The Whole of God in the Knuckles of my Toes

When I was young, I amused myself on car trips by picking the tiniest detail from the oncoming scenery and focusing all my attention on it – an askew shaft of pussywillow or a sprightly sprig of grass. It thrilled me to think that no one had ever done just this before, had never given such rapt attention to this single, particular nook of creation. We’d drive by it at seventy miles an hour, and my eyes fastened on the twig as if hooked by a line, and I smiled.

I learned later that Hassidic Jews do something similar. Creation can be hallowed, goes the thinking, by exercising just the sort of focus of will that I was mustering as a boy. Concentrate with your very spirit on a thing, anything, and it can – under some conditions – be redeemed from the mediocrity of the mortal coil. There may be something to that, but a question: just what in creation itself is not already hallowed?

The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.

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