Curio’s wings quivered, feathered plumes dancing from the inside out, shimmying and shimmering in the bright light before class. All of the students were excited, shimmying and shimmering. Even the voices of her fellow angels moved, rising and falling, engaged in pre-class conversation, weaving music into the atmosphere. She could make out words and phrases: holy and mystery, glory and praise. She heard: in the beginning; she heard spirit of God; she heard darkness and she heard light. Curio simply couldn’t sit still any longer. The class syllabus said I AM. Today was the day. She had been looking forward to this class forever, for eons, for since always. No, it was more than those, more than stretches of time. More than what had been, than what was, than what was to be. She had been looking forward to this class for the entire span of her memory. For eternity.
The teacher’s entrance quieted the room, leaving only the murmur of journals opening and quills readying. He walked slowly, in his patient way, robes brushing the desks as he passed. Curio listened to the gentle slap of his sandals as he made his way to the front. She remembered the scars in his feet.
“What is eternity?” His eyes found hers and Curio knew that he was reading her mind. How did he always know her thinking? She watched him write, as he sometimes did, in the air, with his hand. And the word Eternity came to life before them, slowly spinning, entwining light and color into a moving sculpture of ethereal beauty. The class sighed in appreciation.
“Eternity is not like a river of time.” He stood contemplating that spinning word, winding on itself, shuffling, changing shape and color.
“It is not a point. It is not a place. It cannot be encompassed, or held. It cannot be kissed or caressed.” His voice was as gentle as the creases in his face. As soft as the scars on his brow. The word expanded and took on substance, yet it remained weightless like flame on a candle.
Her friend, Destiny, reached, stretching to touch the letters. And the word danced away from her finger, and resumed its spinning on the tip of Curio’s poised quill. Curio turned to Wonder, giggling at the unexpected visit. Holding her quill up, she stood to show the class. Again, the collective sigh, like a breeze, drifted through the room.
.........Y..... H.....W..... H........
Whisper soft, the un-word sliced through the sigh, cutting the breeze like lightening. It was a breath; it was a rumble; it was quiet thunder. It surrounded the room, enfolding and comforting; it was peace and it was strength. It was mystery. It was eternity.
Curio opened eyes she hadn’t closed. A sense of loss filled her heart. A sense of yearning, of wanting to become, to be, to live in that breath. The moment was gone, as was the word from the tip of her quill.
She looked to the Master, knowing that he had taken the word. He winked at her.
Then he drew his hand across the void again. “Eternity is to time, as infinity is to space,” he explained. He had placed a new device in the space above the class. It, too, spun and shimmered like a gossamer thread, looping upon itself once, then twice. Never-ending, never beginning. Created from the tip of his finger.
......... Y..... H.....W..... H........
This time, the un-word became – Curio felt the touch of it, like the brush of a kiss. She heard voice, a voice of promise, a voice of love, a voice of hope. Her teacher raised his arms, embraced by the voice, sleeves falling, draping at his elbows, more scars visible crisscrossing his limbs. And she could see the symbol, the symbol of infinity through the holes in his hands.
Time and space. In his hands. Through his hands. Around and in and through. Ever present. There was no loss. There was no lonely. Because her teacher had paid. He had redeemed. Forever and always. Curio’s tears slid from her face, wetting the parchment of the journal before her. It was enough.
Because she knew the rest. She knew the cost. How her teacher had suffered. She saw the undeserved scars proclaiming undeserved pain. She remembered how he had died. She heard his words with new ears. Father, into thy hands, I commend my spirit. Into the hands that held eternity. Into the arms of infinity. Into his father's hands. And now she knew this face of God. The infinite. The eternal. The great I Am. She knew that YHWH and her teacher were one and the same.
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.