I was driving home from work late last year. The traffic was bad, as usual. The heater in my car doesn’t work that well and, needless to say, it was cold. And oh yeah, I had a headache. All in all, I wouldn’t describe my mood as good. It wasn’t a horrible day, so don’t assume I was angry or bitter about life. I just wasn’t “feeling” that Tuesday afternoon, if you know what I mean. But all of that changed when I got hit by what I like to call a Moment of Revelatory Exhilaration. God didn’t audibly speak to me. I didn’t get a vision from heaven. But I did catch a glimpse of something beyond me and my immediate circumstances. Scripture tells us He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men (Ecclesiastes 3:11); I’m sure there are many different ways that verse can be interpreted or explained, but I’m not going to exegete the passage. I know what that verse says to me; God has made everything beautiful in its time and He created humanity with an innate ability to appreciate truth and beauty. He did this so we could and would recognize the Originator of that Truth and Beauty.
So, that gets me back to my Moment of Revelatory Exhilaration, or MORE. (By the way, every time I write that phrase, imagine hearing it as a very loud Alan-Kalter type bellow.) I can’t say I was thinking about anything in particular while I was driving, so I wasn’t exactly searching for anything beautiful, but beauty found me anyway. I had the radio on one of those “We play whatever we want” stations. The volume was low because the song that had been playing wasn’t really doing it for me. So, because of that, I missed the first couple of notes of the next song, U2’s glorious “With or Without You.” Once I realized what song was on, I turned up the volume to a comfortably deafening level. Loud enough to hear Adam Clayton’s overly simple, yet perfectly appropriate bass line, The Edge’s precise guitar work, Bono’s soaring vocals, and Larry Mullen’s rhythmic time-keeping. I can’t even begin to describe the rush of emotions that hit me. I forgot I was cold. I forgot my headache. I forgot the crappy day I had at work. I forgot about the bumper-to-bumper traffic. I simply allowed the song to “minister” to me. I know that sounds preposterous and touchy-feely, but it happened. And I am better for it. I don’t base my theology on this song, even though it probably captures the typical Christian experience better than just about any song on Christian radio any given year. I don’t have to agree with everything an artist is expressing, that is not how it works. I just need to be ready to catch a quick glimpse of eternity that the artist may or may not have even intended.
I experienced MORE the first time I saw Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey hug on the big screen. I got hit over the head with MORE when Stephen Lawhead wrote about Merlin holding Arthur in his arms as their small boat sailed to Avalon. Every time I hear “The River Will Flow” byWhiteheart, my soul swells to touch heaven. (Pardon the hyperbole.) When Pocahontas/Rebecca takes John Rolfe’s hand in The New World, my spirit smiles. I think God smiles too. These Moments of Revelatory Exhilaration are everywhere; we just have to be ready to open up to them. Mind you, the Moments are not just in the arts. It could be a sunset. A friend. Your family. I could go on for pages about the ways my kids help me experience MORE. My point is: We need to cultivate an appreciation for these moments God gives us. There is a fundamental reason we have this ability; it points our eyes to our Creator. If we truly appreciate the beauty and truth we find in our lives, it will only nurture our love and devotion to the Source of that beauty and truth.
Open your eyes and your hearts and experience MORE.
Phill Lytle is a father of 3 and husband of 1, living in Nashville, TN.