Some people knew what they wanted to do since high school. They have it all figured out…all planned. I really thought I was one of those people. I mean, I’m a type A personality, planner, organizer and controller of all things possible, but I still find myself at a fork in the road. I can not believe I don’t know what to do with my life. It astounds me.
I only make things harder by constantly compare myself to anyone who has reached some sort of success whether by working hard for it or not. I even find that I am jealous of my husband’s multiple talents and wish he could share a bit of them with me (which he has graciously tried to do per my requests), but my self-doubt and insecurity has prevented me from following any of my dreams. I’m not sure what my dreams are now and I wonder if that would still be the case if I had the confidence, drive and motivation needed for success.
Well, here’s to admitting that I find myself at the place where I so readily judged other for being at. Thankfully, now I can truly sympathize with others in this circumstance. I will be able to relate to and understand my friends, parents and most importantly my kids. My previous framework would have made that impossible. I’m thankful for that and I have hope that I’ll figure it out eventually.
“To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”
“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”
The world is perfectly laced with both beauty and brokenness, though brokenness is often much easier to see. Brokenness demands our attention by inflicting pain, drama and devastation on our lives—making us victims of the world. Sometimes we can’t seem to escape it and other times we are just drawn to it.
Beauty, on the other hand, is silent, peaceful and slow to attract attention. Even the most magnificent sights can go unnoticed in the constant presence of pain. Beauty calls us to look outside ourselves and focus on something or someone else. It fosters compassion, love and unselfishness, while pain calls all attention back on ourselves and how unjust our lives are. Beauty must be sought after and protected, even found in the midst and presence of brokenness itself.
Beauty far exceeds the power and strength of brokenness, even in its quiet demeanor. The problem is not with the power of beauty, but with ourselves. It takes faith, courage and strength to put aside our pain and defense mechanisms and fully embrace the beauty woven all around us.
Coming from a devoted skeptic and conscious cynic—this applies to me most of all.
I have come to realize that I was in an existential crisis for most of my childhood, trapped by my circumstances and completely hopeless. I dreaded nighttime when the world got dark and my fears and worries became more severe. The majority of my life was spent in confusion and disappointment which quickly turned to anger. Being a child was difficult and I couldn’t imagine how much worse it would get as I got older.
The funny thing was—as I got older—the darkness slowly lifted. The new-found freedom I gained allowed me to experience life the way I truly wanted to. I was no longer trapped.
During high school I found Jesus.
And once I got to college, I was still trying to find myself. I dated along the way and came to the conclusion that I wasn’t meant to be happily married: God wanted me to have a different focus while on Earth and I was okay with that. As much as I always wanted that perfect fairy tale romance, it made more sense to just accept the fact that I didn’t deserve it or that it didn’t exist.
It wasn’t long after this realization I met my soul mate and best friend—he is now my husband.
I’m still awestruck by the way my life turned out.
Most people are filled with hope and wonder as children and watch it evaporate one harsh reality after the next. For me I realize things were completely different.
“I learned that nothing kills a conversation faster than the attitude ‘everyone is entitled to his own opinion.’ I used to think it was polite, but now I think it’s really rude, because it means we don’t take others seriously enough to think about what they are saying.
—High School Student (Read entire article here)
This sentiment of relativism has pervaded our society in the most unproductive ways. It is viewed as a sign of respect that most people assume for their differences in beliefs, but the result is that we no longer have a reason to talk to each other. If everything is based on opinion and perception, there is no basis on which we can agree on anything. So while we are in a sense ‘respecting’ each other, we are also denying each other the opportunity to voice their belief and the respect to be challenged by it. More importantly, we no longer believe in anything enough to fight for it.
G.K Chesterton said, “The modern habit of saying ‘This is my opinion, but I may be wrong’ is entirely irrational. If I say that it may be wrong, I say that is not my opinion. The modern habit of saying ‘Every man has a different philosophy; this is my philosophy and it suits me’ – the habit of saying this is mere weak-mindedness. A cosmic philosophy is not constructed to fit a man; a cosmic philosophy is constructed to fit a cosmos. A man can no more possess a private religion than he can possess a private sun and moon.”
