Now that I'm in Nebraska, I've been reflecting on my recent visit to Montana and the Crow Indian Reservation. I'm reminded of why I have such an appreciation for the grandeur of Big Sky Country. Montana is certainly a beautiful state with its numerous mountain ranges, rivers, and abundant wildlife. Its wide-open spaces beckons the cowboy spirit to live on forever. And of course, there's the rich culture and amazing story of its indigenous people. After Toni and I moved away from Montana, on several occasions we attempted to find a way back via work and ministry. We talked about getting a small piece of land and building a log cabin. It never happened.
During this most recent trip back to Montana, I made a new discovery, or perhaps unearthed an old one hidden in the ground. But I'm not referring to the terra firma of which Montana is composed. No.
I discovered something in the ground of my being . . . and in the ground of other beings.
This ground is composed of a "substance" that I believe can be found in all people:
Okay. If you've been following the Uttermost Road, then this won't be the first time you've heard me address the topic of love. But after all, it's in the title and the theme of the book I'm presently writing. Yet what I experienced during my six weeks in Crow Country was so much more than a title and theme for a book.
I encountered love like never before in my life. As a result, I expressed love like never before through my life. And I saw love like never before within the lives of others.
Where does this love come from? Does it come by way of a socialization process that's embedded into our psyches at an early age? Does love come from chemical reactions that fire the synapses of our brains, triggering a response within what some have called the "God spot" of the brain? Is love simply a distant archetypical echo that connects us to the ancients and moves forward in time as an evolutionary human necessity? Does love come from an ambiguous, impersonal, universal, cosmic consciousness in which we are all part of the whole? Was love designed into our genetic code when the human race was seeded into the soil of planet Earth by ETs?
Wait. I think I'll stop the list here. You get the picture.
You might be surprised, but I'm leaning toward "ETs."
But I'm not referring to extraterrestrial beings from another solar system, from a galaxy far, far, away. I'm referring to the One who didn't simply pay a visit to our planet, but came so close as to enter into our human substance, including our most profound pain and deepest darkness. This is the One in whom all things consist and have their being . . . so much so that in this One we've existed in love before the substance of the universe ever existed (Ephesians 1:4-5; John 1:1-4).
I am persuaded that love flows from a timeless wellspring within our innermost being. Love is the evidence of "ETs" . . . of Eternity Transcribed in our Souls . . . written and embroidered upon our hearts and woven into the grand design and eternal purposes of the One in whom all things are held together (Colossians 1:16-17).
Held together = embraced in the everlasting arms of Love
Improbable, implausible, or impossible? Outlandish, out of the question, or out of my mind?
Answer? I'm out of my mind.
I'm discovering that in order to begin to understand and "see" this greater reality beyond myself, I need to step outside the confines of the reality created within the secure boarders of my mind and limited experience. It's from here that I find a new, yet ancient reference, a vantage point from which to glimpse into the Unlimited. I'm also learning that the only way to step out of my limitation is to step in . . . into my innermost being, the timeless wellspring from which eternity flows, the cistern where we discover that we can love because Love first embraced us (John 7:38; 1 John 4:19).
Don't run and hide in the secure and familiar caves of your self-identification and definitions. But instead, mine the depths of your soul. And fear not, for it is here your true identity waits to be revealed in the Love that holds and defines you. Dig deep, my friends, and you'll begin to uncover the mystery, the priceless treasure hidden from before the foundation of the world.
Too good to be true, or too true that it's good (news)!?
I'm going with the goodness and love that emanates from Truth. Being willing to look beyond materialism and our philosophical notions and reach inside earthen vessels is the beginning of real wisdom and touches the edge of eternity.
And by the way, LYGO because there's an endless supply!
November 6th amendment to post:
For those of you with a spiritual or Christian background, I'm not so sure the expression "dig deep" is the best metaphor. Because of our religious bias, dig deep could easily be construed as meaning try harder or that the process requires a lot of effort on our part.
Dig deep is to say or perhaps better stated as...
Dig = to simply go or look inside
Deep = the innermost place
God isn't "out there" somewhere, but is closer to you than the air you breathe. You are co-seated with Christ in heavenly places. And that heavenly place is not a reference to some celestial cloud in the outer regions of the universe, but in the inner regions of your inmost being.