The glory of God is the human being fully alive. (St. Irenaeus)
Praise the LORD! Let my whole beingpraise the LORD! I will praise the LORD with all my life; I will sing praises to my God as long as I live. (Psalm 146:1-2; context)
My question is this: when have you ever felt fully alive? I ask because I’m really curious.
I assume that many answers will tread the path of the natural and the poetic. Perhaps you felt fully alive when the sun first peaked from under the ocean’s blanket and bathed you in the newness of dawn; or when you reached the peak of the mountain after a long hike and now you see the patchwork farmland stretching for miles in the valley below; or when you went outside on the first truly cold day of the year, saw your breath, and felt the chill air sting your cheeks until they turned rosy red.
Or might the answers wander a more relational path? Perhaps you felt fully alive when you first ventured to hold the hand of your crush, and (how incredible!) your crush held your hand in return; or when you scored the game-winning run and your team swarmed you at home plate, lifted you onto their shoulders, and chanted your name; or when you held a new baby for the first time and counted her tiny toes or offered your finger for him to hold onto with his tiny hand.
Or might the answers walk along the path of “what if”? You feel fully alive in the moments after narrowly avoiding a collision with another car. What if you hadn’t reacted so quickly? Or maybe you feel fully alive after a nasty bout of flu and you’re finally up and about. What if you had gotten sicker instead of better?
Or might the answers go down a destructive path? You feel fully alive only when you’re high or drunk; or when you’re racing down a straight road at midnight going 100 mph; or after fighting with your girlfriend just because you like the energy of conflict.
There are so many answers to the question; truly, they could fill volume upon volume. But I wonder how many of us would answer the question by bringing God into it? Might our answers travel the path of God’s movement? We’ll pick up that question tomorrow.
Dear God, source of all life, help me to see what brings me the feeling of fullness in my life, and grant me the grace to see how you are moving in that fullness. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
I leave this moment with you, God, rejoicing that you constantly yearn to draw me more deeply and more fully into life.