From Head To Heart

The greatest distance travelled is from head to the heart. It's cliché, but cliché is worn phrasing of truth. Truth I've experienced firsthand. A couple of years ago our church put up what we called a desperation wall, which was nothing more than a side of the stage, painted white in preparation for spiritual graffiti. There was a message I don't remember much of except for the question:

What are you desperate for?

I'm desperate to feel, to be lead out of a heart guided by God rather than my mind.

Not that I was looking for a lobotomy, but for far to long my logical center had been as a farmer in Oregon once put it, "one mean sonufavabitch" running the show with an iron fist, untrusting of emotion and the imaginative. Those things were for the most part frivolous, dangerous even.

And I agree with myself on that estimation, emotion has its pitfalls, much like logic can turn God into a math problem. If I can borrow from my own lyrics, "I've two demons battling for control / reason and desire in skirmish o'er my soul."

I'm growing in the conviction that we were meant to know and be known via logic, emotion, and imagination, all working with and through the others, walking in the awe and mystery, picking up facts, and using story to explore the one who put on flesh, spoke poetry, who laughed and cried.

My own journey from head to heart took what I like to call moments of wonder, moments so powerful I couldn't take them in intellectually. One such moment of wonder came as I drove up the side of Lassen Volcano at dusk, a winding one and a half lanes with no guard rails on the dark side of the mountain. As I drove by steam pouring from vents in the slope, I wondered if I would die by landslide or veering off the cliff.


Halfway up, my friend Preston, suggested we pull over and walk around a bit. Maybe it was the altitude, or the fatigue of driving 12 hours with the thought another three to go, but my immediate impulse upon exiting the vehicle was to find some sort of handle in the asphault. Standing above and below several thousand feet of steaming rock, I felt very small and very stupid for singing so many lyrics about mountains so casually. In that smallness, in that awe, I felt my fragility in the face of nature and how silly my aspirations were by comparison. As we drove down the other side of the mountain I didn't process so much as I simply accepted a gift that put love in perspective.

There have been others, one on a Scottish seashore, one dancing with a hippie girl, even one in a milking parlor. Each a sledghammer to the cinder block wall I had built around my heart, overwhelming my ability to fight off things deeper than syllogism.

God has, and continues to answer that cry of desperation, and I'm grateful for it. The melding of every part of who I am into who He is has been soemthing I wouldn't trade for all the knowledge in the world

May He guide you through the wilderness. May He protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonder He has shown you.