Friday, May 13, 2016

As face looks upon Face

What is it that has caused the immense interior crowding in the souls of modern people—men, women, and children—that results in so many physical, emotional, psychological, and social disorders?

Disorders themselves being a dislocation of, a scrambling of, what we know is an orderly universe, one that exists on its own without our help, and is permeated by form, structure, and hierarchy.

The question seems complex and forebodes a complicated answer, but no, the answer is quite simple. It is caused by the fact that almost none of us in the modern world ever faces night and the stars.

That portion of the human population of the earth is now fifty per cent urban, living in cities. In the developed world the percentage is much higher, even as much as ninety per cent or more.

Not strangely, city dwellers focus their attentions on activity during the night and sleep only when they’ve exhausted every other possibility. Even if they look up at night they cannot see the stars.

A star here, a planet there, and of course the moon, is about all anyone can see even where I live, out here on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River in a secluded neighborhood of Portland.

I can’t even remember the last time I was out in the wilderness, or even in a rural area, and was able to see the night sky emblazoned with stars studding the milky road of our home galaxy.

Well, yes I can. It was forty years ago or more, when I worked as a hired man on a dairy farm in central Alberta. Before that, it was when I was at college in a small town, and lay in a farmer’s field.

Just as Christ Pantocrator in the dome of an Orthodox church somehow umbrellas us from the rain of human weakness, so does the canopy of stars in the night sky, unhindered by man-made lights.

The more we can find ourselves at home under those stars, the more we will find ourselves at home on this earth, in the world, in our bodies, our emotions, our souls, and with our neighbors.

To lie alone or with a friend in that sweet darkness, our eyes piercing to its uttermost depths the infinite universe, our minds melding with the stars, restores order in us, as face looks upon Face.

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