The Place Where His Glory Dwells

I’m an agnostic. I want to believe in the divine, but I can’t quite persuade myself. All the evidence I know of suggests that God is a myth. And yet I do not doubt the existence of the largest and most important segment of human life which is the noncorporeal. It is obvious to me that the human brain is the tool we use to think with, but our thoughts and especially our creativity—the work of the brain—exist in a world that has no physical being.

In hopes that the deity exists, I pray every night. One of the lines I recite comes from Psalm 26:8: “I have loved, oh Lord, the beauty of thy house and the place where thy glory dwells.”

Meanwhile, I have a deck on the back of my house that looks north over a pond, perhaps a hundred feet in diameter, half filled with water reeds and surrounded by majestic trees more than twice the height of my house. The view is breathtaking at all hours of the day and night.

But I just discovered the time when it is most beautiful. Some days ago, on a night with a full moon, I ventured out on the deck. I could hear the frogs in the pond doing their occasional croaks. The begonias in full bloom atop the entire deck rail glowed faintly. The lights from the houses built around the pond were completely obscured by the heavy foliage in the trees. It felt as though I was alone in the world.

But there was a new element I wasn’t expecting: fireflies. They twinkled on and off all over the pond and throughout the trees. And the words came to me: “I have loved, oh Lord, the beauty of thy house and the place where thy glory dwells.”

I realized what I should have known: the beauty of God’s house is with me always. All I have to do is look, and I will find it.

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