Someone once said I think in 'layers'. I didn't hesitate to understand what he meant, it seemed only a remark at the time that expressed his deeper confusion. I laughed. Layers indeed! Is that the way I speak, the way I think? Forgive me for not understanding what YOU are expressing while I am so busy expressing myself! Layers! Another way of saying a thin veil, a cloud of conspicuous political double talk, a stream of nonsensical words drawn together by only one thing, the person speaking. Look deeper, is it the person speaking or the person listening that draws the layers? In conversation as in relationships, we all think in layers.
I feel our relationships to each other are as layers in a river, flowing southward to meet the sea. At the delta, where does the river end and the sea begin? Or as layers in the forest, reaching high the tall trees and thin branches for lofty birds to perch as they soar ever higher toward heaven itself, beyond the safety of the canopy. With each person we know, we are thinking and acting on layers. Once built, our layers strengthen, others more tenuous relationships tear and grow apart. Who is to predict these ebbs and flows, winds and terrors anymore than we can predict nature itself?
If you study nature and the ecosystems that are in place, you can see similarities in this world we shelter ourselves in. By that I mean that we are all human first, seeking always and satisfied never. In nature it is the same. A tiny creature worms itself from the earth in a cycle that sometimes lasts ten years, to molt and morph into a different creature entirely. This is a creature soon to develop wings and occupy an entirely different space in the forest, mate and die, falling like dust to the ground. A cycle is in place, designed to begin all of it again, fresh and new. We aren't really part of this treadmill of work, fighting, dying and never quite belonging or meaning a thing to the greater scope of things are we? What we do matters doesn't it? We aren't set out so simply as this bug that crawls and doesn't think or feel or care? Are we? We humans set ourselves apart, foolishly at times.
Layers begin in each being, but who is the master of the design? If our God gave us minds to think with, then he gave us ways to communicate our thoughts and learn and grow and develop ourselves to the best of our abilities. Some utilize these talents, some do not, but who is to say the bug that flies the straightest and truest will mate first or best? There is no guarantee, only averages and patterns and laws of nature to show us. If the river flows well to the sea, without any assistance by man, then what is the dam for? Man's use and convenience has stripped whole mountains of their tops for ore, only to be leveled and filled off into an adjoining valley by huge earth moving equipment designed and implemented by intelligent men. Who should stand in our way?
Do we build the layers or destroy ourselves? Time will bring evidence of this natural cause and effect, not in days or weeks but in centuries and ages. Our mind springs back to the tiny bug we watch so carefully along the picnic bench, the one crafted so secretly by God and protected by the colorful leaves matched in perfect texture and camouflage to his thin shell. Do we destroy the bug or watch it in awe?
Please believe that your every move and thought is part of a greater design, that what you weave in relationships with families, workers, friends and lovers are as important as the path the sparrow takes when beginning it's migration. One moment hesitating will bring it into winter's storm, an early flight will labor the bird too quickly, reaching the ground ahead of the others and finding no mates. We cannot know what will help us or hurt us in the journey to the sea, only by letting ourselves flow around each other in layers can we sense the need to belong to nature itself.
Trust that the layers you are seeing and reaching out to in your lifetime will matter to the future course of events. Know also that you are acting on the layers that have come before you in history, each human capturing a part of his nature's bounty in his lifetime and increasing the yield. Therefore, it matters. To the bug and to the bird and to the stream that somehow starts from nothing and pools into a giant ocean, teaming with life. Enjoy being part of it all and celebrate the natural layers of relationships around you.