Yesterday we had the honour of having two good friends on furlough visit us at work. We sat down for an hour and talked about the church where they where now serving, life in general and much, much more.
In the middle of our conversation they told us an incredible story (and I mean that literally, a story that defies all logic and credibility) of a magical box that produces items out of nothing. I think we felt like other people feel when told of miraculous healings or when someone reads the bible and runs into the reason-defying stunts of Jesus. I remember feeling the same way when Wolfgang Simpson (a prominent person within the house church movement) told us about missionaries praying for and seeing the instant healing of a two headed baby in Africa.
When someone tells you a story about something that does not make sense (or doesn't make sense to you) we have some nifty go to responses. Politely nodding, while thinking, they are mad (I know this not to be true in this case). Trying to rationally explain the phenomenon away. Or decide that they would tell us what really happened if their daughter was not with us here (I better not make any comments about Santa or the Toothfairy either).
As we where talking I found myself deciding not to dismiss it as madness and not to try to reason it out scientifically, but to just let it be. I found myself wanting to believe in this fairy tale. Wanting it to be true of the world. Some may call this a naive denial of reality, but I would rather label it (if it must be labeled) a furious longing for the transcendent. If I can let it be and not pick it apart, I can let it, like Shrodinger's cat, both be true and not true until the box is opened.
It is like the last lines of Terry Pratchet's book “The Hogfather” where the protagonists narrowly escape the disaster of loosing the wagon that pull the sun up on the sky. “What would have happened”, they ask, “if we would have failed? Would the sun not rise tomorrow? Oh sure it would, but it would just have been a glowing ball of gas floating in space”.
Most of the time we are so quick to disarm and dismantle the mysterious that we never get to experience the beauty of the mythical, magical and simply unbelievable. Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating blind unreasoned faith (anyone who knows me will testify that it is simply not my thing). I am merely suggesting that sometimes we need to accept the beauty and power of a story without having to defend or even consider the veracity and factuality of the tale but simply let the power of the story carry us to a different state of being, knowing and experiencing.
We simply need more myth, more mystery, more magic, more story in all our lives!