Where's the There
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Gillick, Larry, S.J.
Glimpses by Fr. Gillick
We had a bit of snow today and I trudged across our campus with my new boots, crunching new paths for later-ones to travel safely. Snow measured three inches. It did cause me an admiring reflection about Robert Peary's several expeditions across Greenland in the eighteen-eighties and years later his successful-or-not discovery of the North Pole. Let's say now in hindsight, he came very close. His famous statement reads, "The pole at last, the prize of three centuries! My dream and goal for twenty years, mine at last!" Two years later Rolad Amunsen, A Norwegian navigator, stands where a South Pole would be at an opposite end of the world. On May 29th, 1953 Sir Edward Hillary sat on top of Mount Everest and his famous statement lives on, "Nothing above us, the world below. "|All three planned, strove, climbed, sailed, crawled, risked and when they arrived, well, there was nothing there except them and their histories which crawled and tramped with them to that spot. Ah, but there was a something else. There is the accomplishment, "the mastery of the thing." There is always the other side of the mountain, the "over there", the reaching! Jules Verne takes us to The Center of the Earth or Twenty-Thousand Leagues under the Sea. Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica take us out there. So what is "there" when we get "there"? There is always another "there" and it is within.|Saint Thomas Aquinas has his five proofs for the existence of God and I have always thought they are pretty good ones. My one hunch, more than proof of God's existence, is the pilgrimatic launchings within the human heart, spirit, mind. I imagine that when Hillary was resting way up there he just might have been looking around to see if there were just one more mountain to peak. We send space- probes to Mars and beyond, just because the beyond is beyond.|It all begins with the searching into cupboards by small children who love pulling out pots and pans until there is nothing left in there. It is the tourist in us who carries the Bucket List deep inside. That "there" is a sacred place, worthy of reverence and silence. The natural frustration which results from getting "there" and finding "nothing above" and "a world below" is my hunch for the existence of an inviting God Who does not play tricks with us, but attracts us to the incomprehensible beyond. This God has a longing as well. This God desires to be wanted as all love does. This God creates us to keep on keeping on. The human mind and heart experience being separated from a beyond, a some "where", a some One Who will be "all in all."|We humans can tend at times to rest on our moon, this mountain, this idea and say, "This is all there is, this is as good as it gets." The truly wise person holds his/her mountain-tops in one hand gratefully and with the other reaches gratefully for the beyond, the more, the Fullness. This God attracts us through the incompleteness of our minds, hearts, and spirits. This God keeps singing to us, "Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow till you find your dream." When we are not quite there or when we are there but feeling that there must be more, we are in the place where we are who we really are. It is only a glimpse, keep longing no matter how long it takes.
Creighton University, Online Ministries