Cracks in the Floor

Last Thursday I went hiking with one of my dearest friends. We have a favorite trail that takes us through four miles of hill country, but the highlight is the lake at the halfway point. Jade-green and hidden by hills until you’re almost on top of it, it’s always a spectacular sight, like a snippet of the Amazon in California.

This time, though, there was something extra-special about it. A whole flock of seagulls (inexplicably far from the sea) was camping out on the water. Then, as one body, the flock rose into the air, fluttering on wings that “gleam and dart,” as W.B. Yeats would have it. Moving like an airborne whirlpool, they formed a column of light and air over the lake. Something about that moment–the surprise sight of so many birds in an unexpected place, their movement in perfect unity, the way their half-translucent wings caught the light–was unspeakable. It was like a glimpse of the Old Testament’s pillar of cloud, the visible presence of God that guided the wandering Israelites through the desert.

The sight got me thinking about such moments, moments that jump the gap between heaven and earth. Life here isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. The road is peppered with suffering, unfairness, betrayal, fallings-short. But more than any rational argument or logical progression, it’s beautiful moments like these that make me certain that there is a God–a God of tenderness, breathtaking beauty, and an astounding imagination. C.S. Lewis called these moments “joy.” I like to think of them as cracks in the floor of heaven.

I caught sight of another one the weekend before. I spent the weekend in Seattle, driving down to the Portland area for the wedding of a former roommate and dear friend. Though there was a lot of preparation and clean-up work involved, when all the cheese cubes were arranged and the dozens of chairs unfolded, the wedding was beautiful. One of the things the bride and groom did during the ceremony was braid a three-stranded cord to symbolize the intertwining of their lives with each other and with God. Watching a friend step out in love and faith to make a decision that will last a lifetime, transforming before my eyes from an individual into a couple bound together for life was one of those moments that was piercing in its shock, its newness, and its beauty. 

That continued as they danced their first dance, sometimes uncertain in the steps, but completely oblivious as they rocked in their own world. Human love is one of those mysteries that leaves us curious, wondering, and feeling the eternal echoes reverberating within. Clearer even than a swirl of white birds over a hidden lake, it’s one of those things that stops us in our tracks and hushes our words. Those moments are enveloped in bubbles, untouched by the incompletenesses and disappointments life can bring. They make us pause, look up, and catch a glimpse of light sparkling through the cracks overhead.

What cracks in heaven’s floor have you caught sight of lately? 

2 thoughts on “Cracks in the Floor

  1. Your words here very much have me feeling as if I am having a direct look inside one of those cracks in heaven’s floor. So often I find that my *God moments* defy words, and yet you’ve truly touched all the right cords in sharing these beautiful moments.I feel that if we would only slow down, shut up and listen, we’d see just how thoroughly surrounded we are by cracks in heaven’s floor. My oldest daughter is expecting her first child in August. We are in the midst of planning a surprise baby shower and I came across a table decoration I’d put away long ago. Surprisingly I’d written the date on it, and couldn’t believe when I realized that it was from my own shower when I was expecting her. Not only was it a sobering reminder of how quickly life races by, but most importantly is the recognition of the incredible blessings that comes as we add another link onto the chain.

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  2. How lovely, Barbara! It’s so true; life is fuller of these moments than we believe, but we do have to slow down and look for them. Congratulations to you and your daughter on the approaching new arrival 🙂

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