It’s difficult for me to explain the religious aspects of my life to other people, people who don’t live it like I do. I have these two worlds: one shaded in colored pencil that is the real world for me, where normal people work and live, where ordinary things happen, like trips to the post office and bad break-ups. The other world is in pure Technicolor, bright greens and reds and yellows. God is everywhere and in everything, bursting out of the daisies, and crawling out of people’s eyes, like a diamond veneer that reflects every single ray of sunlight. This second world is the one that makes people catch me singing outside at the top of my lungs whenever I don’t notice that anyone is there, or makes me dance in public places when there isn’t any music. But these worlds are laid one over the other, and it is only with some great difficulty that I have managed to separate them in my mind. I have separated them because I have realized that nobody else seems to see this other, this Technicolor world. How could I turn to somebody and say, “The mountains are green, so very green, with the diamonds sparkling on them,” and expect to communicate to them at all? So I have to stop and separate my two worlds and say to my neighbor something along the lines of “My, I am in a really good mood today.” You get strange looks when you try to explain that, really, you do see a giant mountain set around the library, and that it is covered in diamonds that are reflecting and multiplying the greenness of the grass. They don’t see the hole that God has drilled between heaven and earth above the chapel and or the lakes of olive oil that are constantly pouring through there. They see a building with big windows, and a sky, and some clouds, and would probably think I’m crazy.

These two worlds fade back and forth between each other all the time. Sometimes the colored pencil world is the real one and the Technicolor world is a dream I dreamed a long time ago, and can’t remember all its parts. That’s when all my anger and boredom and self-pity and ual frustration and depression come out at me and try to strangle me. Then, with no real reason, the Technicolor world will take me over, and all I can see are the spiritual forces at work, and all I can hear is the voice of God, murmuring secret melodies in my ear. Then the drab mundane world is to me like so many stained glass windows—crystallized representations of things, and not the reality thereof. The light that shines through them shatters them, and my life is flooded with this blinding white light that washes away every hint of shadow. And then, sometimes, the both worlds are there together, at the same time, and I see everything two ways at once—and those are the times when I have difficulty explaining, separating the two.

God spoke to me today. I mean, really. Spoke to me. No, I didn’t hear a peal of thunder, and I wasn’t knocked off my horse and blinded. But walking back to my room from choir practice, and He was there. I can’t say it any better than that. Nothing was really any different, except that He was there. I could just tell. And over a period of two hours He was just more and more there every minute. The songs were welling up inside of me; all the lights were just a little bit brighter, and I could almost hear the choirs of angel voices singing. I went back to the chapel and did some work and then joined in, sort of spontaneously, with a worship team that was practicing songs for the service on Thursday. But eventually they were gone, and I was there alone, and He was there. Then I began to meet with him in earnest, reminding him, or (in the Technicolor way) he was reminding me, of all the things he was to me. He is Rapha, and Shalom, and Nissi—my healing, my peace, and my banner. He is the God who chases me, the God who remembers me, the God who knows my name. He is everything to me. I got to declare all sorts of things, like “We have this hope, that He has never yet left anything unfinished: His blood was poured out for me, I…will…be…poured…out…for…Him.” All sorts of crazy, fanatical, exuberant things because the God above all Gods was there—in the room—with me. I was in the chapel for about two hours total, and finally had to make myself leave because I had homework I had to finish. But even now I have this little bubble in my spirit because the God of all flesh was there—He came to visit me.

And then I have to operate in a world where real people live, people who perhaps don’t believe in God, or who believe in Him only in an abstract, theoretical sense. They say to me, “Why are you so happy?”

What can I say?

“I got to pray today.”

A Few Mathematical Considerations of Intimacy

What is the definition of intimacy? It can’t be simply “closeness.” You could be very close to a person and never be intimate with them. What if that person bores the mind out of you? Are you intimate simply because they know everything about you? What if you run in such perfect sync that you never gain any fresh perspective from them? Is that intimacy? Imagine two parallel lines: It doesn’t matter how close they get, just because they’re close doesn’t mean there is any interchange. Ok. Go with me on the line thing. Let’s say that different types of lines represent different types of relationships, and let’s say that how many times two lines intersect describes the level of intimacy in that relationship.

Ok. Straight lines. Very boring. They never change; they never waver. How they are is how they are. You see one part of them, you know all about them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Lots of relationships are simple and straightforward and easy to read. But straight lines only intersect once. That means that the closest to intimacy two straight lines can get is two really close parallel lines. Any closer than that and they’re not two lines, it’s the same line. If these people are coming from different directions (or have a different perspective), the closest to intimacy that they get is that one time true encounter where they really connect. It’s very profound, but that’s it. They just don’t belong together.

