Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Life in 3-D

As a people, we're thirsting for a life that's coming right at us, one we can reach out and touch.  It is invading our media, with a majority of movies boasting 3-D technology that lets us meld into our escapist fantasies, new worlds that speak to something in us and strike us as 'better than here.'  The heartbreak, I believe, is that as strongly as we long to touch Wonderland or Hogwart's or Pandora, too many of us are far too content with 2-D living.

It would be easy to say those 2 D's are for Day-to-Day living, but I'm speaking of dimension.  It's why we are so dissatisfied when we see our lives on paper.  We fit all too well in a flat world, defined only by our length and width.

It should come as no shock.  Think about it: how many people do you know who think of life in terms of getting to the top or getting to the end?  If we're really ambitious, we hope we make it to the end while being on top.  Length - the measure of our years.  Width (or height) - the measure of our success.  Put them together and you have a growth chart with no definition.  A bland, stale paper-thin existence with not a lot to hope for and not a lot to strive for and not a lot to love for.

Then we're disappointed and our hearts cry out in agony.  Is this all there is?  Shouldn't there be something more?

There is something more.  It is depth, the third dimension.  It is the dimensional aspect of our 3-D technology that makes our fantasy world touchable.  Experiential.  Tangible.

In art, we say the third dimension (depth) adds definition to an image.  It turns a rectangle into a box; a circle into a sphere.  It fully and radically transforms an object.

In the same way, depth adds definition to our lives.  It rounds us out so we're something more than a flake, and it opens in us this great well in which we long to be filled, a space for God to pour into us the fullness of His creation.  It presents another side to us, another way for the world to see us - they can see us in 3-D, someone they can reach out and touch.  Someone real.  Tangible.

It's counter-intuitive to what the world might tell us.  There's nothing about depth that makes us live longer or live grander; depth simply calls us to live fuller.

Choosing depth is not without its pains.  As the artists behind our latest cinematic spectacles will tell you, adding depth is about creating something expecting to be touched.  And it is agonizing work.  To transform James Cameron's Titanic into a 3-D experience took 300 artists more than 750,000 hours.  

To harness this kind of depth in our lives, we have to start by expecting the world to touch us.  With beauty and brokenness, with ecstasy and misery, with tenderness and pain, with light and shadows.  We have to know it's going to be agonizing.  Choosing depth means choosing vulnerability.  It means setting ourselves up to be touched.  Exposing our hearts to the raw experience of the world as it is.

But we have been created with this depth; the Artist made us to be touched.  He created us with the idea that people would see us as something real, something tangible.  That they could look at us and see an escape from 2-dimensional living.  Every little detail, every painstaking pixel of this existence has been measured out for glory, and the end result is absolutely breathtaking.  It's the kind of experience you can't stop telling your friends about, the kind you beg them to come and see with you.  This one not on the screen, but on the skies.  Not in the cinemas but in the expanses.

Where life stands, you'll still need the glasses.  Because the 2-D fiction of making it to the end and making it to the top and somehow hopefully both has dulled our eyes, we need a change of vision.  We need a new way of seeing the world.  But the day is coming when our eyes will see without them.  When we'll look into a life restored and be drawn away into a seeming fantasy that is oh so real.  Into the Garden.  Into Eden.

In the meantime, let us know it is no accident this world is a sphere and not a circle.  God has created and invited us to depth.  Let us embrace 3-D living and defined by our depth - that we've been agonized over, formed, and pixel-perfected for the world to touch us.  That perhaps, just perhaps, we might also touch the world.

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