Van Gogh’s Starry Night
“It is central to Christian living that we should celebrate the goodness of creation, ponder its present brokenness, and, insofar as we can, celebrate in advance the healing of the world, the new creation itself. Art, music, literature, dance, theater, and many other expressions of human delight and wisdom, can all be explored in new ways.”
― N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
I have read and taught Bishop Wright’s Simply Christian more than once, and it is a very well written and insightful book. Everyone would do well to be exposed to his understanding of the Christian message.
“Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.”
Clint Hill was the secret service agent who was charged with the protection of President Kennedy on the day of his assassination and the first to reach his car after he had been shot. For many years he lived with a sense of guilt because he was powerless to prevent that tragic event. The “what ifs” of November 22, 1963, were a source of great pain to him. All of us are nagged by life’s unanswered questions. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why did I fail at that project? What could I have done to make a difference in a bad situation? These, and many others, keep us awake at night.
Joseph Campbell advises us to not bother our family and friends with volumes of questions, but to go forward with our lives with a sense of confident adventure. If we spend our lives trying to figure out everything we miss life. Jesus says, “Sufficient are the troubles of the day.” Imagine a life that is lived in the moment. Such a life is a life of faith and confidence in God. With it comes a belief in a God who loves us, cares for us and wishes the very best for our future.
Let us challenge ourselves to live life to the fullest with great expectation, and put aside the hesitation that keeps us from being all that God intends for us.
Joseph Campbell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Letting go is by far one of the hardest things to do. All of us hold on so tightly to our belongings, our plans and our feelings as a matter of self-preservation. The world is full of uncertainty and disappointment, so we naturally hold on to our little bit of certainty and comfort. The mythologist Joseph Campbell once said, “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” He has a very good and thought provoking suggestion in those words. Is it possible that we hold on to our vision so long and so diligently that we miss what God really has in store for us?
Life should be focused on the journey and not the destination, because the journey’s end is often too far away and too difficult. So much of life is missed because we cannot let go of some idea, some broken dream or hurt that tugs on us like a violent undertow of a raging sea. Life should be thought out, planned and lived a day at a time. God has told us in His wisdom that we have no guarantee of tomorrow, so today is the most important day of your life. A question arises now – How do we let go enough to live that day?
Letting go of the planned life and finding what is waiting for us means we must slow down and allow God to speak to and through us.
A few suggestions:
- Interact with people
- Eat a good meal
- Watch the sunrise/sunset
- Notice something that you had never noticed before
- Relish in the beauty of God’s creation
- Get lost in a book
- Write something
- Meet someone new
- Encourage someone with a call or a text
We all miss so much of the very best while trying to plan for the very best. Wander and ponder and be open to the astonishing life that God has laid out in front of those who let go of themselves.
If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.
——John of the Cross
John of the cross is the medieval mystic who gave us “Dark Night of the Soul.” In his work he challenges us to the work of being a Christian, and the strength that comes for the journey. He tells us that the strength comes from complete union with God. This union has a price, and it is separation from the world. In that dark night of separation John finds the peace of God.
- The Dark Night of the Soul (stuartmccormack.wordpress.com)