I visited an American Bavaria this past weekend. After a post-hike feast, some friends and I shuffled satisfied toward the restaurant’s double door. At the table beside the door was a woman with her husband. She had a matcha-green fishing hat fitted as if about to slide down the back of her head. Greyish-blonde hair grazed the edges of her face before bouncing off sure shoulders, head on an axis paralleling the Earth’s. She soft-smiled to me, as if seeing an old friend in a distant memory.

Mid-stride, I returned her smile, adding a nod, and a thought: “That’s a nice person”.

If an image is a thousand words, posture is an instantaneous 90 minute movie. Imagine you come upon a being you know to be a god by posture alone. How is she sitting? Would a god sit on a throne-like Zeus? Or cross-legged like Indra? What posture conveys all-knowing, all-powerful, and at-peace at the same time?

General relativity means there is an entire known universe revolving around you, one of the few sacks of cells that knows it is a sack of cells. Atomic forces keep anything from ever touching you; we are each floating alone in the universe. We move through and manipulate time, slipping in and out of this world each night as we please. Each of us is the center of our own universe; we carry the weight of every world on our shoulders.

Contrarily, we are momentary specks of dust living in an indifferent universe, a place we barely understand and will never see honestly. We are no more important than the trees we cut down for shelter, nor safer than the dinosaurs who ruled this world before us. Life is a blip with little impact on a greater context.

We are nothing, yet we are everything. God’s posture will balance this contradiction with grace, comfortable as the center of the universe and the passing breeze: proud and humble, elegant and welcoming, strong and soft. And though we probably won’t meet a single all-powerful, all-knowing, peaceful being in this life, we will run into virtuous people. I’m left wondering what virtues people see in me at first glance. Hopefully, not only “he’s sitting funny”.

Thanks for taking a sip,

Alejandro Duran

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