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Drawing Distinctions

Where is the line between heaven and earth? When people pass, what do they pass? Where do they cross from here to there? If we’re headed toward something, shouldn’t we see it so we’ll know when we get there?

I see you…. you line on the horizon. But you are fickle. Yes, as the sun rises, you take shape. But as the sun sets, you fade and I can’t see you anymore. Certainly not in the distance. Up close all I can see is darkness. It feels firm at my feet, yet I can reach into it. The air has a different texture. Which is you? Where are you? Where is the line between?

Ah, when the sun rises, I’ll see! But wait: the fog obscures; the snow covers; the rain pelts; everything tosses to and fro in the wind. Where is the line? Where can I step to safety? Stand fast? Reach across? I just want to know where the border line is, so I’ll know I’m close.

If I crossed and looked back, would I see it then? From over or beyond or within, would the line be clear between terrestrial and heavenly? Between what was earthly and what was not?

No, I think not. Because Lord, when You stepped down from Kingdom into Dominion, You brought the line with you. Wherever You went, the Kingdom was. When you died and returned to heaven did you take this distinction with You? Did you erase the line? Obscure the evidence? Muddy the waters?

Or did you leave it with us?

As we enter our days, could it be that we cannot see the line between heaven and earth because it surrounds us? Actually encircling our travels, an amorphous heavenly goop (okay see-through slime if you will), that moves as we move. It goes before us and behind us and hems us in on each side. Perhaps the earth we see, the darkness and the poverty as well as the lightness and joy, we see through this heavenly plasma around us. Perhaps, it’s meant to tint our sight if we tune our eyes to just the right frequency. Oh, the strain and squint of the effort.

My eyes need rest. I count on them for so much. How can I count on them for this? Why must I work so hard to distinguish lines on the horizon or boundaries near at hand?

I want to trust that You are the line between and the passageway from here to there. Whether darkness or light, You are there in the middle. Perhaps I don’t need to know where the line is, just that it is. Perhaps there is no line, just a distance which is narrowed each time I reach out or over and feel for what’s in the darkness and pull it closer.

When is a curved line like a straight line?

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. I remember reading that in some geometry text book and believing it. Simple. Straight forward. Seems right. The most efficient way from A to B is the straight way. Neat. I tend to be a straight line kind of person.

The problem is, life throws you a lot of curve balls. Or maybe plunks a lot of obstacles in your path. Forces you to leave the comfort of the straight. It’s so inefficient to have to curve that way.

A friend and I engage in a good-natured debate about the best way to manage the point A to point B journey. It doesn’t bother her to take the long and winding way. She enjoys the extra stops and the adventure of the unknown. She figures there are things to be collected in those places that better prepare you for B ahead. Somewhere ahead.

I can’t disagree. My imposed meanderings always manage to offer enlightenment that speeds me on my way in a much more capable frame of mind. But when you’re a straight-line kind of person, bending is a bit unnatural. And painful.

Perhaps I’m not meant to travel a bending path. Maybe more of a series of straight paths. In the rough times, these are VERY short straight paths. Perhaps that is what God had in mind when He made me kind of near-sighted?  For me, discerning direction is simply a matter of choosing the best straight away in the current circumstance, then the next and the next.

And can’t you define a curve by the points of intersection of an infinite number of tangential lines? Straight lines? I think I remember that from some geometry book. I like it.

I’d like to think that life will have increasingly longer straight-aways. But God knows I would just pick up a head of steam and have to squeal wheels on the turns. Probably safer just to pace myself in the straight lines and be looking for the next turn.

There are people who specialize in running the turns like my friend who chooses to navigate the curves. For me, that’s risky. Centrifugal force takes hold. Better focus on staying in my lane. The finish line may be closer than I think.


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