A Shining Soul


 I never met Hilary Bruhn, the poet-accountant, a classmate of my wife's during their years together at a Vancouver private school. But I've heard about her for many years. 

 Wendy's often repeated refrain about Hilary Bruhn was that she was exceptionally brilliant. And Wendy used to compete with her for good grades realizing always that it would a rare event to do better. 

 In 1971, Hilary's academic ability was recognized when she received the Governor's General's award as British Columbia's top student.  

 But there was more to Hilary than her brilliance. If it were only that she was 'really smart,' I would not be writing about her.

 Frankly, I would not even have been impacted to have heard the news that yet another 'spiritually incurious' brainiac had died.      

 The reason I am writing is because of Hilary's long term effect upon Wendy, and in particular, the state my wife was in, after the funeral. 

 I liked what I saw in my wife. Calm and radiant, her heart had been 'strangely warmed,' touched on some very deep level. We sat down to talk about it.

 What I heard was that Wendy had been inspired by both Hilary's brilliance and her spirituality.

 And she thought that Hilary's husband had captured the essence of his wife and her way of being in the world when he described her as a 'shining soul.' 

 As unusual as it is to be 'brilliant', it is much rarer to be a 'shining soul.'    

 Wendy wanted me to read a poem of Hilary's. The opening line of the poem has been circulating, mantra-like, through my system for several days now.  "Between our wonder and our wondering is God."

 I find that my mind is compelled to sport with this verse that God is somehow centrally located between my wonder and wondering, that He is somehow situated, between wonder and wondering. 

 Is this saying that God is like a 'bridge' between wonder and wondering?  

 Or that God is like a 'space' between wonder and wondering?

 Or that God is somehow there 'in the 'midst' of wonder and wondering?  

 This emphasis upon God as That which exists 'between' accords with the teaching that states that God is experienced in the space 'between' the breaths we take, and/or that God is experienced in the space 'between' our thoughts.  

 It is this luscious, full, expansive and infinite space that is entered in deep meditation. The great silence is entered. 

  It is the experience of meditators that God is experienced in that space and in a certain sense, is that space. God is infinite space.  

 Hilary knew this experience of God as infinite space, as That which exists between wonder and wondering.

 This shining soul wrote: "Between our wonder and our wondering is God; inward, in the wordless yearning of our visions, and outward, in minds forever sailing after truth.” 

 “More than the fearsome magnificence of the thunder, the fragile etching on the face of each sand dollar, more than the glimmer of light at the edge of time,"

 “More than our frail unknowing as we explore the infinite, braided in hope that whispers of all we hope and long for,"

 “Even so still "is God, the whence and whither of our being."