We all have bad things happen to us in life. When that happens some of dig deeper into a relationship with God. Some of us just let God go. They can’t believe that a loving, caring God could let bad things happen. Some are very angry at God and doubt his existence. This is a ‘both and” (see below) in that if you don’t believe in God how can you be angry at him?
I can understand this as the problem of terrorism, murder, rape, and other acts of violence do make us ask questions. This question has been kicked about in major theological circle for centuries. Some thinkers have tried to explain it but I don’t think that anyone has ever done it.
There are some things that we will never understand. I don’t know that I want a God who can be totally explained by someone. God is so very far beyond our very small minds. I don’t have any problem understanding that.
To accept this God we sometimes have to accept two things that are opposite each other but both are true. For me this is called both and. It can be called an oxymoron and there are some simple examples of this such as “found missing’ or “alone together.” We don’t have any problem with those but the problem of a loving God who allows pain is difficult to swallow.
I can’t explain it. For some reason I don’t feel that I have to…at least not to shore up my faith.
“Until you dig deep you only know a small part of the human heart.” Another quote from “Tea Time for the Traditionally Built” By Alexander McCall Smith. His books about Botswana have much wisdom in them.
We can’t know everyone really well. It’s not possible. In most cases we don’t even try to. We only see the outside…the piece that people show to us. Too often we all are wearing masks and don’t want to let anyone in. It is difficult to get beyond the mask. Sometimes we can’t.
Sometimes there are people who drive us crazy…people who get on our last nerve. We can hardly bear to be around them. Then someone tells us that they spend all their time caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s. And lo! we realize that the person who seemed so awful to us was too stressed, anxious and tired to be nice.
We had to dig deep to find out what it is like where the heart lives. We have to be willing to be the caring person. We have to open ourselves to the idea that there may be something in their life to explain how they act.
I have met a lot of people in my life. Some of them I never wanted to see again. I may have been right about some but I also may have been wrong. I didn’t take the time to find out. I hope someone else did.
Today I read my daily meditation from Richard Rohr. In it he said “At their immature levels, religions can be obsessed with the differences that make them better or more right than others.”
I have found this to be true in my own life. As I have said before I was raised Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran and Baptist. It didn’t take me long to decide that since each one was a little different in perspective that none of them could be completely right. I honor that eclectic background as it made me have lots of questions and be open to differing answers.
I hope I don’t offend anyone with this story but it was something that gave me pause as a child.
I attended a Baptist church with my best friend off and on. Each week they had an altar call and people went to the front rail to profess their belief and “be saved.” After a while I noticed that there were some people who went to the rail each week. This raised the question for me “can you be saved more than once and what exactly does it mean?” I must have been about ten or eleven when I was struck by this.
Other incidents in the various churches brought questions to my mind and formed my early theology. It made me very clear on one point. There is a lot more that connects us than divides us. We often make a big fuss about the differences and forget that as we are all Christian we should be united under the same God.
To take this thought one step further in college I had the opportunity to study other religions in depth and I found that some of them accepted the same deep principles that my faith has. Again I was broadened by the idea.
I wish that we could all concentrate on the things that make us alike instead of the things that separate us. I wish that each faith and denomination could see the big picture instead of the tiny details. Our world would be so much better.
Families are wonderful and terrible things. When we are connected to others life is not always smooth. I am a fixer. I always want to solve problems, smooth over disagreements and mend hurt feelings. I said I want to. That doesn’t mean that I always can and sometimes even trying can make things worse.
This past week I did just that. I had a personal melt down. It upset my husband who upset other parts of our family. For a change it started with me. I am consumed with guilt and pain for having an emotional crisis and setting off fireworks. The truth is life happens.
My age puts me at the top of the pyramid. I realized that after the loss of my father, mother and all older family. When you get to be the oldest generation you are stuck with results of that position.
