Laughter and Action

BY LESLIE FOSTER

It’s dark outside. I can smell liquid on the Indonesian air, thick with humidity. My sister is asleep beside me, my parents quiet in the front seat of our van, as we sit surrounded by the lights of fellow travelers, all crawling towards home. The lights are ghostly, red and white, floating, unattached as they bump and hover over the asphalt. And I am laughing, laughing so hard tears are coming out of my eyes, because I’ve just touched the infinite.

I’m five years old and I’ve just tried to comprehend eternity. For a brief moment, I grasped something beyond words or cognitive thought and then it was gone. The only possible outcome to seeing the face of God may be madness for those who have left childhood behind, but when my five-year-old self touched the void, She made me laugh.

The older I get, the more I reach back to that five-year-old who understood far more than I certainly do now. I am trying to embrace the tension of releasing childish things while also trying to welcome the kingdom of God like a child. The older I get, the harder it is for me to visualize God as human. When I, as a visual person, sink into prayer, when I reach for the infinite the way I did that night, I see and feel God as action. A gentle breeze cartwheeling over soft grass, a fire-infused dust devil thundering towards me, a free fall through eternal space that is thick with darkness and is certainly not safe, but is the definition of good.

For me to allow this beautiful, dangerous God to reach into my world, I have to let go of the childish binaries and boxes in which I’ve attempted to chain Her, and be open to my child-like understanding of a vast and overwhelmingly complex array of possibilities. I have to let go and listen for that laughter, so I can find the places where She has already been.

—LESLIE