But faith is made of wonder, which is expansive, extravagant, exuberant, grandiose possibility. Wonder wears down and breaks open all shells. When the shell of your body finally opens, it is wonder that will carry you out of this life. Belief always shrinks and excludes, as a cup can only hold a certain amount of liquid. Wonder flows in and out of all cups.
All arguments – between people, groups, and even between the voices inside you - are made of this: someone's shell is having pressure exerted on it by wonder. Belief has one motto: never surrender the shell.
Wonder comes like water wearing down stones, like wind wearing down mountains, like love wearing away fear. The devout run frantically from crack to crack slapping fresh mortar in, cursing the waters. Belief is glued together by fear. Sometimes wonder comes like lava erupting from the primal womb of the Mother Earth, which carries in her belly the seed of the father sun, and together they send the river of wonder up and out to build the new shape of things. The more devoted you are to belief, the more life will need to crack you open to be fed by wonder.
We tell you: You’ve been taught to believe that life is random chance, and even a mistake; that there’s little chance of life arising anywhere, including here. Look around, they say, with their telescopes - no life anywhere but here. They tell you you are spinning on a lonely rock afloat in a lonely sea. Whether you take that story as a recipe for meaninglessness, or as a great blessing, or as polish for your arrogance, you’re living inside the shell of "the great mistake."
But that story doesn’t see the space between stars as alive, nor the space between people as song; nor silence as music. That story doesn’t see the motion of the weaver's hands as a part of the weaving.
Once, a great teacher said, “Watch out for all those earth rocks, because each one is groaning to produce new life.”
And each moment, wonder continues slicing the seams in your pocket. Each moment the flowing water wears down the rock’s belief in its immovability. You complain about being wet and about having to carry your coins in your hand.
The prophets always come to break the shell of belief placed around the people by the king whose only interest is in dull-witted workers in his fields. The professional shell polishers see the devil everywhere and enlist soldiers with the promise of food and medals.
And yet, every spring, the crocus blossoms appear, as they were always going to do. Every summer the lilies dance, as they were always going to do. Every fall, the apples emerge from the apple tree, as they were always going to do. And if there are no more apples, and if there are no more lilies or crocus, the rocks will groan with other life you cannot yet imagine, fed by the seed of the sun inside the mother's molten earth womb.
In the alive space woven in-between all things, a great star shines, bathing you in colorful shapes that work their way into the hinges on the thousand doors of your shell. If you are lucky, you'll give up trying to stop the hinges from bursting while you're still alive.
As the apple tree was always going to bring the apples, so you were always going to be sweetened by wonder. This earth was always going to be alive, and you were always going to be here, a glint inside the dew drop, a sound of water pouring over rocks, a heart beating with its warm drum song of praise.