The universal and the infinite

“The more you respect and focus on the singular and the strange, the more you become aware of the universal and infinite.”
– Gail Godwin

I have known and loved this quote for a long time but I have never read anything by Godwin.  That’s about to change as Evensong is next in my stack.

I think Godwin’s words explain exactly what it is I’m looking for – and seeing – in the black branches against the saturated blue of a January sky, in the small knot of a brown bird’s nest, in the way a leaf stuck to the back of my car window looks like a heart, in the whorl of my son’s ear.  It’s the same thing I look for, and see, in the hearts of others.  It is in the tiniest, most specific moments – the way someone’s hands cup their baby, the kind words in an email, the look in a pair of eyes as they study mine – that I can glimpse the glittery chasm inside of another person.

Isn’t it, actually, in most infinitesimal details that the eternal resides?

Isn’t it the the smallest moments and most minute images that offer us a portal into the extravagant pageant of this life?

I think it’s partly because the universe, either within or without us, is too enormous and complex to be grasped in its entirety.  I keep having the image of not being able to back up enough to get the whole into a single frame.  So instead we turn to the tiniest flowers embroidered in an enormous tapestry, to the smallest manifestations of that gigantic, endless whole that animates our lives.

I take pictures of everything, and I walk around in wonder at the smallest things.  I think Godwin’s words say exactly why.  In those tiniest things I see the universe itself.

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  1. Posted January 23, 2012 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    Hi Lindsey, each post on your blog is so very inspiring. Your writings feed my conscience (heart too) with simplest and genuine wisdom, love and understanding. Besides, after going through your blog I came to know that you are a caring, responsible mom and of course a good human.

  2. Posted January 23, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I consciously wait for this.. “the smallest moments and most minute images that offer us a portal” when I meet or am getting to know someone. And once glimpsed it’s such a relief to see the person within the person. I never talk about it but I know when it doesn’t come that the relationship won’t ever really take. Beautiful words, as always. xox

  3. Posted January 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    What beautiful words – from you and from Gail. (I loved Evensong; hope you enjoy it!)