incorruptible again. Thus beginning the journey back to innocence – back to God from whence he came.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, and are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, whis is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:18