My friends who know me well know that I have at least two irrational desires.
The first irrational desire is to have a pet pegasus. Now, I realize that all scientific and historical evidence appears to suggest that these magnificent creatures are in fact mythical; however, this is precisely why I would want one. I would be the only person in the universe [to my knowledge] to own one. I would have an adventurous (albeit windy) mode of transportation, and a beautiful animal for a friend.
The second irrational desire is to be able to teleport. I cannot even describe to you how many times I have wished this power for myself on a regular basis. After an absurdly late night downtown, I would often wish to teleport so I would not have to make the half an hour drive from downtown Orlando to my house all the way in the boondocks. I would have instant access to anywhere in the world at the snap of a finger. I wouldn’t have to deal with train tickets, bad airplane food or jetlag.
In addition to many ongoing conversations in the past of our superpowers and what they would be, Jeanne and I would frequently realized how handy this superpower would have been in Australia. In fact, if we were still able to teleport, I would probably teleport myself right now for some hot surfers, a decent cappuccino, some vintage shopping, maybe a Hillsong service or two and some serious beach time. Then at the end of a glorious Sydney spring day, I could teleport myself back to the comfort of my American bed.
While we were in Australia, we would frequently dream of the ability to teleport to America. We’d blink and in a momentary flash, surprise our friends by teleporting ourselves into Backbooth for 80s night on a random Friday, or maybe to Chickfila for some much-needed sweet tea or chicken nuggets, and definitely back in time for my mom’s graduation or an impromptu family reunion.
I remember road-tripping through Australia with Walt and Jeanne. Once we left Sydney after our initial 12-day stay there, we hopped in a car and drove south of Sydney. That first day of driving turned out to have its own series of misadventures, since neither Walt nor Jeanne had ever driven on the left side of the road. Not to mention the right side of the car. I’m pretty sure we got lost multiple times, trying to find the Princes Highway which would eventually lead us south through Wollongong and on through to our first memorable stop of the Pacific Coast road-trip: a tiny town of Bermagui. Population: 220.
On our way to Bermagui, we stopped at several places along the way. Whenever we saw a seven-mile beach or set of cliffs or read about some sight (tessellated rocks, anyone?) to see in the guide book, we’d instantly pull the car over and have a look. I loved the utter freedom to simply revel in creation, to be immersed in the vastness of the world, to feel swallowed up in it. Even when sights turned out to be not-so-glorious (note to future Lonely Planet travelers: the blowhole at Kiama is not all its cracked up to be), many times, it’s the unexpected that becomes glorious. Like the time the night sky caught us by surprise and showed off for us as we stopped our car on a bridge in the middle of nowhere just to look up at the stars. I could have sworn the stars were reflected in the glassy, dark water that surrounded us.
I’ve been contemplating the word “fear” in the Bible. The Greeks have three words for fear. Many times, the word fear can mean come from the Greek deilia, which means timidity or cowardice. The kind of fear bred from insecurity, mistrust and anxiety.
However, many times, when that word appears in Scripture, it comes from the Greek word eulabeia which means to be in utter awe at the reality of something. The “fear of God” is not a Bible-thumping, judgmental, white-bearded, wrinkled old man shaking his finger at us: rather, the fear of God is a response to a sweeping, breathtaking panorama, an all-consuming, glimpse into Something that is Truth. Something that is real. Something that makes our souls come alive at the sound, sight and the very hint of Its presence. Scripture says that “angels long to look into these things.” I heard pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC describe this “longing” as being equivalent with “obsession.” The gospel is so complex, compelling and at once incomprehensible that angels are obsessing over it, wondering at the marvel and mystery of it, and utterly unable to grasp it in its entirety.
That’s the kind of awe I feel when I crane my neck up to look at the myriad of stars over Bermagui one night. Or the time when I am sitting on a balcony of a raucous hostel in Cairns on Anzac Day with two friends, deeply moved by uncensored words and intimate revelation of self.
As much as I ardently wish for teleportation, I am realizing more and more how necessary are the detours, the unexpected and the silent, despairing moments when I’m left wondering if I’m worth anything or any good to anyone. It is within these moments that I can truly know the extent of someone’s love. Or Someone’s love. One kind of fear (the awe, which, is actually the only appropriate response to Love) negates the other. My identity and purpose, my very soul’s source is rooted in perfect Love. If only I could consciously grasp that on a daily basis…
I love what Lander posted in his blog here about progress. He exhorted readers to: “Hold onto the progress you have made.” Progress does not allow for an instant gratification culture that sometimes feels like it is on a trajectory to teleportation. Progress has brilliant moments of insight and beauty and wonder. But it also includes difficult moments of doubt, it is in those moments where I have to flee from the allure of emotions and perception and cling to truths that I know, visions I remember, and dreams that are sealed up in my memory. These things cannot be truly learned or grasped in an instantaneous moment of teleportation.
So yeah, I’m pretty sure even teleportation is overrated.
But not the pegasus.