One of the many themes to which I keep returning in these letters is their ultimate inadequacy to capture who You are. In fact, words themselves are a frustrating failure at expressing who, not only You are, but who I am. Words are all we’ve got but they invariably reach a dimension beyond which they crash in flames. Words themselves have led me to know this – then abandoned me. If my own words and the words of others are inadequate to contain You, my own words and the words of others are also inadequate to contain me because, at center, though I may not fully understand it, our spirits are one.
So what is there beyond words to which we have recourse? Even my innermost thoughts are hemmed-in by words. I have control over the words I use therefore I can manipulate how I use them. My words, however, are not me, nor, no matter how succinctly I use them, are they You. So they fail! But what is left? By what other means can I come to know You and know myself?
I like to think of instrumental music as a spiritual language, but what it communicates about You and me is more emotional than words. However, who You are and who I am is more than emotional and so music fails in its own way. Maybe there is just no means available to limited, fallible humans by which to perceive anything differently or more completely than the obvious ones.
There are things in our hearts that we simply cannot express, yet we insist upon trying to put them into words. Scripture is a written record of how men tried to put those feelings into words. Yet we know by instinct or some extra sense that there must be something greater than words. Maybe immersing our presence into silent contemplative stillness is the way to get beyond words; to allow the “Word of God” to fill us in its own way – in ways beyond words.
Every word has its own boundaries because it is an agreed-upon symbol for something else. A word tries to capture that “something else” and contain it. Even then it usually fails because of so many shades of meaning. Are we, then, humanly capable of grasping what is meant by a word? I think not. Concepts of pure spirituality must shed what shackles us to a single mode of perception and that does not come till we rest in You.