Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Miracle of Light

I was driving around this afternoon and my mind wandered back to a topic that I've often thought about: the gift of light. And also all the gifts that go with it: colors, mirrors, vision, etc.

I mean, I suppose anyone who ever got high in their dorm room has meandered across this profoundness -- not having done that, I remain proud that the idea came to me substance-free -- but how cool is it that light comes from the sun, 93 MILLION MILES AWAY, and then BOUNCES OFF THAT THING OVER THERE and then hits my eye and then my brain can make something out of it?

And in the case of driving, it goes from the sun ... 93 million miles ... bounces off that thing ... BOUNCES OFF MY REARVIEW MIRROR ... and THEN hits my eye and my brain can make something out of it. Or that WE FIGURED OUT A WAY! TO MAKE LIGHT OURSELVES! And then THAT light from the headlights of the car behind me hits my rearview mirror and bounces off it and hits my eye and my brain can make something out of it.

Awesome, right?

Of course, the physics of light and our sense of sight require that things be lined up pretty well -- and that our eyes and brains themselves be healthy -- in order for a functional picture to be formed. If our mirror is crooked, we can't see what's behind us. If the lens of our eye is misshapen, then the light doesn't focus on our retina correctly, and the image is, at best, blurry and, at worst, non-existent. If the optic nerve doesn't transmit the electric impulses from our retina to our brain, we got nothin'. And if we actively close our eyes, then there's no chance at all for the miraculous process to unfold.

I've long contended that we -- our faces, our words, our very lives -- are tiny mirrors, built to reflect God's love and light to each other. And I think that process -- the physics of God's love, if you will -- works pretty much the same as the physics of light. Each one of us has the opportunity to decide how to open our heart and line up our mirror. Will we reflect God's love back to God? To other people, or to ourselves? With calmness and steadiness, or with energy and exuberance? With focus or with abandon? Off into the distance, or wasted on the ground? 

Will we keep our mirrors polished, or allow them to grow dim with the grime of doubt? Will we hold them out like banners, or protect ourselves with them like shields? Put them in our pockets and pretend they don't exist, or even forget they're ours to bear?

Through the gifts we give each other (time, stuff, permission) and the ways we treat each other (with love, with forgiveness, with compassion), we ourselves play an important role in reflecting God's love to the world. 

How are you -- here and now; wherever you are today -- letting God's love shine on you and through you to the rest of the world?

No comments: