In an astonishing memoir, composed through 200,000 blinks of an eye, Jean Dominique Bauby communicates through his 'locked in syndrome’. He acquired the condition in his forties after a devastating stroke left him physically paralysed apart from his left eyelid, while his inner life and thinking - his mental faculties - were intact.
His body had in an instant become as inflexible, immobile and constricted as an old fashioned deep sea diving suit with its brass helmet, but his spirit or essence within was alive and as free as a butterfly.
Reflecting on his book, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly", in a bit of a 'wow' moment it shocked me to think that it must have been a bit like "locked in syndrome" for Jesus to take on human form - restricted in physical form, to one time and space, to human language, one set of eyes and so on. To be enveloped in such a restricted body when, after all, you are the Almighty God sounds unthinkable, unbearable… and yet for a little while he was made lower than the angels. It takes my breath away.
I do so honestly know what it is to be human - to be at times soaring in the joy of life, yet, at other times, wondering who I am and what life is all about. I know what it is to revel in art and music and books, but also to grind through the drudgery of some never ending days; to feel joyfully empowered, and yet to be hopelessly deflated.
What I cannot imagine is what it was like for you, even for a little while, to become human like me. Yet you, the Lord of heaven and earth, humbled yourself for me and the whole human family. Quite simply - thank you!
5 God has not placed the angels as rulers over the new world to come—the world of which we speak. 6 Instead, as it is said somewhere in the Scriptures:
“What are human beings, O God, that you should think of them;
mere human beings, that you should care for them?
7 You made them for a little while lower than the angels;
you crowned them with glory and honor,
8 and made them rulers over all things.”
It says that God made them “rulers over all things”; this clearly includes everything. We do not, however, see human beings ruling over all things now. 9 But we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, so that through God's grace he should die for everyone. We see him now crowned with glory and honor because of the death he suffered. 10 It was only right that God, who creates and preserves all things, should make Jesus perfect through suffering, in order to bring many children to share his glory. For Jesus is the one who leads them to salvation.
11 He purifies people from their sins, and both he and those who are made pure all have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his family. 12 He says to God,
“I will tell my people what you have done;
I will praise you in their meeting.”