Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Noticing Matters

I am often distracted, even consumed by a desire to do something useful, meaningful, something grand by which to be remembered. It is not that I have grand ideas I want to implement for the benefit of mankind, but rather that I want to be one who has such ideas. It is not about the ideas, but rather about my desire to matter in some way to this existence.

Perhaps the problem is I am trying to define my usefulness. We all want to matter and to know we matter. In the vastness that makes us all insignificant, we long to be significant to someone, to matter somehow. We don’t want our existence to go unnoticed.

Perhaps in truth this life is not about the grand things we do or don’t do. Perhaps this life is about the sum of all the little things we do every day.

When I cross paths with someone, that interaction is all that matters in that moment. We all have different experiences, different stories to tell. Whatever I see or don’t see, feel or don’t feel, taste or don’t taste, smell or don’t smell, hear or don’t hear, whatever I experience in that moment becomes my story. Whatever else I have or have not done does not define that interaction. Whatever I give or take in that moment speaks on its own to that person.

We all want to have good stories to tell, stories to which others will listen and affirm as worthy of hearing. Perhaps love is noticing those around you and making them matter to you. When we notice, we give life. To ignore is to take life.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Eyes Full of Empty Hearts

Our hands are never empty. 

Our eyes are ever filled with images 
that claim our lives are not what they could be. 

But images are fantasies of lives that don't exist, 
of happiness hiding in places it does not exist. 

We fill our hands and eyes with emptiness 
and wonder why we don't find happiness.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Perspective


There's a map of the world on my desk. It reminds me the world is both big and small, and all our differences are both big and small. I am an invisible dot on that map, and yet I cover whole continents with the palm of my hand. 

It's all a matter of perspective. 

What can I do but weep as I read the names of so many places where people do unspeakable things to each other? What can I do but weep when I seek refuge in my own heart, and there find so much fear and selfishness? How can we do anything but weep when we wake up each morning to a broken world so full of darkness?

Will we ever learn to listen and to see?

Will we ever learn to love?

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Why am I Afraid?

I have lived much of my life afraid—afraid to fail, to succeed, to do something, to do nothing, afraid of God, afraid there is no God. Somehow I came to believe evil was more the color of this world than good. I learned to fear everything because everything was evil.

Can a universe created by God, who is good, be more evil than good? 

What was good in the world of my youth? God, the Bible, church, and Christians were the last bastions of good in an otherwise evil world. Whose ideas of good and evil did I receive?

Did those who taught me have it all right? 

Did I learn to search for God, to seek out what is true, or did I just learn what I should say and do so God would not punish me for eternity? Did I learn to look for evil so I could hide from it, or to look for beauty to reveal God who created? Did I learn to find the good in people, or to find whatever was different and call it evil? 

Look out at this world, or into your own mind, and you will find evil, but should we not pour more fervor into our search for what is good? What good is it to ask, "Where is God?" and then go searching for devils? 

Perhaps I would be less afraid if I stopped looking for things to fear.

Perhaps the question is not whether God is speaking, whether God is visible, but rather whether I am really listening and looking for God. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Institutional Problems, Individual Solutions

We so often attempt to address problems at the institutional level. We want broad, general solutions that can be applied everywhere all the time. I wonder how often, if ever, such solutions exist.

 Most problems come down to people in the end, and that is where they must be addressed if ever there is to be progress. Big problems like racism, poverty, and exploitation are not going to disappear from the top down when the right policy or law is enacted. 

They will end when people, individually, stop being driven by hate, greed, and selfishness. They are not legal problems. They are character problems, moral problems. 

It is to be the hard way for us, the long way, lifetimes of struggle to love others as we consider what we are adding to this world.