I awoke this morning in a melancholy mood thinking about the cares that beset any human under the sun, the daily reminders of our limitations, the not (never?) having enough time, energy, or money (or any two or all three), in the face of our desires and needs, to complete, compete, or compensate.
Then I pushed beyond my personal, largely small cares, thinking about greater current woes of the world. Among them:
- The horrific destruction of hearth and health and hope wrought by the winds and waves of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the tectonic tumult of earthquakes; turning verdant lands barren, bringing darkness, save for still-shining stars, to what seem endless nights, cancelling the coming day for the final closing of the eyes of the dying, and
- The dread specter of rising, billowing nuclear clouds, and
- The social, cultural unrest of an America stirred by the symbols of flags, anthems, and statues, and actions, whether to stand and salute or lock arms and kneel.
Then pulling back from these painful thoughts, as I oft do, I meditated on mystery – not a riddle to be resolved by human reason, but rather the reality of all things beyond human power to control, perhaps even human ability to understand and, thus, to amend.
My meditations provoked, as they always do, questions. Among them:
- Why do, must people suffer?
- Why, after centuries of observing and studying the futility of war to resolve disputes, do we, as peoples and nations, continue to lust for combat and long for conquest; the latter, given the superior and spreading nuclear capacity to destroy both enemy and self, being a fool’s goal?
- Why, despite our best ambitions toward equality, do we continue to separate ourselves along lines, some invisible, yet all seemingly inerasable, of race and class, culture and clan, party and perspective; resulting in our apparent inability and unwillingness to acknowledge the existence of another point of view?
- Why, long recognizing the incontestable truth that we occupy one planet (notwithstanding the dreams of lunar and Martian colonization) and that we form a global community of inseparable, interlocking interests, do we remain blinded by our prejudices, refusing to see the common humanity that we all irrefutably share?
Underneath these realities, as I behold them, lies unfathomable mystery. Understanding so little, I cannot answer my questions. One thing I do know. I cannot end suffering, war, inequality, prejudice, and a legion of human ills. However, as a person of faith, I can and do pledge to repent, daily, praying the Holy Spirit to make me more conscious of my:
- time, energy, and money and how to use what I do have to serve, to share with my sisters and brothers of greater need;
- anger, oft rooted in my sense of an affront to my personal honor and how to channel its virulent energy toward efforts to make peace with others and myself;
- individuality of self and my commonality with all, so that in acknowledging the former I never disavow the latter;
- biases and how to peer more deeply into the eyes of “the other” and mine own to behold our common God-given image.
I am not sure how this does, can, or will work. For I perceive it as mystery. By faith, I shall trust God, the greatest Mystery, to bring it to pass.