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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A thousand dimensions

by Nancy Shuman

File:Lapahoehoe, Hawai'i.jpg
Photo by Greg Smith, Wikimedia Creative Commons.

I fell in love with the sea when I was seventeen.  Never mind that I'd never laid eyes on it.  Never mind that I was growing up in a landlocked American state, far from salty breezes.  I imagined crashing waves and windswept dunes and oh, such a wonderful smell! 

The first time I saw the ocean, that day when I was hit with the full impact of sounds and scents and gusts of wind for which I had only been partially prepared, I knew I'd had no way beforehand of picturing the scene spread out in three dimensions before me.  The constant roll of waves, that overpowering ROAR, the feel of feet being sucked down into wet sand.  Even though I'd dreamed of it and actually in some way loved it, there was no way I could have envisioned the totality of it all. 

Everything I'd imagined about the sea was true.  The only shock was in discovering how much MORE there was to it.  The three-dimensionality of it.  The engagement of senses I'd never thought would be called into service. 

Sometimes I compare my love of the sea to love of God.  Never having seen Him, I love Him.  I have true ideas of Him, and through His grace I can actually know Him.  Yet there is no way I can know Him in His fullness until I see Him face to face.  I cannot even envision such Totality, and I suspect such vision would overwhelm a human still in the flesh.

Will there be, in eternity, sounds beyond anything we've ever heard here?  Colors not detectable to eyes of flesh?  A thousand dimensions spread before us, in every taste and shade, in every tone and depth, in every texture of Love.... ?

"Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love Him."  (1 Corinthians 2:9) 

This was originally posted at  The Breadbox Letters. Nancy Shuman also blogs at  The Cloistered Heart.


  1. Heaven will be amazing, won't it?! Thanks for the little peek into eternity, Nancy!

    1. Thank you, Mary. I often reflect upon how limited we are by our 5 senses. They're perfectly adequate for navigating through this life, of course.. but imagine how much more there must be in Eternity!

  2. This post reminds me of Emily Dickinson's poem, I Never Saw a Moor. I have never seen a moor or heather either, except in pictures or movies, but Bronte side of me loves them anyway!

    1. I am off immediately to my book of Emily Dickinson's poems to find this one! I actually think I remember bits of it, but am not sure. And I am intrigued that part of you loves moors, because so does part of me (never having see one either). Surely they are mist enshrouded places, across which hounds can be heard baying across the fields of night. If you ever learn differently, would you be so kind as to not tell me? :)

  3. I never saw a Moor.
    I never saw the Sea --
    Yet I know how Heather looks
    And what a Billow be --

    I never vspoke with God
    Nor visited in Heaven --
    Yet certain am I of the spot
    As if the Checks were given

    Emily Dickinson actually had a very unconventional relationship to Christianity. She never participated in the religious revivals of her time and never went to church. Many of her poems, are much deeper than any superficial or intellectual or philosophical understanding. If she were a Christian today -- and I don't know that she would be -- she would be a Christian mystic.

    In many poems the Christian references serve as powerful metaphors for a very personal experience that transcends belief. In this poem at least, she takes an unequivocal view -- the certainty and strength of her voice is a hallmark of her poetry.

  4. You create a powerful analogy using the overwhelming sight of the ocean to describe the love of God. , spine tingling, actually.

  5. Such a contented smile on my face Nancy as I nod knowing for sure that we are kindred spirits. YOU speak for me when you write about the ocean.

  6. This is beautiful Nancy! I also love, love the ocean and have a deep longing to go there especially after reading this post. Thank you for writing so lovingly of God and his creations. The "a thousand dimensions spread before us, in every taste and shade, in every tone and depth, in every texture of Love...?" is amazing poetry! You have such a gift, thanks for sharing!


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