As I was writing down these reflections, I was trying to think if this felt more like one of my crazier journal entries or a series of blog posts. (As you can see, I decided on blog posts.) Until you finish a work, you can’t know for sure where it’s going, so it would be silly and even counter-productive to edit as you go. All writers know this.
Books have definite beginnings and endings.
Life pretty much has just one. As far as any of us know, we may not get another go. This means that in life – unlike writing a book – we have to edit on the way without necessarily knowing how it’s going to end.
Fortunately, there’s help available.
I find life journey assistance in places like books and other people, in movies and in learned experience.
However much I might trust my own voice, I need the help of others.
Another benefit of acknowledging the voices in my head is acknowledging the voices in my head. Every time some little voice tells me yes, you want another cookie (mm, cookies) I can identify that thought as something part of – but at the same time separate from – me. My thoughts do not control me – unless I let them.
The human mind is a complex and beautiful thing. We all have the power to imagine beautiful and terrible things.
It is a blessing, a profound blessing, to be able to share each other’s space. That’s why there is – after all – such a thing as evil.
The interiority of the soul, its capacity for great good and for terrible evil, the sense in which we need to wrestle – and pause – and wrestle – and pause with our own best and worst inclinations – without neglecting the majority of inclinations everywhere in between.
That’s something the Jewish people know a lot about – and not just because the human race has willfully chosen to murder so many Jews throughout the years.
This moral pause, the part where I realize it’s less about what I know (potentially, everything or nothing at all) and more about what I know to do with it. That little whip-crack in my soul, that’s me, my tiny moral self remembering that not all things are equal, not all facts are good.
Perhaps you are the president of a multinational corporation desperately working to pay the bills, while at the same time making sure the budget goes where it’s most needed, keeping money in savings for when incomes dwindle and needs rise.
Perhaps you are a mother trying to care for two kids and one more additional job that you need to pay the bills of those two kids, working part-time putting people’s groceries into bags – paper or plastic?
Perhaps you’ve held onto your faith in a missionary land where no one seems to care any more, hands full of tracts and eyes worn out from all those tears.
As a woman named Hagar once said: “God is the God who sees,” the one who gets it – or God is nothing at all.
If you ARE going to believe in God, best to believe in the God who loves everyone. If you don’t believe in God, best to give other people due respect all the same. You’re smart enough to see that, right?
Otherwise, we risk stepping into a place where we make the kind of mistakes that we can never take back.