I have noticed that at times my family members show signs of expecting my husband and I to sink into senility. I can sense the anxiety about future plans forming in their heads. What will happen to mom and dad?
It’s funny and sometimes upsetting to be where we are. My melt down had nothing to do with this but I think that changing family roles is another change to add to my list. Maybe it just all fused into one bomb. I know that I will be pariah for a while and have made abject apologies to those I upset. Life goes on.
Each day is precious. Don’t let the bad days color all the rest. We all make mistakes and will have to take responsibility for our actions and then move one.
The sun will rise tomorrow, God willing, and so will I.
We tend to think that we have little impact on the world around us. Do we matter at all? Is what we do significant? To answer these questions I say that I believe in the “butterfly effect.” If you have never heard that phrase it means that every action of everything in the world has an effect on the rest of the world.
That means that my choices have great significance. The choice may just be getting up in the morning but somehow this will make a difference. This fits in nicely with science that says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. I do understand this but this is not where I am going exactly.
This week I have been writing about the importance of each of our lives. It is so easy to be down on ourselves and not be able to see that we have any impact in the world. It is not true. Everything matters. Everyone matters. Whether you believe in a god or not I’m sure that you believe that each of us is unique. There will never be another duplicate. Even if cloned the person’s experience will not be the same creating a different person altogether.
This reminds us again that we are important. If we share our insights…the things we have learned from our own particular experiences we will make a difference in the world.
Understand you are important…no matter your flaws or problems. You matter to the world!
I am at the age where so many milestones are behind me…..the events that make up our dreams and ideas when we are young. I have been to college (two different degrees). married at a wonderful wedding, given birth to three children, have 6 grandchildren and 1 great grand child. I have worked at several jobs…some fulfilling and great and some not. So, I ask myself what is the next milestone? It could be a depressing thought if you felt that there was nothing left to aim for. We all need something for a focus.
I really hadn’t thought about it but I realize that I am not depressed by the thought. In many ways it is satisfying to see so much positive behind me. I also do not feel that I am finished. This is the time of life when I have the time and, thanks be to God, the energy to look at these years as the time to give back. Our culture spends little time thinking about the wisdom gained through experience. I have written about this before but I think it is important enough to mention again.
We are here…those of us who have lived through many battles. We have the scars to prove it and the knowledge to teach others. We can show you how to fight and make it through so many trials. Why struggle when you can tap the resources in the wisdom of your elders? Maybe technology is something that some of us are less savvy about but the ups and downs of life change very little no matter the changes in how it comes about.
Many of us continue to learn ourselves and advance our own knowledge. Not all of us sit in a recliner and watch TV. We are out in the world sharing where we can. Take advantage of the wisdom available to you. We are not dead yet!
I am here if my experiences can be helpful. Believe me I have just about heard it all. I am a nurse, patient advocate, compassionate, loving person with a heart for listening. There are others like me who will understand and listen. Use us.
Today, as usual, I was doing yard work. Maintaining the flower beds is an enormous job and it’s all mine. My husband takes care of the grass. The property was initially bought by my grandparents and left to me. It is on a tidal creek and we can swim from the dock. We allow some neighbors to use the dock with their son. They use paddle boards and have lots of fun.
As they were on the way to the dock today they passed me, sweat soaked, red faced, and dead tired. A while back my husband and I lived in their house. I commented “when I lived in your house I had fun! Now all I do is work in the yard.” It really hit me. I spoke the truth. I don’t swim off the dock…sit out and watch the water or just relax in the hammock. I just go out and do yard work.
I can’t afford to pay someone else to do the work as with a big space it would be very costly. So what do I do? Several times I have written about choosing how much you set for yourself to do but I am not doing it myself. My mother always said that the things you didn’t do would still be there when you got back from doing something fun. She was good at creating a balance.
Somehow I have to find that balance. I am tired and missing out on fun choices. Feeling pressured to work all the time is not the right thing. Life is too short for that. Balance is critical to wholeness and health.