Felicity: lately, it’s mostly a memory. For the eighth day running . . . I can’t run. Endorphin-deprived, this grounded-for-now body feels loggy. Wistful. S-l-a-c-k.
A run leavens my day; it boosts the spirits as well as the heart rate.
However, we in the West are beset by hazardous air quality due to wildfires. Step outside and nose-wrinkling, eye-blinking, mood-sinking schmogg assaults the senses. Headache ensues.
Housebound, a wonder junkie may forgo her knack for awe, even overlook nature’s wordless felicity.
And while I’m deeply grateful for the roof overhead and walls that keep bad air out, how does one batten down for safety . . . yet keep the soul propped open, the mind and spirit ajar?
These days, seems most everything—most everywhere—is being turned upside down.
Remember the old Sunday School fingerplay?
Here is the church;
here is the steeple;
open the doors to see all the people.
Motion-wise, unlatching thumbs and spreading the hands inverts the building: interlaced “roof fingers” and palms become floor—complete with life line.
Ergo: one steeple-free, miniature open-air temple.
Ancient Greeks designed temples with an uncovered space that housed an image of deity. This required a new adjective: Hypaethral (hī-ˈpē-thrəl: quasi-rhymes with “Hi C thrill,” for all you dear sopranos, reading this post).
Hypo-, means “under or beneath,” and aithēr, “air or heaven.”
So, fellow homebodies under heaven, with our blessedly non-leaking roofs clamped overhead, how do we as living temples—each of us quietly housing the image of God—proceed?
As the runner’s sole hitting pavement depends on friction, so we embrace the chafe of severe mercy. Hard grace. The whole of this whacked-out world is still a house for us all. A house for God. A roofless marvel of intricate connectivity. Delight, blessedness, eloquence, bliss—felicity still abounds.
Perhaps roofless is a state of mind . . .
Amid wildfires and COVID-19, riots and politics, global suffering and local schmogg, it’s still occurring out there, beyond the glass . . . PRAISE, I mean . . .
“The way Psalm 148 describes it, praising God … is about as measured as a volcanic eruption. … The whole of creation is in on the act—the sun and moon, the sea, fire and snow, Holstein cows and white-throated sparrows, old men in walkers and children who still haven’t taken their first step.
“Their praise is not chiefly a matter of saying anything, because most of creation doesn’t deal in words. Instead, the snow whirls, the fire roars, the Holstein bellows, the old man watches the moon rise.
“Their praise is not something that at their most complimentary they say, but something that at their truest they are.
“Watch how the trees exult when the wind is in them. … Learn how to say ‘Hallelujah’ from the ones who say it right.”
Day or night, barefoot or shod, kneeling or running, may we do no less.
What is the gift being offered us now?
Tell me, what metaphorical footwear might you lace on, in preparation?
P.S. If you enjoyed my earlier post on racial reconciliation (found here), here’s an excellent book currently furthering my education. White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White, by Daniel Hill.
Daytime low-angle tree shot by Veronica Gomez Ibarra, on Unsplash; Nighttime low-angle tree shot by Dave Hoefler, on Unsplash