Dimmer Switch / by KR



My brother couldn't handle morning light all too fully, all too quickly. Many mornings, I recall, we had breakfast with the dimmer switch set low, the buzz of the lights almost fighting their command to hold back their brightness for the sake of my brother's eyes. In brotherly gest I always teased him that he wasn't strong enough to even handle the light of day. I sat smirking across the table as we ate our cereal before the walk to school.

Now, I see that all too often I can't bare the brightness of REAL life, that I would prefer to keep the dimmer switch set low. When God chooses to speak to my heart about reality, about how much more he believes in me than I do, about what delight, what passion flows in him for the life he made when he made me, about the truth of what I was created to live in -I fumble for the dimmer switch. I used to try and do that false humility thing of looking at the ground going, "No, No, stop it...your too much." Or try and be "spiritual" by taking the posture of, "I am so unworthy, Lord." Now, the dimmer switches are the talking about anything that comes to mind, because I convince myself that it's part of a relationship with an all knowing Creator that he wants me to be honest with my desires - and that he does, w/o apology. But even then, I can start using that as a dimmer switch.

I have to.

Because when he speaks these days, it is so unnerving, so undoing. It unhinges me.

And just for anyone who is nodding their head in agreement because they think, "oh, yes. He shows me my deepest sin. I don't like him speaking either, because I feel so ashamed, or unworthy." And it's coming from a place of guilt, of accusation or feelings that God sits before you, arms folded, saying, "Why can't you get your shit together? I saw how treated that person, or what you thought about so and so."

I am not talking about that. In actuality, I am talking about the exact opposite. If that is how you hear God, then maybe you should re-examine who you are listening to.

The words that are too much for my eyes, morning or evening, are these words of deep affirmation, bottomless expressions of love. They are words that speak into the marrow of my existence and tell me what I was REALLY made for, who I REALLY am. The kind of stuff that shakes me because of they are words of purest truth coming from the One who is truth, the One who created. They are words that defy definition or packaging, that could no more be contained than a wild fire could be held in a paper box.

Hell, even now, by my writing, I, at this moment, am trying to maintain the dimmer switch. It's too much for a man to bear in so full a force.

Yet, I am not running from it all. In fact, just like my brother's eyes adjusted to the light and eventually could walk out into the sunshine, I adjust to receive what God says; more and more "getting" that it's REAL and TRUE even if I don't get WHY.

John, one of the guys that hung out with Jesus and even got published with his own book about Jesus called, appropriately - JOHN - towards the end of his book stops speaking of himself in third person. No longer does he say, "Peter, James and John," or "John and so and so." He starts calling himself by a new name, "The one who Jesus loved." Funny enough, it doesn't happen after Jesus has died, raised and done all this "work" we so often hear about in churches. It starts when they are having a meal together, the night before it all goes down.

John turned the dimmer switch up after three years of being with God. He finally, had let his eyes adjust to what he was hearing - no matter how unbelievable. And the light just kept coming on brighter and brighter, because towards the end of his very long life he seems to almost glow with the love.

Rich Mullins once said something to the effect of "God will not share us with our deepest imaginings of him." First we hear this and think, "But why?" The answer is because they are too dim. There is more and it requires less effort to control the switch. Annie Dillard says in her book HOLY, THE FIRM: "We are never more asleep at the switch than when we think we control the switches."

It is our sleep from which we wake, squinting, reaching the dimmer, because REALITY is far too much for us to receive so early in the morning.