I love thinking about Quantum Physics. I begin to understand it only on the ‘idiot’s guide to’ level, but I like to read about the theories and imaginings and imagery of the subject. I’m fascinated that we can even try to understand life and substance, light and sound, in a sub-atomic dimension. And then I quite often toddle off down another train of thought and start to wonder about black holes (you’re right – I need to get a life! Or a job maybe) and this is what I found the other day:
Black holes are singularities: points of infinitely small volume with infinite density. Such incredibly compact objects cause infinite curvature in the fabric of spacetime. Everything that falls into a black hole is impelled toward the singularity.
OK. What’s a singularity when it’s at home? A singularity is a point at which a function takes an infinite value. ‘Infinite’. I love that word, that concept, that truth, that inevitability. I could go on and on but I won’t.
OK, one more… ‘Infinite’, I love that word, that promise.
My singularity (truth, promise, inevitability etc) is Christ, so this thought sent me straight to the small and almost daily miracles of the Christian life. I think that sometimes we miss them, we crush them underfoot with our big clumsy shoes as we busy ourselves with all the stuff we have to do. On my walks through the dunes at this time of year the grass is jewelled with daisies, wood anemones, bird’s foot trefoil… and loads more I can’t name…. and sometimes the carpet of flowers is so wide and deep between the great banks of gorse and brambles, that I have no choice but to trample it. A tiny tad of regret, but if I look back each flower is springing back up, barely bruised.
This is Bird’s Foot Trefoil. A great lovely cushion of delight, humming with bee song in sunshine, glistening in rain.
I try to be aware of the small things, the tiny and wonderful gifts of every day, aware of each one’s unique quality, and I like the definition of that black hole as a ‘singularity’. More than a thing, more than a moment, more than an image. A singularity or miracle of existence, a one-off of infinite value. Never to be perfectly replicated in time and space and experience.
For me the most exciting singularities are the ones that point to God, to His activity in this world, in my life, even now. I experienced one of those yesterday, a tiny teeny moment with infinite meaning and eternal assurance. I noticed it particularly because a friend has told me about his own small enormous miracle on Sunday morning (I won’t tell you about that one – it’s his to tell) and so my radar was turned on, my receiver tuned in.
This small community is wracked by illness at the moment, friends have died recently, others are dying, there is sadness and loss all around us (see, I know how to cheer you up on a wet Thursday) and that means there’s lots of listening to be done and people to care for. It can be a tad overwhelming. I am not a sweet little old lady dispensing home made goodies and wise words. Yesterday I was visiting a pal who’s really going through a hard, hard time and I was so conscious that, while I know that silence is golden and listening is more valuable than talking, even my listening was inadequate. I don’t think it’s always helpful to quote a Bible verse as a sort of panacea for all ills, physical and spiritual, so although we might read a Psalm together or talk about a sermon we’ve heard, mostly the only words I offer are prayers. And silly jokes. Yesterday we prayed. When I came away I wondered if there was anything, anything at all, that could help and comfort this friend and I felt totally inadequate. I came into the house, sat here at my desk, opened a commentary on Isaiah and the verse at the very top of the page was Isaiah 50:4
The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
Wowser. That was a point of infinitely small volume with infinite density. God speaking to me. The God of all eternity and infinity, the Creator of all existence, bending low to whisper in my ear ‘I’m here. When you don’t have the words, I will give them to you. Be still and know that I am God.’
He is my eternal singularity. To the world His miracle yesterday may seem as small as a wild forget-me-not, easily crushed underfoot, but to the heart that belongs to Him, it has the power and immensity, density and wonder of a billion back holes. He impels me, compels me, towards His love. He quite simply is.