I became vaguely aware of a mild discomfort by my lower left jaw, but I couldn’t be bothered. It would be more trouble to roll over and go to sleep than to care.
I was there for hours.
Or was it seconds?
Everything sped around me at hyperspeed. But I, at the center, was completely calm.
I understood everything.
I was writing sonnets.
The secret of the universe was mine.
The drill was going faster and faster. I had left the dentist’s office and was certainly somewhere else. They stopped working on my tooth and I was part of another far more important story now.
Maybe all the stories.
The drill was beautifully part of them all.
My heart was open and felt no pressure.
Each muscle was electric and relaxed.
This was my first experience with nitrous oxide, in which I felt I understood the secret of the universe.
But of course, I am staring out my window today contemplating the same thing with far less confidence.
Because the nitrous wore off with the oxygen they filled my lungs with.
Society tells us that we will experience all this life has to offer by the time we near our 30’s. Movies tell us. Disney tells us. Anti-aging products tell us. To be happy, we must be young, they chirp brightly. At the back of this cheerful message is the grey drab wall of reality, on which is scrawled the far less hopeful message that success, if it didn’t come already, won’t come now. And it certainly won’t come later.
This leads to depression for many. Disillusionment. Panic, midlife crises. Most of us are still trying to figure out what we want to be when we grow up. And, as every parent knows, raising precious humans probably eclipsed any other production in what felt like our most productive years.
Or, you didn’t get to have kids.
Either way, we’re still trying to figure out the secret of the universe, and time is running out.
There’s this guy who lived around 2,000 years ago who spent his life being counter-cultural and unraveling the messages of culture.
He came into a situation with very similar undertones. The host was depressed, or panicked, or worried at best, fretting over things like his self-image and personal finances — he had run out of wine at one of the biggest social events.
That’s how we feel sometimes. Life is still moving on. We are still in the play. Other actors are playing their parts. We are still on the stage.
But we’ve run out of lines. Who knew we’d need so many?
We lost inspiration.
We thought we had enough, but our playbook is on its last page.
In the story I mentioned above, the wedding guest I spoke of turned water into wine. Maybe you’ve heard that story.
And, after all the other wine had run out, the wine that Jesus, the guest, made was beyond anything else that anyone at the wedding had ever experienced.
It made the host say, “You have kept the best until now.”
He has an abundance of the stuff that makes up the secret of the universe. He is the Secret of the Universe.
And for those who believe, He has kept the best until now.
Don’t believe culture, or Disney, or the products.
The best is yet to come.