My mother says I think too much and too indepth about things.
But it’s hard not to.
I can’t help but see beyond, be they outcomes or allegories, the thing which is presently at hand… whatever that may be. I am simply under the impression that there is always something more to everything; what I have right now points to something else and, as such, is somehow revelatory of something more.
For instance, a snide comment to my wife is not merely an isolated, rude remark. Its much bigger than that and, by knowing that, I am actually able to peer inside myself, able to know from what corner of my heart such a remark originates; perhaps then I can better know the motives of my heart that would form such a remark. Likewise, I see also in the possible future if such basal actions and instincts are not dealt with and to me it doesn’t look pretty.
So having such an internal process… God and fireworks.
It was 4th of July recently (YAY AMERICA!!!).
Unfortunately I didn’t get to see any fireworks on the 4th. It was, unfortunately, a rainy evening and the fireworks near where I lived were not shot off. Not to be dismayed however! They shot them off this past weekend! So I got to see them!
Let me just say this.
I. Love. Fireworks.
For 2 summers in college (summers after my freshman and junior years) I spent 9 weeks at Myrtle Beach, SC for an experience known as Summer Beach Project (SBP for those in the C/O world, and if you don’t know what C/O is, its because you’re not in that world!). The times that I absolutely loved most, amongst the numerous ones, were the Wednesday nights. On those evenings, round about 9 I think, fireworks would be shot off… every Wednesday.
You would think that after a while I’d get bored and tired of them, but I never did, not in the least. I think, actually, I started liking them more because of it. It made me feel happy and giddy like a kid in a candy shop, which, honestly, is an extremely enjoyable feeling. The thing is, though, I never really knew why I liked them so much; sure, they’re pretty and awe inspiring, but I’m not the kind of person to like something purely for aesthetic reasons… at least in so far as I know… now I have something else to think about.
I love the mountains and tropical beaches and flowers and Gothic cathedrals, but that’s because I see them pointing to something more. They are awe inspiring because the object to which they point, God, is awe inspiring. Any adjective I could come up with to describe their splendor, I can easily apply also to God.
Fireworks, however, never were that for me. It was like candy more or less; I liked them because there was this pleasant quality to them. Like candy and chocolate.
Don’t ask me how my mind gets from point A to point B whilst watching a fireworks display, because I haven’t the slightest clue; it really just kind of happens. But, while sitting there in a lawn chair, next to Alison and my in-laws and their family friends, it dawned on me:
I like fireworks because I don’t get them. I don’t know how fireworks work. How do they get those colors? How do they get those patterns? How do they make an exploded firework explode into another firework without blowing it up in the first explosion?
(Ok, so the colors I get, different chemicals and compounds burn different colors. BUT how in the heck do you come to find a compound, or even create one, and think “Hey this burns red, we should put it in a canister, shoot it in the air and have it explode; it will look cool!” In a similar vein, how did we figure out that we could eat potatoes and peanuts? much less onions? You dig something up and you tear up when you cut into it, that just doesn’t come across as edible to me… how many people died figuring out that we couldn’t eat certain things? But that’s neither here nor there.)
It really is an artistic science. It’s awe inspiring. The other cool thing is that you hear it fire off, but you don’t see it till it explodes in an amazing display of color and light; I enjoy the surprise of it. You don’t know when or where it will happen and then when it does, you really don’t know what pattern or color to expect.
Taking all of that in, I realize that it points to something more, (yet again) God. I like fireworks, because in my life and life experiences God has, over 26 years, done the same to me as fireworks do in 45 minutes.
I don’t get God, never have, never will. I don’t really know who God is in totality. God is a sound, then silence, culminating into a brilliant display of light and color. God is here and then he is there, but I have never seen the progression and unfolding of the majesty.
One of the passages from Scripture that I really enjoy is Exodus 33, when Moses asks to see God’s glory and God replied something along the lines of “I will pass by and proclaim my name before you, but I will cover your eyes until I have passed, then you’ll be able to see and you will see my back.” I’ve not fully delved into the text in any sort of study, but, as I see it now, I think it captures this whole God and fireworks thing perfectly. I hear God when he is present and acts, but I cannot see him, I can only see him moving on from where he’s been. I can really only take in the full glory of God after he has moved and work. Fireworks are similar, I hear when the firework ignites and shoots off, but I don’t see it and am only able to fully take it in afterwards and its finality and conclusion is what is most glorious.
God is a sound and a waiting in the midst of his presence, but once God has passed I look back and am in awe to see all that has occurred.
I must also add that I don’t understand how God gets the patterns and colors that he does in my life, much less in the rest of universe. I remember in either 3rd or 2nd grade a teacher telling me that there will never be another Jeremiah. I remember at the time thinking, “What? How could there never be another Jeremiah? No one else is going to be named Jeremiah?” Of course, she meant that, due to my uniqueness, there would never be another me. I’d have to agree; I’m strange, odd, weird, special, unique. I don’t know how God got me out of my mom and dad, or anything thing else that’s influenced me, same goes for my brother. It’s amazing. It is, it really is.
And I love it.
I love that is brings glee and delight. I love the naivete that evokes. I love the sense of wonderment and awe, for both fireworks and God.
I’ll close with a quote from Ravi Zacharias which links to a chapter of the book that it is from:
“The tragedy with growing up is not that we lose childishness in its simplicity, but that we lose childlikeness in its sublimity.”
*C/O stands for Campus Outreach by the way*