Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | May 31, 2008

Dark Matter

There is a place that is in-between; it’s the moment we ride between next and last, and often between awareness and not. It is this moment that stands as if a flicker of light on a theater screen while the whir of the projector blades turn open and shut, clawing the film forward in-between. It is in this moment that we live and at the same time, seem so dead to so much of what really happens. For before we know it, the film pulls through and the moment frozen in the frame is gone. We want to believe there are no in-betweens, that we can live in the frame on the reel behind us, or in the frame not yet projected, and yet our focus is upon neither. Our eyes are only on the single frame flashed before us as we sit spellbound in darkness, mesmerized by the light to see a continuous motion that isn’t really captured in a progression of stills.

One wonders whether there isn’t more mystery beyond the screen. Often I succumb to the temptation to gaze sideways at those faces illuminated beside us, witnessing the show from the shadows – just in case. And though sometimes we imagine viewing ourselves as part of the scene, more often we’re too actively engaged for this sort of parallel wonder.

Yet to do as Moses was commanded: “To be still and know that I am God”; to freeze ourselves either to watch the scene before us or to become literally part of the scene frozen in the frame… this is where our hunter’s eyes relax…and begin to seek out the unseen, to step back from the overwhelming power of sight and apply our other senses. Maybe what we are looking for lies elsewhere… lies in-between the frames as the unseen, the hidden line we crossover in extending our love to a larger part of God’s creation. And maybe we begin to see beyond ourselves and those about us.

Equally, I wonder were our human mechanics as readily fooled as by the cinema; were our human senses as readily limited as species that see only black and white, or motion or in something else that is only part of what we know.. equally I wonder… what is it that stands beside me unseen, unsensed, immeasurable in some way.. and yet perhaps not unaware. And like the physicist who wonders at the vacuum that should be empty but is not; I am increasingly aware that the void may indeed be full.

Our universe is full of dark matter. There are fields of energy that suggest trace phenomena beyond our senses, just beyond measurement of our most sensitive tools.. almost beckoning us into the unknown. Similarly, our lives are full of dark matter as well… matters that will take years of development to unfold like the frames on the next reel. For now they remain unknown, but surely as they flash before us we will come to a more true, complete and deep repentance.

So I wonder how can so many be so certain we are alone; that we can or will know all; that what we see before us is all there is; that there is no great cloud of witnesses standing in the shadows beside us; that we are really so separate from those framed here with us; that we are free to do as we choose; and that we so easily control the moment in which we ride? I wonder especially that so many intelligent people can unintelligently reflect on the very discrete insights of scientific method and either conclude it must be essential or inconsequential… when it is only an unbiased tool too often poorly applied, and worse still, for which the conclusions and inferences are often vastly extended beyond their limits to demean the unknown in some sort of sophomoric triumph of the moment that misses the more obvious fact that the projector is about to whir the blade shut again, and pull the film forward. For the line between mechanistic and organic, between randomness and ordered seems less a line of demarcation and more a line of development emphasizing one and then the other in succession.

And I am oddly comforted. For I know that no matter how bad things seem at times, we could almost always be in deeper trouble than it appears; and my disappointment in “my betters”, in those around us, and especially in myself could be more material. Our troubles will pass. And though perhaps this gives credence to the supposition that the nightmares imagined within man’s deepest fears might well lurk in the shadows about us and even leak into the light, we know that God is with us. My guess is that our naïve unknowing provides more of an answer than we admit: God is good, loves and upholds mankind, and He is here with us – even in our darkness, even in our dark matters, too. He is here with the cloud of witnesses, and stands amongst us. If we can pull our gaze from the screen and turn toward Him.. even if only for a moment… He will quicken us, and strengthen our hearts.. come what may and what will.

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