"Yeah, she caught my eye, as we walked on by.
She could see from my face that I was flying high,
And I don't think that I'll see her again, but we shared a moment that will last till the end.
You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true.
I saw your face in a crowded place,
And I don't know what to do,
'Cause I'll never be with you."
Heard this song by James Blunt as I was driving this morning, and a few things came to mind:
I had an experience like this some years back. I was at a study group when a young lady entered the room, and I literally had to catch my breath! Her face, especially her eyes, seemed radiant. My heart honestly skipped a beat. There was no forethought nor lust; it was just my immediate reaction to her beauty.
Christians recognize these transcendent moments as pointers to God, the truly Beautiful. “For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator” (Wisdom 13:5). How amazing that God gives we human beings a participation in His beauty! That's part of the Theology of the Body - our physicality is a window on the Divine.
I never saw the young woman from the study group again. I've had many fleeting encounters in my life though - that cool person that I met at a party while on vacation, or the neat people I've struck up conversations with in waiting rooms. We're each on different life paths, but our lives intersected for a moment; and I glimpsed someone that I would have liked to know more of. It's natural to feel a tinge of sadness, of longing.
What snaps me out of it is a fact: God's plan is to give me an eternity, a literal eternity, to get to know that person. Our paths might have only crossed for a moment here and now, but He intends for all of them to culminate at the same place - before His throne. I don't just recall this after the fleeting encounters either; I've recalled it at graduations, job changes, and the funerals of loved ones. It's a reality that gives meaning to all of the experiences of the "almost, but not yet" of this life.
In the end, not only will encounter God's goodness and beauty through the children He has made, but directly, "face-to-face."
Oh yes, and the final thing James Blunt's song always make me think of - my daughter Lily. During her life hundreds of thousands of people will look at her and have to catch their breath . . . but I'm blessed to spend every single day with her, here on earth and hopefully (in my case at least) in heaven.