Grace and Peace to you.
Too much awe
strips off our skin,
too bright a glory terrifies.
Too deep a wonder churns our guts,
The numinous disturbs.
The infinite unsettles things.
The miraculous can only mean
that we were wrong.
The tragedy of wasted love,
a river's unrequited generosity,
the vertigo of forgiveness,
the heartbreaking tale of a certain
rise in the earth or a green branch,
given without explanation,
the disorienting presence
of the kid in a dirty t-shirt who could be
trouble, could be the Messiah—
oh, so much that's out of our hands
could overrun our hearts.
It's all too much.
When once you rowed your little boat
over the surface of the great silence
and looked through the gathering depths...
—well, not again.
Though the saints only appear to be
in grave danger on their tightropes,
and they never fall—still,
we avert out hearts. You could slip
forever into the unfolding rose,
so we don't go near. You could be
consumed by wonder, awestruck
so hard you can't regain control.
Too much will hurt, we say, a surfeit
of divine presence—lurking in the ordinary—
burns. So we don't look at all.
It's ouranophobia, the fear
of heaven. We avoid
too much splendor, mystery
or love. We fight it without knowing.
We flee the moment. We wish.
We understand. We keep talking.
And God gently, grandly returns
again and again, dawning irresistibly,
drawing us toward the edge,
the sudden, helpless, glorious fall,
gut-floating and irreversible,
through those unyielding pearly gates.
No— before you even open your eyes,
count the cost. Something close to worship
will steal your mastery, your deserving,
your life. Love and wonder
will devour you. You'll have nothing left
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes