Alice in Texas

Not writing here anymore- see top post for details of my new blogs.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

bigger pictures

When we lose a great battle which we still believe in, it seems incomprehensible that any good can ever come of it. Even if somehow things might one day get back to where they should have been- and sometimes reality makes this impossible- the loss can never be made good. The time and effort it took to recover cannot be recovered. The learning we gain from dealing with the problems thrown up by the experience will never be equal to the loss. We are not merely mourning what has gone, but the fact that it was taken away. We don't want the world to be the kind of place where this can happen. We want justice to be real, not arbitrary. So at exactly the time we have to struggle for survival in the face of our real personal loss, we also find ourselves without the old sustaining laws we used to believe in. Nothing makes sense anymore. Anything can happen. There are no limits, no expectations, there is nothing to rely on.

This is when faith becomes a necessity instead of a happy luxury. Some people call it opimism, and think that meaning is hidden in the molecules of the universe, and other people call it G-d. But when nothing makes sense any more, we still have hope. When we reach the end of the road we are on at the moment, and can look back, there is a chance that the journey itself will finally make some sense. How much of a chance depends how much faith you have; not because people delude themselves to whatever level they choose, though sometimes one might wish to be able to do that, but because faith is the energy that gets you down the road.

There are many things happening at the moment which I do not understand. But knowing the limitedness of our current understanding is exactly what provides hope for the future. Given how much we do not know, there is every chance that a bigger picture that makes sense of things exists, beyond what we can see right now. And there is every chance that we can learn to see that picture, that it will ultimately emerge from the individual marks we make in the sand each day.


At 1:34 PM, Blogger gcotharn said...

I've been thinking a lot lately about how G-d is too great for us to fathom. We can only sense a bit of G-d - we can never grasp his entirety.

And I've been thinking that making right choices, and good living - G-dly living - is like pulling on a natural skin which works beautifully for us in our lives. And making wrong choices -sinning -is like deceiving ourselves into pulling on a false skin. We want to believe the false skin will allow for fun and pleasure, but it will actually create all types of unfun problems and pain in our future.

And I think sinning is G-d's invitation to know him better. We can never completely know him, but we can know him better than we do now - which would open our eyes wider to the pain, suffering, discomfort, and problems we create for ourselves through poor choices and sinning.

At the inception of their training, the U.S. Navy Seals have a hell-week which is generally designed to run off every single trainee who can be run off. The trainees ring a bell when they are ready to resign from the Navy Seals, and then they are given hot showers, good meals, and warm beds. The trainers say to make it through the hell-week, a trainee must come to a realization that he prefers the hell-week activities over the shower, the meal, and the warm bed.

In a similar fashion, I think G-d wants us to consistently realize that we prefer good choices and
virtuous living over the alternative.

Sometimes pain, suffering, and problems happen due to circumstances we do not control. I think this is also G-d's invitation to know him better. When the suffering is greatest, we bond with G-d in the most raw, desperate, primal fashion. In those moments, we know more of G-d than we knew before.

Anyway, that's what I've been thinking about lately.


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