“How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ!”
Heights and depths. We know both as humans. Both are natural and both are necessary.
We long to be up in the sun and playing in the waves, and we sometimes are. Yet the treasures we seek are very often found in the depths, where there is only the womb-like sound of the enveloping waters around us. There we find quiet, solitude, emptiness, darkness, and transformation.
The deep is the place for all new things to start growing. A baby in the dark of the womb. A seed beneath layers of dirt. All of creation as God hovered over it in Genesis 1.
Beautiful things are created in the depths. In places we can not see or that others can not see, where there is chaos and darkness, miracles are birthed. It is the place of birth and rebirth, of transformation and disintegration. It is the place where we fall apart, only to be re-formed into a new creation.
Why fear the depths?
Why rush the transformation process? It is the only place we can grow and be transformed. Soon enough you will be birthed up into the arms of the waves, kissed by the sunlight, tickled by the ocean breezes and filled with the sound of laughter from the shore. You will be different than you were before, however. More present. More patient and loving. Less needy. More of your true self. More at peace. The depths are profoundly transformative and give you gifts that no wave or sun or shore could provide, but now you can enjoy these gifts immeasurably more because of your time in the depths.
Don’t try to stay in the depths, however. We need oxygen, people! We need sunlight and community and fresh wind. When it is time to be birthed up into the dancing waves, bright sunlight, and laughter...welcome it! Celebrate rebirth! Learn to dance again! Sing a new song! Let yourself come up for air!
Alternatively, why fear the heights? Why fear success and days of pure ease? These are the days of celebration, laughter, connection, and fun! The heights bring forth a brightness and lightness in our lives that the depths could not offer. They are just as holy as the depths. We can embrace the heights and welcome them into our lives just as we do the depths.
It is curious that we seem to resist the heights, for fear of growing into some egoic mutation of ourselves, never to recover, only to find that somehow our suffering was better than our success because it “kept us humble”.
No way! That is simply not the truth!
The way that we often handle both the heights and the depths is to “adult” hard core, to take situations very seriously and internalize them as either personal assaults or personal victories, neither of which help us flourish as humans. We wrap our identity up in either suffering or victory and limit ourselves in the process. We want to have something to hang our hat on, so it might as well be either suffering or success.
I suggest that we push the pause button on all resistance to life. I suggest that we start noticing when we are rooting our identity in anything besides the Light of God.
Can you celebrate the joy of the heights without fear of losing yourself to ego?
Can you experience the profundity of the depths without fear that that you will die?
Being able to fully immerse in both height and depth is the key to fullness of life. It leads to non resistance, serenity, playfulness, and carefree dependence. It is the way of the child, which is the way to the kingdom of God.
Embrace where you are at this very moment, whether in the sparkling sun or the womb of rebirth. Both are sacred and necessary. Do not long for the other. Immerse yourself in where you are now. Look around. What do you see? What do you notice? What do you feel? What are the thoughts that are guiding you daily in this place?
Over and over we transform, rising from the depths and diving from the heights. As we learn to flow with this mystery we become more like Christ.
So...Play in the sun!
Splash in the waves!
Be still in the depths!
Embrace it all!
In this painting, one strong beam of the sun shines directly to the womb found in the depths. The womb is full of the same light found in the sun, too! Both are holy and they are linked to one another.
Acrylic and wonder on canvas.