After an encounter with someone I had once considered vastly different than me.
He told me that Adam and Eve saw the exact same stars and sky as we do now.
He told me that God "spread forth the heavens" in one grand gesture of joy.
He told me that the creator dilated time, made space fluidic, that the world is actually young.
He told me that the stars are meant only as objects of God's beauty.
He told me that in heaven we would be given a proper history lesson.
He told me that the basis of science was mostly an illusion.
He told me that what scientists said was too literal and even fundamentalist.
He told me that God is beyond all the facts that we were lead to know.
My impulse was to argue, at least at first. The earth only thousands of years old? Really? The stars made as ornaments? The material world not old, not real? "Science says...." I wanted to say as I lead into a defense. I wanted to be as sure as him.
But his face was lit like the sun with something beyond his certainty. Yes, he presented himself as absolutely knowing the truth. It was not quite smugness, but surety. It was not compassion but a type of bliss. It was not his understanding but a direct transmission. I admit, I was caught up in his reverie, in the idea of God majestically spreading forth the heavens.
It was no longer his fear or my own insecurity.
It was no longer about my anger at having been instructed with the confidence of an opinion. It was not about disputing facts that neither of us were truly understanding.
My arguments fell away as I thought:
"What if he's right about something I do not understand?"
"What would happen in our world if we just were present with each other?"
Then I fell into a deeper thought: "It's not even about right or wrong anymore." I was free to hear the glory and grace in his story of the great unfolding. I made a choice to drop my scientific armor and listen. I dropped my certainty and literalism for moments and was more present than before.
I made contact with all beings, not just with his heart or with my heart. Perhaps both of our views were illusions. And just why did it matter if we did breathe in illusion? What did I really get with being right? Why did I armor myself against his knowing the truth? Truly, the Great Mystery is enough for me now.
I do not have certain words about what occurred as I listened to my evangelical-mystical-fundamentalist brother. But instead of building a wall I decided to make a bridge. And then even the bridge between us fell. And wings, like those of the Bible's Holy Spirit, spread forth across my mind. My heart glowed for a moment like the ornaments of God's stars.
This man's story is as beautiful and rich as the miracle of my science. I've only been here six score years.
What is that compared to the miracles held within billions or even thousands of years?
What is that compared with the glory the stars reflect, whether that be plasma or creation?
Who am I in the story that I have woven about truth?
Who am I compared with the Mystery of Great an Abiding Love?