How about relationships that change? We need some curves. Let’s try parabola and hyperbola. I don’t remember the equation for hyperbola, but parabola are pretty simple: it’s that x=y² thing. The line on the graph comes down from out of nowhere, gets to a certain point, makes a sharp turn and heads back out in exactly the opposite direction, up and out. So we’ve got two people coming from roughly the same direction, they get close for a while, have a few intimate moments, and then they go their own separate ways.

Of course, the really interesting stuff involves circles. I think a circle describes a relationship that just isn’t going anywhere. Two perfect circles would either go round and round connecting in the same places but never really changing, or they would simply never get any closer together. Either way it’s rather pointless (ha ha).

However, by far the best relationships could be described by trigonometry functions. You know, x=cosine y-1, and all that stuff. Radio waves. They go back and forth over the same general area, forever. It always changes, so it doesn’t get boring. But there’s a definite pattern, so it doesn’t get weird. You know what to expect. So, those of you who kept your handy dandy little graphing calculators from high school, put in the same graph the equations of x=sine y and x=cosine y. They’re exactly opposite, right? But look, one goes up exactly the same as the other comes down and then they go back, so they meet in the middle. And then they do it again. If intimacy is the number of times they cross each other and really really make connection, really touch the other’s life, these guys are infinitely more intimate than any other type of relationship in the world. No matter how far apart they get, they’ll always come back together. And look, they’re both exactly opposite and exactly the same. Folks, these guys are married. Or best friends: x=sin y and x=sin y-.25. They’re almost exactly the same, but they come from a little different background, so they still intersect.

Of course, since people’s personalities have so many more dimensions than just two, we have the opportunity to be all of these sorts of things at the same time. To some people I’m a straight line and to others I’m cosine to their tangent. Some people are always there but nothing ever changes. It all depends on what lines it runs along.

Geometry Revelations

I’m in this prayer meeting and I suddenly get this postulation (that’s a mathematical idea, not a pimple)

I saw a circle and I imagined myself tracing that circle with my finger touching a single point at a time. It would probably take me less than a second. So, a circle is made up of an infinite number of single points, arranged so that, if you trace each point, you come exactly back to the original point. So you could cover every point (which has no definable space) in less than a second. That’s all of infinity in less than a second.

Then I imagined what happens when you take that circle and rotate it around it’s diameter. The circle describes a sphere. Rotating the circle, again, probably takes less than a second. But two points of that circle made another circle at right angles with the first. And it took less than a second. Again: infinity in less than a second.

So, I take my imaginary finger again, and I put it on the sphere, touching only a single point and made almost a circle. I trace a circle (almost) in such a way that when I get back to the original point, I’m exactly one point over on the circle at right angles with the first. And I trace the circle again, ending up only one point over, and so on until I reach the first point I started on to begin with. How long would it take me? Forever! Literally! Since a single point has exactly 0 dimensions, it would take me exactly forever to touch on every single point, no matter how fast I went. The only way for me to do it is if I could touch every point of the circle at once and then rotate. (And if I could ever figure out where to put a fourth dimension, it would be the same story: the only way to touch every point would be if I had a finger that could touch ever point of the sphere and then rotate.) Infinity squared, and to the 3rd power . . .

And, since I was at a prayer meeting when this mathematical vision caught me, I’ll put a twist on it: How much less could I, being a finite creature ever begin to see every aspect of his grace? I could touch an infinite number of points in a single second, but just when I understand everything, TWIST! and there’s a whole new dimension. There’s everything I’ve ever believed, but it’s contained within a system I can’t even touchevery detail of. At least, it would take forever.

Grace, grace squared.

Grace foreseen. Grace untouchable.
Grace Indescribable. Grace beyond imagination . . .
and so on ad infinitum.

What I was trying to say was…

My Uncle John put up a very interesting response to the last important post that I put up (no not the one about the snow). I realized that I had probably not completely made myself clear when I read his first line, “Your anger concerns me.” Oops. I did not mean to sound angry by any means, a little upset about a flaw I perceive about the medical system, but not angry. Instead of simply copying, pasting and responding to what Uncle John said, I decided to simply write a follow up in response to the issues he brought up. So here goes.

First, I would like to say that I do not want to reduce the amount of choices in medicine. On the contrary, I want to increase choices for everyone involved. Continue reading “What I was trying to say was…”