Wednesday, August 27, 2008

the better story

       I don't want to miss the better story.

       Let me explain, actually, even better--let me show you an excerpt from the book I am currently reading, Life of Pi:

       I can well imagine an atheist's last words: "White, white! L-L-Love! My God!"--and the deathbed leap of faith.  Whereas the agnostic, if he stays true to his reasonable self, if he stays beholden to dry, yeastless factuality, might try to explain the warm light bathing him by saying, "Possibly a f-f-failing of oxygenation of the b-b-brain," and, to the very end, lack imagination and miss the better story.

      Every once in a while, a song, or an excerpt from a book, or even a dance will leap out at me and cause something in my world to all of the sudden make sense.  It's like I was finally given the right key to a lock that I have long since given up on turning.  And then, like a delighted kid, I take that key and turn it back and forth, over and over again, taking a deep satisfaction from the click and the ease of a right fit--because, finally, it works!

    Right, so I have reread that passage a few times and I keep thinking about the sadness of missing the better story.  We have this thing called perspective and it's forceful in the way it colors your life.  Jesus talked about it; I think that is exactly what he meant when he told people that when they look at the light, their whole body will be just bursting with it, radiant, even.  I want to be like that, I want to be looking at the light...Gosh, but what does that mean? What does that look like?  

   Well, I am not always sure, but I know I want to be aware of the better story, a part of it, whenever I can.  I know there are things very unromantic and un-exciting like bills that need to be paid and teeth that need to be brushed, but somewhere in the middle of all that there are magical, beautiful moments--there is humor that leads to laughter that doesn't necessarily serve a scientific function like the way a liver cleans the blood or a heart pumps that blood around; but still, it makes us feel better to the point that we feel good and that's something; there are sunsets that bathe half the earth in golden light while the other half is feeling for its shadows in such a way that arrests me in whatever ordinary task I am doing; and there are people--normal people like you and me--who hurt each other viciously and then learn the secret of the universe as they forgive and slowly, gently find their way back to friendship, to communion; they give a gift that is undeserved and this is a sign of God, if you ask me.  There are miracles every day, heart-lifting miracles of wonderment that remind me of the better story.  Because always, always--there is a better story, for those who have the eyes to see...

   And I want to be one of them.  


Mom said...

For those who have ears, let them hear.....

Peaj said...

In our world, the word spiritual means many things: moral, magical, even creepy.

But I think that the better story that you describe is spiritual in a plainer sense: it is connecting with the spirit, that unseen, not-scientifically-verifiable part of ourselves that we all feel is there and desperately (if secretly) want to connect with. It is life lived through our spirit.

Life lived in Materialville can be stupefying. Life in the spirit can be glorious.

Anonymous said...

here here

kathiek said...

Beautifully put, Jess.