Tuesday, February 23, 2010

letters to escape

"Please write again soon. Though my own life is filled with activity, letters encourage momentary escape into others lives and I come back to my own with greater contentment."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Where there's tragedy there's the question of God

I have no idea what to say.  Harold Kushner wrote a book that I've always wanted to read, but never have. It brings the only reconciliation I can think of that's still respectful of the pain. I may be headed to the bookstore.

Excerpts from When Bad Things Happen to Good People:

“More than that, we can recognize our anger at life's unfairness, our instinctive compassion at seeing people suffer, as coming from God who teaches us to be angry at injustice and to feel compassion for the afflicted. Instead of feeling that we are opposed to God, we can feel that our indignation is God's anger at unfairness working through us, that when we cry out, we are still on God's side, and He is still on ours."

"The world is mostly an orderly, predictable place, showing ample evidence of God's thoroughness and handiwork, but pockets of chaos remain. Most of the time, the events of the universe follow firm natural laws. But every now and then, things happen not contrary to those laws of nature but outside them. Things happen which could just as easily have happened differently."

"An engine bolt breaks on flight 205 instead of on flight 209, inflicting tragedy on one random group of families rather than another. There is no message in all of that. There is no reason for those particular people to be afflicted rather than others. These events do not reflect God's choices. They happen at random, and randomness is another name for chaos,”

"A system left to itself may evolve in the direction of randomness [as thermodynamics says]. On the other hand, our world may not be a system left to itself. There may in fact be a creative impulse acting on it, the Spirit of God hovering over the dark waters, operating over the course of millennia to bring order out of the chaos. It may yet come to pass that, as 'Friday afternoon' of the world's evolution ticks toward the Great Sabbath which is the End of Days, the impact of random evil will be diminished. Or it may be that God finished His work of creating eons ago, and left the rest to us. … In that case, we will simply have to learn to live with it, sustained and comforted by the knowledge that the earthquake and the accident, like the murder and the robbery, are not the will of God, but represent that aspect of reality which stands independent of His will, and which angers and saddens God even as it angers and saddens us."

"Nature is morally blind, without values. It churns along, following its own laws, not caring who or what gets in the way. But God is not morally blind. I could not worship Him if I thought He was. God stands for justice, for fairness, for compassion. For me, the earthquake is not an 'act of God.' The act of God is the courage of people to rebuild their lives after the earthquake, and the rush of others to help them in whatever way they can."

"I think there is more to the story [of Adam and Eve] than a simple case of disobeying God and being punished for it. My interpretation may be very different from the ones you have grown up with, but I think it makes sense and fits the biblical context. I think the story is about the differences between being human and being an animal. And the key to understanding it is the fact that the 'forbidden' tree is called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil."

"This, then is what happened to Adam and Eve. They became human. They had to leave the Garden of Eden, where animals eat from the Tree of Life, the tree of basic life-forces and instincts. They entered the world of the knowledge of good and evil, a more painful, more complicated world, where they would have to make difficult moral choices."

"This is what it means to be human 'in the image of God.' It means being free to make choices instead of doing whatever our instincts would tell us to do. It means knowing that some choices are good, and others are bad, and it is our job to know the difference…. But if Man is truly free to choose, if he can show himself as being virtuous by freely choosing the good when the bad is equally possible, then he has to be free to choose the bad also. If he were only free to do good, he would not really be choosing. If we are bound to do good, then we are not free tochoose it."

"Why, then, do bad things happen to good people? One reason is that our being human leaves us free to hurt each other, and God can't stop us without taking away the freedom that makes us human. Human beings can cheat each other, rob each other, hurt each other, and God can only look down in pity and compassion at how little we have learned over the ages about how human beings should behave."

"When people ask 'Where was God in Auschwitz? How could he have allowed the Nazis to kill so many innocent men, women, and children?', my response is that it was not God who caused it. It was caused by human beings choosing to be cruel to their fellow man."

