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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hemingway, Snowflakes, and Souls

    I can’t remember a time when I didn’t wonder about big things. How big is the universe? How can God be everywhere but not seen, how can a snowflake have no duplicate? These thoughts where I would imagine chasing the edge of the universe as it would expand and expand and expand, my head would hurt and I would distract  myself with sleep.
    This wonder of snowflakes was rejuvenated recently as I read Donald Millers, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”. Don (if I can be so casual) wrote about the man who coined the phrase “no two snowflakes are the same”. He pointed out that this man in his scientific reports, based on catching snow flakes and photographing them, used unscientific terms like beautiful.
    I started to wonder again, but this time through the lens of faith. When I was young I had no specific faith, now I believed in God, and the truth of the bible. Now the originality of snowflakes, tree’s, stars, sand and the endless non duplicated universe were the act of a God who created all things to be originals. God created a world that would bring wind, rain and snow, would grow grass, flowers and tree’s. Then he filled it with billions of forms of life all held on this common stage by gravity. For as long as the world keeps spinning, and in a way only He could do, nothing he created will ever be a duplicate, each has been created to be an original. There are no two snowflakes the same.
    I wondered about this stage, sitting in the top floor restaurant at the Inn of the Woods in Kenora. I looked over the town, the houses sitting on the crest of waves of stone and cement. The Lake still in the cold of winter, the only waves are snow drifts slowly moving along with the wind. A giant blank canvass, colorless, begging for beauty to be added to beauty.
    The road hems the edge of the shore, train tracks sit higher than the road, as though to remind  the road that they were there before. On the tracks a long arrangement of train cars. Their damp unenthusiastic greens, yellows, and browns, provide a muted splash of color against the grey of rock cuts and the white of the snow.
    None of this is purposely beautiful, it’s all inanimate, but people still paint it. Other people buy the paintings and hang them on walls, and other people admire it, and in the back of their mind make a promise to themselves that they will someday visit the small town, and stand in the painting. For those of us who believe in God we see no accidents. We sit in the top floors of hotels, look out over a winter clad town and tears come to our eyes as we think of the endlessness of snow flakes, colors, people and beauty.

    I sat across from Mark in his church office admiring the abundance of books on his book shelf. He’s been pastoring this church for at least 10 years, and the books sit like a record of the themes he has preached through. Our conversation started light enough. I told him of my aspirations to write, and about my two favorite authors and how my style of writing  is somewhere between the two. I explained I had read a couple Hemingway stories. They were beautifully written. Hemingway has a way of describing scenes so you can see them, smell them, walk through them in your mind. In one scene he describes what is happening from the standpoint of a lion hiding in tall grass. It was amazing, it inspired me to think harder about how I describe the world around me.But here is the problem, the story itself is unappealing, the hero is usually a drunk, every one is cheating on everyone , and the stories seem to end with people getting shot, even the lion got shot. Every story ended the same, the drunkard hero gets shot and that’s it. Beautiful settings, depressing repetitive stories.
    The conversation turned to life,I explained that I am excited for my coming wedding. He asked me how my divorce has affected this new relationship. Talking to Mark about the divorce is different then talking to other people about it , he was there trying to counsel me through it. He stood in the door the night I left, he told me I was making a mistake. And though I ended up leaving anyways he forever earned my respect for standing in my doorway that night. I told him that it is hard some days for Krystl and I. I told him some days the fear of divorce is crippling. Of course I challenge and fight those thoughts, but they still creep in.
    Mark dropped his head and shook it as he chuckled, he looked up at me with a smile and said very simply, and matter of factly “you’re not Hemingway you know, not all your stories have to end the same way". I joined him in his chuckle, I was surprised at the immense wisdom trapped in such a simple phrase, I am not Hemingway.
    Through the evening and into the next morning this simple sentence repeated in my head bordering on becoming a mantra. I am not Hemingway, but more importantly, I am not in a Hemingway story.

Suddenly that scene from Kenora hit me, the poetry of God’s creation, it’s endless non duplicating nature. Billions of souls floating like snowflakes through life. In my minds eye I can see misty steel blue souls leaping from chests, darting through and around other souls. Every interaction changes  the hues of the souls, two meet and each changes, they don’t change to the same colours but each finds it’s own change from the experience. They twist and grow and shrink and explode with new colors as they fall like snow flakes, no two alike.

 I am not a character in a Hemingway story, I am a soul, created more original than a billion snowflakes floating through these stories on a wind breathed by a creative God.
    Live a story today, it will be a true original, it’s the way God created it to be.

Note: I wrote this blurb a while ago and am posting it now because I think it carries a message. August 14 marks 3 months of marriage with the love of my life. On our wedding day the doors of the Church opened and Krystl walked through a veil of sunlight onto the long aisle that would bring her to my side. I couldn't take my eyes off of her, the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. We took our vows and since I have fallen more in love with her. I believe in the time leading up to the wedding the enemy whispered a lot of lies in my ear. I know that I will be writing about mine and Krystl's love until I cross over to Glory. She is the wife I dreamed of and the reason God put romance in my heart. Never let your past turn into fears about your future. Jer 29:11. 

God Bless You


Yve57 said...

When are you going to do another one of your WONDERFUL writings!!!

Mom oops I men ANONYMOUS

Greg said...

"Never let your past turn into fears about your future."

Thanks bro. I needed this today.