Subjectivity is an intrinsic part of our world—we all see the world through our experiences and the mental capacity that we were born with. Our experiences are personal, though I believe there can still be an overarching objective truth that governs everything. One objective structure or idea that is intertwined into everything we know, see, feel and think.
With all of that being said, the presence of objectivity does not equal the absence of subjectivity. I’m simply suggesting that objectivity exists, although I can’t prove it.
“A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon… It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
Man is born with something beautiful and precious—an innocence and wonder of the world that connects us intimately with our Heavenly Father—which slips away the more we become inhabitants of this world rather than curious sojourners.
Throughout history, it has been assumed that children have not learned or experienced enough to judge the world accurately. This stigma is slowly softening because people are beginning to realize the wonders that can be learned from children. They were born with these wonders and will slowly lose them unless they hang on tightly and remember. But as adults who have forgotten of the wonders that were instilled in us from infancy, we have a portal of access through children. Thoreau said:
“I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born.”
The sight of the first snowfall.
The first feeling of the warmth of spring.
The experience and sound of an “anthemic” song.
The smell of a campfire through the car window.
The sound of the radio.
Some moments may still trigger this infancy of incredibility for adults—infinitely more if we pay attention and look for them.
I am going somewhere…
Whereabouts unknown, harmonious melodies through the mode.
Time—an obscure illusion, progression guided by the road.
Conscious of flighty impulsiveness, all comes to a head.
Memories dance around the occasion, skin glistening with dread.
Transience emanates, friction of tires and pavement wears and deteriorates.
Movement maintains, resignation arises when peace finally validates.
Until then, I am going somewhere…
Some people say that hope is better than the alternative, even if means sacrificing truth. They say that it is a way to get us to the end of our journey better than if we got there in pain and distress. If there was nothing in this world to have hope in, than false hope could possibly be a valid answer to solve this problem of living…although I am not willing to accept that. My hope is in something I would be willing to die for and even more, something I am certainly willing to live for. Although I disagree, Friedrich Nietzsche was willing to accept the hard truth over ignorance:
“Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.”
“Some of my pleasantest hours were during the long rain-storms…soothed by their ceaseless roar and pelting; when an early twilight ushered in a long evening in which many thoughts had time to take root and unfold themselves.”
As I sit here listening to the glorious sound of the rain pounding against the ground, watching as it gathers in a puddle and runs down the slope of the driveway and makes its way into a stream by the road, and smell the dampness of the breeze that flows through my window—I am at peace.
“Whichever he adopts, you main task will be the same. Let him begin by treating the Patriotism or the Pacifism as a part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the “cause”, where Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce in favor of the British war-effort or of Pacifism. The attitude which you want to guard against is that in which temporal affairs are treated primarily as material for obedience. Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing.”
Human weakness is the main theme addressed in the above quote, (for those who have never experienced The Screwtape Letters before). We are so focused on these minute details in life and want to fight for them as if they are our religion. We establish our religious beliefs by first evaluating them against the standards of our already determined political beliefs. This is not just true of Christians or other religious believers, this concept of the “cause” as C.S. Lewis mentions, is the cause of much unnecessary hatred among all people.
We live in a world where morality is confusing and all the lines are blurred. Instead of accepting this, we try and establish a road map of our world and begin highlighting all the roads we need to avoid. We then put all of our focus on why we are avoiding these roads and traveling on the others. We love the law and find comfort in it because it gives us rules to follow, but it only traps us by giving us a false sense of security in achieving righteousness or perfection.
Living it not so much about avoiding roads as it is just driving conscientiously. Freedom comes when we recognize that only Christ can help us navigate them—our deliberate persistence and arrogance in believing we can figure it out on our own only creates more road blocks.