|My sister and I enjoying time with Nana and Papa on their deck in New Hampshire.|
Nana and Papa's toy stash included 5 things.
1) Two big boxes of legos, every future engineer's dream (no wonder several of their children and grandchildren became engineers)
2) Various spatial puzzles given to my Papa over the years including an eagle that balanced its beak on your fingertip (again, with the engineering. You'd think they were brain washing us or something!)
3) A crocodile game that forced game players to put their fingertips at risk of a plastic crocodile bite if the wrong tooth was chosen
4) Various old and forgotten board games like a dusty Monopoly board and Trivial Pursuit 80's edition
5) Russian nesting dolls brought back from one of my grandparents' many travels
By far our favorite was the crocodile (until we hacked the game and found out how to tell which tooth was the culprit). But the Russian nesting dolls brought the kind of fun that tickles your imagination. Sometimes we made them into a family and played house. Sometimes we stacked them into different configurations to see what they would look like. And sometimes we just opened and closed them over and over. The first time I figured out what they did, I was amazed. At first it looks like you have only one doll about 5 inches tall. But when you take it apart, there is another, smaller doll. Then that one comes apart to reveal yet another! The process keeps going until you get to the tiniest doll which does not open up. I just loved finding the smallest doll and marveling at how its small features exactly matched the ones on the big doll.
Nesting dolls remind me of the mystery of our in-dwelling God. This is a mystery that has been especially present in my life this year. I am acutely aware of the fact that Jesus dwells in each and every one of us. When I interact with someone, it is not Nicole speaking to her neighbor, but God communing with Godself through humans. This in-dwelling is our home; the dwelling that each of us is called to live in (see my post about dwellings last week here). If we live from this in-dwelling, we will necessarily be called and sent to form community with others and the God-within them.
At first, this can seem to be contrary to Augustine's popular saying, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in You." But I don't think it is. I imagine a divine nesting doll. The smallest doll, which retains the same intricate features as the largest doll is the in-dwelling God. The small God is placed inside us and we in turn place ourselves in God. Why can't God be everywhere at once? And even then, maybe "resting in God" is more of a metaphor for recognizing the God within and realizing that I am not apart from God - that in fact, God and I are one.
I have been reading Teresa of Avila's The Interior Castle and she talks about prayer leading us to a relational union with God. She describes a transformation that happens in our relationship with God. What was once two entities, me and God, now forms a whole new be-ing, unique from what I was before and unique from any other human-divine relationship. This transformation creates a me-and-God relational energy. God and I are one. I am no longer myself, God helps me to transcend humanity in relational union with Him.
I envision this union as a dance with God as my partner. I do not know the whole dance, in fact I do not even know the next step! All I need to know is how to communicate with my partner wordlessly and gracefully; taking His cues and returning my own, but always working as one. The experience of dancing is much more beautiful when I'm not sure what is coming next.
|An image I created that reflects the dance of unity.|