From a More Exalted Sphere

Dear Will:

I think I may have mentioned that I spend a pretty good chunk of my time hanging out with a two-year-old (that would be Seth, our youngest).  Every day, it seems, he finds a new way to charm and delight us.  Partly that’s due to the fact that we are his unabashedly subjective parents.  Partly that’s due to the age, that brief period of life in which a everything a child does seems to sparkle.  But much of what delights us about him is innate—divine, even—the sort of thing we would love to take credit for but cannot possibly.

Each of us has within us a spark of divinity, and that spark seems to burn brightest when we are still but a short time removed from “that God which is our home.”  Wordsworth’s familiar verse comes immediately to mind:

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
That soul that rises with us, our life’s Star
Hath had elsewhere its setting:
And cometh from afar
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

(From: “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”)

That well-loved poem speaks of “Intimations of Immortality,” those ineffable, deep-down hints of our divine heritage.  Although Heaven may indeed lie “all about us in our infancy,” I believe that even as we age we retain within us clues of whence we came.  Another poet put it this way:

For a wise and glorious purpose
Thou hast placed me here on earth
And withheld the recollection
Of my former friends and birth;
Yet oft-times a secret something
Whispered, “You’re a stranger here,”
And I felt that I had wandered
From a more exalted sphere.

(From: “O My Father,” by Eliza R. Snow)

All of which brings to mind the words of my own mother, who never failed to send us out to play with a mandate that echoes in my mind to this day: “Remember who you are.”  Which I offer now as my simple message to you.


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