"I have to believe that the Holocaust was at least as much of an offense to God's moral order as it is to mine, or how can I respect God as a source of moral guidance? … I have to believe that the tears and prayers of the victims aroused God's compassion, but having given Man freedom to choose, including the freedom to choose to hurt his neighbor, there was nothing God could do to prevent it."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lilies Ahead

I just want to help and I don't think I am and I don't think I'm doing a good job. This isn't about me and I don't want it to be, I'm not strong enough to be this selfless. My intentions are good, but my actions don't feel right. Can everything just go back to normal, back to two months ago? I don't know how to comfort you when you only turn away and I don't know how to ignore my thoughts. You deserve more, you deserve better and that's what breaks my heart.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"In the day of adversity consider"

I am unable to recall the last time I read, much less quoted scripture. It was probably back in 2007 during my junior year of college and my first year at UT. That's not important. This morning I needed something. Something substantial to guide me before I lose myself. Initially I turned to Psalms, but it's hard to read a song to God without the word "Lord" appearing in every line. Although, I guess in a sense I am attempting to find solace without attributing the source where I seek, details.

"Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns.  All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.  All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun." -Ecclesiastes 1:1-9

And there. The search ends and begins with those words. I'm not sure any commentary of mine could elaborate in a productive manner.

It appears depressing, nothing matters, but I find it encouraging to not get bogged down by anything and just be, live life to the fullest, there is nothing to lose. Live with all my heart, don't regret and take every chance, why not?

"Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit." -Ecclesiastes 7:8

Silent Words

Sometimes there is nothing to say.

There are no words to take away the pain.

No jokes that would ease the sadness.

Sometimes the only cure is time.

It's the hardest thing to watch ones you love suffer through something without you. There's no place for me in his sadness, but all I want is to take it away, but all I can do is watch. I don't know the right answer and the right words are their own mystery. Please take this away from him and leave the loving memories. Please stop the words that make it worse and the people who exploit something that has hurt him so profoundly.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valuable matter

I want to be someone that my friends can turn to, someone they feel like they can open up to and share anything.  There is this desire to be so necessary and irreplaceable to people that I get hurt when I become dispensable.  Maybe that is why I'm so slow to open up to others, fear of rejection, commitment issues, if you will.  If a friend of mine is in pain, it is hard for me to watch. I have to try and make it better, I have to know I can make a difference in their life. I just want to touch lives. Perhaps I'm concentrating too much energy on too small of an audience.

Too many of my sentences begin with "I", pet peeve. But does it tell me something about myself. Too far.

I want to matter. Is there any way to matter besides through other people? Only when someone recognizes your value are you deemed valuable.  The secret of life could have been found and then buried because it was simply buried with the rest of them. That is why I seek approval, in the pursuit of matter. This is my only life, I may as well matter to the only ones able to deem me valuable.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fables of Aesop

A MOUNTAIN was once greatly agitated. Loud groans and noises were heard, and crowds of people came from all parts to see what was the matter. While they were assembled in anxious expectation of some terrible calamity, out came a Mouse. Don't make much ado about nothing.

AN ASTRONOMER used to go out at night to observe the stars. One evening, as he wandered through the suburbs with his whole attention fixed on the sky, he fell accidentally into a deep well. While he lamented and bewailed his sores and bruises, and cried loudly for help, a neighbor ran to the well, and learning what had happened said: "Hark ye, old fellow, why, in striving to pry into what is in heaven, do you not manage to see what is on earth?'

There is so much to be happy about in my life that I do not need to get bogged down on what is missing.  The minor discontent cannot be allowed to poison all that is well.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Everything happens at once

It's that time again, springtime, well, almost. I'm tired of going through spring after spring watching everyone I know or have ever met get engaged or married. I have never been like this and am usually the one ridiculing the rash decisions. Why now? Why am I all of the sudden emotional about the whole thing? When I step out of it and look at the situation, I am reasonable and don't feel the need for any more commitment.  But, in the moment, it's crippling. I hate it. I hate wanting something that I apparently have no control over. What's more is that I wish it was something that was special, something that the other person wanted.

I want to be chased and spoiled. It should be the other way. He should be convincing me, and I should not be this upset. I have a life going on, I have work to do and books to write, but for some reason my mind will not depart from these thoughts, and maybe that's what I hate the most.