God works in mysterious ways. But what does that really mean? Like, is He/She/They some incredibly powerful warlock? A Jedi master of Yoda-level abilities? A mutant with powers like Jean Grey? A superhero like Wonder Woman/Batman/Prof. X? An uber-Pope? Moses on steroids?
I read a fascinating article the other day about how loads of people in Iceland ‘believe’ in “hidden people,” that we would probably call elves. Part of me wants to just immediately disregard this as silly. But I do believe in miracles. Whatever those are. Like I believe in the power of God to do all sorts of things that seem impossible. I believe that Christ healed the sick, made the blind see, turned water into wine and even walked on water. And if I believe that, is believing in “hidden people” really that crazy? I mean, a part of me really wants to believe in that sort of stuff as much as I laugh and mock it, part of me is really drawn to the real-life existence of the supernatural.
In one of my first blog posts about reconciling the pragmatic and supernatural, I wrote:
“Perhaps, I simply wish that the supernatural was more prevalent in our lives, so I could be a Jedi/wizard/mutant/superhero.”
And maybe that’s it. I’ve been thinking about the magic of Star Wars with the release of the latest trailer (it looks SOOOOO GOOD. I keep trying to tone down my excitement and I can’t. I just can’t). Out of all the fantasy/sci-fi/fictional worlds that I love and enjoy the one that I would choose to be a part of is Star Wars. Why you ask? One word: Lightsabers. I’ve wanted a lightsaber for as long as I can remember. And it’s the deciding factor in any “Jedi or wizard?” hypothetical discussions. I just ache for the Force/magic/superpowers to be real.
It sounds childish and a bit like I’m stuck in Neverland refusing to grow up (BANGARANG! Ok, maybe there’s some truth to that…), but I think there’s a thread of Mormonism that insists on a close relationship with the spiritual reality that surrounds us. The same thread that draws on the miracles of ancient scripture and emphatically asserts that miracles will not cease until God or all faith in Him/Her/Them ceases. I have faith (and if a believing/doubting skeptic like myself can have faith then there’s gotta be loads of it floating around). So, there’s got to be miracles.
Perhaps miracles don’t require the sort of magic/supernatural element that I crave, but I think at least some do. And we have oodles of stories and folklore throughout Mormondom that center on magical elements (anything with the Three Nephites, possessions and casting out demons, uninjured passengers during wrecks, physical protection while wearing garments, healed from sickness or injury, etc.). My first response to these sorts of stories is usually to roll my eyes. It just seems so antithetical to most of my experience and knowledge. I mean, what distinguishes these stories from most ghost/UFO/Bigfoot encounters? They seem to typically be in a similar sort of vein. Those that experience them are insistent on their interpretation, but it just seems…crazy?
Yet…I have experienced a connection to the divine that is definitely supernatural. It feels different than anything else I’ve felt—an overwhelming sense of love and comfort and pure goodness. I haven’t seen angels come swooping into the outfield or clearly dead people rise and pop bullets out of their head as they return to life (you know, like Wolverine). I haven’t seen the Three Nephites (at least that I know of…). I’ve never encountered a devil, but I have felt inexplicable darkness in certain places and interacting with certain people. Again, a darkness that exists outside of me and I am bumping up against. What is that? Hell if I know. What I do believe is that there is a reality beyond what I can see. There is more to the world than just what surrounds me, at least visibly. I believe that we are surrounded by something. People? Souls? Spirits? Aliens? I don’t know. It sounds crazy, but why? Why is it any more crazy to believe than God living out in space near some star called Kolob? A God that sent His/Her/Their Only Begotten Son to live on Earth, so that he could suffer the sins/pains/torments/anguish of every single person that had lived, was living, and would live on Earth? Or that dunking someone in a pool of water functions as a sort of rebirth? I can’t say that it is.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m just stuck in a fantasy world and desperately want it to be real so I’m forcing comparisons that shouldn’t be made. Maybe everything is just part of science that I don’t understand yet—God science. Maybe the spiritual reality doesn’t manifest itself in supernatural ways, but just kind of is. Maybe I’m just as crazy as those dudes on the History channel UFO specials.
But I believe. Or at least, I want to believe. I long for that sense of magic and wonder that I feel reading/watching/imagining Harry Potter, Star Wars, X-Men, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc. to be a part of my lived experience. I’ve felt it. More than once. It’s out there. Divine love. Grace. Angels? Who knows. What I’ve felt is beyond description. It exists outside the ‘natural’ world. It’s a kind of magic.