grokking. An epiphany.
I was putting my youngest son to bed and saying the things I often say when putting one of my boys to bed -- that I love him. A lot. More than anything. More than everything put together. More than he could imagine. And that somehow, mysteriously, tomorrow I'd love him even more.
At that moment I had one of those experiences like in the movie Matrix when Keanu Reeves had the entire human knowledge set about kung fu downloaded into his mind at once -- I had an instantaneous on-rushing of images, ideas, and intuitions which led to a powerful realization: We are love.
It'll take some upacking.
First, I thought of the expanding universe as an illustration for my son of the way I can say I'll love him more tomorrow without implying that I love him any less today. The universe, today, consists of all there is and yet this all-there-is-universe is continuously expanding. Tomorrow it will be bigger than it is today. Yet today it isn't really any less than it will be tomorrow -- it is still all-that-there-is. It's just that tomorrow it will be a bigger all-that-there-is. So in the first microsecond I apprehended that this would be a good metaphor for the love I have for my children.
Right on top of this came the classic three-word expression of Universalist theology -- "God is love."
This was followed -- although no time passed between these thoughts -- by the question, "What if the universe is the manifested expression of God's love?" I have a friend and colleague who likes to use the term, "tangibilify" -- what if the universe is God's love tangibilified? What if the universe is, if you will, the "incarnation" of God's love?
I've always liked the creation story J.R.R. Tolkien wrote for his mythological world of Middle Earth. In it, Ilúvatar, the One, sets forth a chord from which the Ainur (think "angels") begin to weave a melody. It's a great story -- you'll find it inThe Silmarillion -- but in the end, Ilúvatar tells the Ainur to look upon what they have sung, and it turns out that they have literally sung the universe into being.
If the universe could be the "song of the Ainur" made manifest, why couldn't it be the manifestation of God's love? Certainly if I tried to create something to represent and give expression to the love I feel for my wife and kids it might well turn out to be something as astonishing as the Cat's Eye Nebula and the Grand Canyon.
So in no time at all I went from the idea that the expanding universe makes a good metaphor for the expanding love I feel for my kids, to the idea that God is love, to the idea that the universe is the tangible expression/manifestation of God's love.
The final step was when I thought that, literally, we are all made of star dust, that all matter in the cosmos shares the same origins in the primordial elements that flared forth in the big bang some 13.7 billion years ago. Everything that is, comes from the "dust" of the stars and, so, in a very real and concrete way, we are all related. And we human beings, you and I, as the poem Desiderata puts it, "have a right to be here . . . no less than the trees and the stars," because we are quite literally the children of those stars and kin to the trees.
And if the universe is the created, manifested expression of God's love -- and we are made of the same stuff as the universe -- then we, too, are the created manifested expression of God's love. Literally then -- we are love. Not simply loved. Not merely capable of loving. We -- you and I -- are love itself materialized, incarnated, made real. And just as it can truly be said that each beat of our hearts is an echo of the Big Bang so, too, can it be said that each one of our actions is -- or, at least, can be -- an echo of Love.
Think about that for a while and see how the rest of your day goes.
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