Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Beautiful Anomaly

I read a story about a recently discovered underground cave
called Snowy River in New Mexico. One 'caver'/researcher
called the cave a “beautiful anomaly” and a national treasure.
An anomaly is something
unusual, or in other words,
My delight in a word
as holy spirit prompt
immediately brought
to mind the anomaly of me -
and you too my friends;
 the "peculiar treasures"
of God (Exodus 19:5).

And how the treasure of us is so often hidden in an underground cave.
When I think of treasure I think immediately of great value and beauty...
and when I think hidden underground I want to dig it up!

Ok a little stream of consciousness here.
Part of my work is in bereavement and specifically funeral planning.
I have walked with more folks than most in those mysterious days;
joined them in their underground cave of grief and loss, of memory, regret,
love's agonies...oh it is a deep cave.
I sit in it's quiet darkness and listen to their stories;
 hear of the peculiar treasure of each person
who has just passed from this life, slipped through their hands into eternal life.
And those treasures revealed by the most intimate of families and friends
are most often not the bold and beautiful things we say to compliment another,
but the beautiful anomaly's that endear them to us all.
They speak tenderly of quirks, compassionately of crosses borne,
conspiratorially of some hilarious habits, and so on.
All of them peculiar treasures.

Yet I also know in the daily routine of life, when we trick ourselves
into believing that the edge of that mysterious journey is far from us,
we work hard to keep these very things buried underground,
to keep others (and even ourselves) away from them.

They may be places of conversion, wounds crying out for the great physician.
But when the dark cave is filled with LIGHT
they are surprisingly just as often cause for great joy!
Like Beuchner writes in one of my favorite old books
Peculiar Treasures when he tells the story
of how Sarah and Abraham laugh
when the angel tells the old couple that Sarah is going to have a baby.
Sarah laughs so hard she has to go in the tent so as to not insult the angel.
Buechner says they are not laughing
at the impossibility of the message the angel carries.

 "The reason they laughed was that it suddenly dawned on them that the wildest dreams they'd ever had hadn't been half wild enough."

I am laughing a lot these days in the spirit of Sarah & Abraham as I catch a glimpse
of the immensity of the underground cave and the beautiful anomalies
 that are part of the story God is writing and we are living out, peculiar treasures all.

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