Further up and further in

I am a seed. I’m just a little seed, thrusted into the deep, unknown and unknowing. Well, known by God, and knowing His mysterious love in an ever more marvelous way. I’m surrounded by dark, rich, fertile soil, the water of God’s grace and the warm beams of His light seeping in to make me grow. It’s delightful and altogether baffling.

Do you ever crave the satisfaction of conclusions? I’d like to say, as this little seed, here are my roots and here is my fruit. Here is what God has been doing, here’s the what and when and why, here’s my gift-wrapped explanation of it all from start to finish. But there is no finish, not this time.

I just spent seven weeks with 600 missionaries in Florida. I led and learned and loved. But the last week is what really did me in. With just 50 others, I was immersed in the extravagant beauty, truth, and goodness of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. In other words, the meaning of being human, the heart of Christianity, the great mystery of how the invisible is made visible through the physical. Oh, and the transposing of the eternal love song of the Trinity into the temporal corporeality of man and woman. (Thanks, Bill.)

And as much as I’d like to enumerate the particular ways God has radically changed me, and rattle off the truth bombs that shook me, and present my newfound solutions to the messiness of life, I’m essentially lost. Lost in wonder and gratitude, lost in the deep, dark soil, lost in His unfathomable love. What I do know, though, is that He is at work. The master gardener has an unforeseen masterpiece in mind.

I also know that I had never looked forward to coming home so very much in my life. It can be lonely to be a little, hidden seed, and there’s a surpassing goodness to the knowing and receiving and loving of a family, in the home where I first grew. This home is the perfect place to germinate, to sink in those lengthening roots of mystery deep below, to be still and know that He is God. It comes in waking up in my creaky childhood bed, in sitting on my screened-in porch joined by rustling leaves and trilling birds, in slowly and deliberately unpacking, both literally and figuratively.

“Come further up, come further in!” says Jewel the Unicorn in C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle. We heard this in our immersive, instructive week again and again: further up and further in. Confront the mystery head on, and instead of balking at its incomprehensibility, keep going. Keep questioning, and wondering, and seeking the truth, I tell myself. Keep pushing your roots, however blindly, into the deep. And this little, hidden seed, I know, will crack the surface and, someday, tower to the heavens.




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