young adult life crisis

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.”

 

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searching for beauty

 “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.

on knowing

“We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.”

who the hell knows

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;”

I got into a very interesting conversation with a friend on the topic of all things unknowable. It came at the right time, as I am attempting to read some of my husbands articles on Michael Polanyi, whom of which his thesis is focused on. Polanyi was a philosopher who dealt mainly in answering the question: how do we know anything? One of the things our conversation ended on–which I would like to try and flesh out more–was on the topic of hell.

Most people can agree that hell is a place of punishment, but I think that it gets a little more blurry when we try and lay out the ground rules for who is deserving of hell and why. He shared an interesting perspective to this question which suggested that those deserving of punishment are those who have broken the social/moral/ethical norms of their culture. Each person is different, just as each culture is different. There is no right and wrong–only abiding by your culture as it changes and adapts.

I tried to have him expound on this idea further in instances of what we may feel is socially acceptable but could be just disgraceful, possibly in the eyes of God. For example, capitalism is socially acceptable in American culture, it is even encouraged. What happens when the effects of capitalism drive people into poverty for the sake of a business expanding, or others may see as selfishness. We accept it and certainly do not frown upon it as a culture, but we see the effects it causes first hand and just wonder… He responded by saying that everyone has their limits as individuals, much like cultural norms, we should abide by our own personal norms as well.

Where does forgiveness come into play? We did not have time to thoroughly flesh out this discussion, but I want to raise this question in a general sense. Is forgiveness some arbitrary idea that makes us feel better for the time we are on this earth but doesn’t really take away any of our overall responsibilities as a human?

I think there is a desire in humans for justice to be served for those who have done the unspeakable–but what if it was us who have done the unspeakable? Would we be so quick in offering ourselves as sacrifices for the the sake of justice? It’s quite possible that many of us would if we believed that death alone or prison on Earth was the punishment, but what if we believed in an eternal life after this one? What would our idea of justice be then? In that case, I tend to think that we would fall to our feet asking for mercy.

What do you think?

the infancy of incredibility

“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.

weather it makes you happy or not…

“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.

when life gives you lemons

“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.

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the progression of regression

A commentary on achievement and progress:

“Man has invented, not only houses, but clothes and cooked food; and possibly from the accidental discovery of the warmth of fire, and the consequent use of it, at first a luxury, arose the present necessity to sit by it.”

At the beginning of civilization, man was fully capable of sustaining his life by his own hands. The progression of civilization and the development of new technologies allowed for more immediate and efficient ways of providing those necessities. Since then we have created more than we ever thought would be humanly possible—men who were once bound to the ground are no longer and soon we may discover how to travel through time.

It would seem that the more we accomplish and the more we understand about the world, the stronger we should become and more powerful we should be. But God has made a way of keeping us perfectly dependent on the things we create so that we remain in our humbly intended place. With all of our creations, life becomes easier but our dependencies become greater. Our constant achievements are deceiving in comparison to all that we have lost in the process.

This is not a negative commentary on the state of humanity, it is a hopeful recognition that we can find solace in our weakness.

“Put them in fear, O Lord; let the nations know that they are but men.”