Home Behind the Sun and an Analog Resistance (Part I)
Welcome Seth today as he shares about the new book from Timothy Willard and Jason Locy, Home Behind the Sun:Connect With God In the Brilliance of the Everyday. Tim has become a fast friend of the Haines family, and Jason is a pretty swell guy, too. We hope you’ll be as encouraged as we’ve been by Tim and Jason.
Saturday, I saw the Brilliance.
In my thirties, I’ve seen how the best of us–even the very best of the good ones–find ourselves at the crossroads of quandary. The world can be a brutal and dark place, can’t it? There are wars and rumors of wars, turmoil and rumors of turmoil. Children are objectified, hyper-sexualized for profit. The vestiges of our egocentric culture press in, distract us, inflate pride in spaces like Facebook and Twitter. Children grow sick. Spouses have affairs. Jobs come and go. Good men are stripped from the earth too soon. And these things–these ways in which the world comes up shadows–can mess with faith of any believer. They distract us, make us believe that there is too much darkness.
In the shadows of life, is there any light of God?
This weekend, I packed the car with fishing rod, a hammock, a brown-bag lunch, and a copy of Home Behind the Sun. I pulled from the driveway, headed toward the tailwaters of Beaver Lake, the sanctuary first created by God in the seven days of Genesis, and later augmented by the Corps of Engineers in 1966. The tailwaters are a refuge of sorts for me, the home of the rainbow trout, the bald eagle, the great blue heron and kingfisher. I have seen foxes trolling the banks, and local children splashing in the shallows. There are one-thousand eyes on this stretch of water, all blinking in wonder. At the tailwaters, I process and am processed (as it were).
In the days preceding my mini-retreat, I’d found myself a shadow dweller of sorts. I’ve been coming through a season of struggle, been fighting against alcohol dependency for over two-hundred days. Add to that a busy travel season for Amber and the pressures of family and career, and I’d found myself living too much in my own thoughts. (You know this feeling, this place where the worries of the world pile up on themselves, when they spin one on top of the next; right?) If these things weren’t enough, our community lost a young man too soon, he an aspiring difference-maker. His death had ripple effects, moved into the community in concentric circles, in ways that were felt and real. By his passing, I was reminded–this whole shebang is fleeting.
To the tailwaters I went to find something beautiful, something God-breathed and eternal. To the tailwaters I went to find some brilliant color.
In the water, the trout held in pockets. They pointed upstream, facing the oncoming chironomid feast. I laid my line across the mirrored surface, fly landing five feet upstream of a pocket of trout. It drifted to the waiting fish, and one turned on the drifting midge, silver side flashing, reflecting the rising sun. The trout shot up, broke the water with a fearful and violent shake of its head. (There is nothing like the sight of a trout breaking upward.)
I landed the trout, its rainbow body cupped gently in my hands. It was a beautiful freckled creature, mouth gaping in the morning air. On the far side of the shore, the great blue heron kept watch, belching its morning call. It would have taken my fish as an offering if I’d offered it. Instead, under his watchful eye, I lowered the trout back into the water, whispered thanks to God for the good things with which he has filled the world.
This is my Father’s house.
I walked back to the bank, put my rod down, and sat on a large and sunny rock. My copy of Home Behind the Sun was sitting on the rock and I cracked it open and read:
Finding pure darkness is almost impossible. … Take away all the colors of the rainbow and you won’t get darkness; you will get pure and radiant white. No matter how hard you try to black it out, light seeps in through the cracks.
And if the light exists, so does God.
I stepped outside of my own head on the banks of the tailwater, sat in the sun and let it seep through my closed eyes. I opened my eyes, too, dove headlong into the beauty and brilliance of the created. I drove those forty-five miles to escape the shadows of self and grief. I drove to escape the virtual realities of Facebook and Twitter, to escape the reach of reality ego gone awry. I drove to the tailwaters to stage a sort of analog resistance.
And in the resistance, I found the Brilliance.
Step outside yourself; look for the uncontainable God in the world around you; be brilliant.