You can’t deny gravity. Well, it’s extremely hard to anyways, and even if you are able to escape its grip, it isn’t at all sustainable for any real length of time, and it's not long before you come crashing back to the reality that gravity is tethered to you for life.
I remember when my wife & I went to the theatre to see the movie 'Gravity' for the first time. Sitting practically right in front of the screen with our 3D glasses on, the grand infinite expanse of space opened up before us during the beginning frames. I always love the beauty in these scenes as they bring a sense of weightlessness in themselves and freedom from any pulls of direction or place. Slowly the earth comes into focus and the story begins.
Crisis strikes as the space station they were on is obliterated during a spacewalk. There is an overwhelming feeling of disorientation and loss of direction or place as the camera follows the out of control spinning realities of Dr. Ryan Stone as she struggles to find her bearings; the earth coming into the frame from all different points of view & the vastness of space seemingly growing larger and larger. Is she drifting away, further into the nothingness of space? Or, she falling into the earth's global atmosphere, with the eminent threat of burning alive?
As Dr. Stone slowly manages to steady the emotional waves of her anxiety and brings herself under greater self-control & awareness, she finds the earth, home, right there before her with its vast beauty of the vivid blue oceans and the familiar forms of its land masses. Still there, she hadn't lost it, and she was still tethered to the gravity of its wonder.
I couldn't help but recall the emotional imagery of these opening scenes while contemplating the similar feelings that I think we all go through when questioning our own sense of being. Why are we here? Who or what created us? What does it mean to be human? And for what purpose do I exist? My emotions swell with an anxiety of not truly having an answer, and the disorientating realities of all that is around, end up spinning me in all directions. Where am I? How did I get here?
In a book by Philip Yancey titled 'Reaching For The Invisible God', I came across a short quote by Gregory of Nyssa. He wrote, "Concepts create idols; only wonder grasps anything." Over the years, this has become a bit of a mantra for my life. I don't always get it right but, the desire for this relationship to wonder always fills my beating heart with excitement, anticipation, and the undying pursuit to understanding the constant renewal of wonder all around me.
Like our astronaut friend, Dr. Ryan Stone, I think all of us can find ourselves locked into a sense of false security with the concepts of learned realities, compartments of rules & regulations that define the small worlds we live in and allow for a certain degree of functionality & purpose for living the way we do. These self constructed space stations are not all bad in themselves. They give us a place of safe passage, the sustenance's required to keep us alive & breathing, and a sense of purpose or activity in discovering greater truths. But these constructs are only finite conceptions to a greater reality that is all around us, a reality filled with extraordinary beauty, undiscovered new truths, deep mysteries, & the ever expanding definition of creation & being.
Freeing ourselves, untethering from these self constructed concepts & idols of perpetual illusionary safe keeping can fill us with the dread of loosing everything. We hang onto them religiously, even as they disintegrate all around us, unsure, & second guessing our every move. Letting go can take tremendous courage but, the moment we do, we might flounder about for a few moments and then, once we begin to steady our breath, slow our emotions, & listen to the still small voice of hope within us, we begin to see the vast breathtaking expanse of wonder before us.
Filled with awe, the eternal tether of wonder's grasp upon us and our relationship with it, expands our sense of place & belonging. We're over run with a desire for more, a hope and birth place for seeking to what was meant to be. This is the inception of wonder & the beginning of the pursuit of awe as a way of life.