Saturday, October 20, 2012
Little Things That Talk and Get Along
Little Things That Talk and Get Along, Big Time
Wayne is a man who was with us here for a while at the monastery and then moved on, back to Maryland. I liked him. We got along very well and had similar interests in music, photography, favorite books. And he is a letter writer. He wrote to me a few weeks ago – he is doing well, getting settled in his new job.
He wrote about how much he loves Advent. If I may quote him – “I really like this time of the year. Reminds me of childhood. I guess, yet I think, that it is more than that. There is a feeling in the air at this time of the year. As if the molecules are different.”
And, I think, indeed they are.
Not long ago, a biologist by the name of Lynn Margulis passed away. In the obituary which I read, her daughter Jennifer said that her mother called herself a “spokesperson for the microcosm.”
I am not, by the farthest stretch of the imagination, a biologist. But I have long had a sensitivity to the small things that make up life. According to her research, Dr. Margulis showed that not only do the smallest things in us and about us “make up” life. They form a self-regulating system, maintaining the condition that allow its perpetuation. In other words, the Earth is a living organism in and of itself. She wrote in her book “Microcosmos” that “the planetary patina, with its army of cells, has continued for more than three billion years. And the basis of the patina, past, present and future, is the microcosm – trillions of communicating, evolving microbes.” (Bruce Weber, The New York Times, November 24, 2011).
There is an ongoing gap between the realms of theology and science. Some theologians and scientists have tried to bridge the gap but the dividing lines remain deep and distinct. But all the while, little things are talking, finding mutual attraction, evolving, giving form, design, life and direction to all that we know and all that we are.
It is a blissfully grand, cosmic design given us – making us – through the smallest talk and intimate conversations. So small that we cannot hear it but powerful enough to give rise to planets, stars, civilizations, and you and me and my friend Wayne.
Wayne sniffs the air and feels a difference this season. He is right. The molecules are indeed different, as they always have been. Maybe during this season of Advent some sensitive souls among us, Wayne being among them, seem to hear something more in the wind than a puff or a poof. It is a small and distant Voice – one that says “I am and am in everything. Still at work, coming closer and closer and closer.”
Have a Merry Christmas, Wayne. Thanks for your friendship, your kindness, and your Kinks compact discs. All that music on such a little thing. Look closer, and there is even better stuff.