Sunday, May 3, 2015

2015.05.03 What Shines Through Matters

The barbarity and cruelty of the way people treat each other and their environment is sadly not often surprising. Although it may shock, it is violence that is easily denied or forgotten, or both.

What is truly surprising is the way people treat each other with exceptional proportions of love and consideration, compassion and truth in the midst of cruel circumstances. This is what’s truly stunning, because it shines through the horror and the grit, and it is what we remember more than the horror. It is also what we tend to call divine—and what we remember.

These are a few of my favorite divine things.

Think about fairy tales. How can they be good for children? Many children have see-through minds and hearts. They scream and shrink away from terror, yes. Some pretend it's a hoot. And some see through it, not as if it were a trick or a tease, but as if there really were some Goodness to see, too.

I remember the cottage and the seven little men of grace who welcomed Snow White into their home and their weird ways. They were very diverse, representing every kind of mood and personality imaginable, and far from perfect. But they had a little home and they offered it to her. Oh, they debated the invitation, but they got themselves to agree on hospitality if not salvation.

The little men were in disarray and Snow White helped them. They needed a good wife. But before they realized the gifts she brought to their mess, they welcomed her into their lives.

They are the ones I remember and love best—not the beautiful maiden in distress, not the frightening chase through the dark forest, not the wicked stepmother with the mirror, and the poison apple, and not even the arrival of Prince Charming and his magic kiss, but the community of misshapen little dwarves. But that’s me. Others may remember the dark parts with more clarity.

What is hard to admit, however, is that Godde remembers ALL the parts and people of such tales with equal vividness and equal reverence. I want Godde to favor only the good, and sanction that, as I do. But I guess that is one difference between divinity and humanity. Godde doesn’t have to see through anything. But we do, and we call that see-through vision divine.

Here is a picture that illustrates what shines through. It may as well have been created by God Creator because it shines through dense darkness and the darkness does not go away. It’s a holocaust survivor effort, recently exhibited in a collection called Forbidden Art. It’s not realistic—or is it?