Thursday, July 17, 2014

Standing in the Ghetto of the Surreal


My wife sat there gazing at her little screen. She was playing YouTube videos of babies being treated neonatally with congenital diaphragm herniation – one of the conditions our baby has in utero. I hardly noticed to begin with, but there were tears streaming down her face. Her crying was silent; a private requiem for what was so personally hers. We embraced, yet hardly spoke a word.
We stand in some surreal moments of life, where the emotions could be palpable, if only we were to experience them. Somehow, perhaps, God protects us and holds us as functional beings even in the midst of shattering situations.
Standing in the ghetto of the surreal – and it is a ghetto, because that is where the minority stand – is beyond description; it’s beyond analysis; it just is. Yet, somehow, it seems easy to get on with life, and perhaps it is the calm before the storm. Maybe it’s faith. Or maybe those prayers being prayed on our behalf are helping us.
Standing in the ghetto of the surreal proves experience to be unreal, even in the starkness of the reality we cannot help but notice is hitting us square between the eyes.
As we stand in these moments, where the ordinary humdrum of life seems but a distant memory, where there really was nothing to worry about, we are forgiven for getting down on ourselves. And as our thoughts circum-ambulate through our minds the pain of such recurrent thought can be tormenting. Fortunately, that has not been my experience for some time. It tends not to bother me when thoughts continue to circulate freely in my mind. It’s the unconscious problem-solving faculty.
But, as it is, standing in the ghetto of surreal is, of itself, hallowed ground. God goes there and so do angels.
Where humanity rarely treads divinity traipses every day; in the surreal. What is painful is also holy ground.
Whenever we experience the surreal it can appear that we are being segregated, removed from the general population, isolated for maltreatment. But standing in the ghetto of the surreal is very special territory, if only we can see it as divinity’s training ground. We are under the care of God if we will release ourselves into his hands.
Surreal experiences are so often spiritual experiences. This is because the surreal experience is the invitation to a reality quite unreal, yet never more real.
When we are blindsided by the surreal we are invited to journey with God. God will never take us where we cannot safely, and under his guidance, go.
Standing in the ghetto of the surreal is a reality quite unreal – a very spiritual experience, and an invitation to journey with God.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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