Friday, May 7, 2010

What is Required

Somewhere in this mixed up century, we came to the deluded conclusion that if we pad enough of life, we'll never get a skinned knee and that nothing of value can come from ever having experienced a bruise or a bump or a hurt feeling. 

Somewhere across time, we went from sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me to names can hurt me so anyone who names me as I do not which to be named shall be stoned.  Somewhere in recent history, we went quite mad as a society when we embraced the idea that while life isn't fair, it should be and all unfairness not in our favor shall be deemed evil.  

Somehow we decided as a civilization that suffering has no purpose and no meaning and as such, should not be tolerated except when we can ascribe a value and a meaning.  The actual meaning and value (by the way) must be readily accessible to everyone or it is a mere projection of wishful hopes and an overly optimistic coping mechanism.

People in America can now control the air in their room, their side of the car, the firmness of their mattress and what TV they watch when. We have created a heightened sense of anxiety about everything because suddenly numbers rule everything. We watch the Dow spiral. We watch our calories. We measure our inhales and our exhales and the fat and salt content and sugar in grams, in milligrams, in ounces. We measure the minutes, we bill the hours and with all our knowledge, with all our access to knowledge, we still cannot create one minute more in the day nor can we guarantee that if we do everything perfectly, we won't suffer.  It is a giant dellusion to think otherwise but we constantly act shocked with life takes more effort, more commitment, or more energy than we wanted to give. 

Life has random elements, friendships that grow and those that die, weeds that take root, pounds unexpectedly stubborn and minutes that get lost.  There are bills we forget about and ones that are bigger than we preanticipated and weather that rains out playoffs.  There is always more to do and there are always people doing more than us.  Sometimes, doing more isn't better and sometimes we can do everything right and someone else will still win.   Being constantly on alert to measure and weigh and anticipate everything still doesn't mean everything won't get screwed up when the lights finally go dark and the curtain finally rises.  We freeze. We forget lines.  We forget our place in the universe and we forget our primary job.   We're human.

We spend much of our modern days trying to be free from want, from need, from all discomfort, from all we disagree with, from all pain, from all work, from all that requires the more from us that makes us human.  Animals live within their limits.  They conserve energy.  They hunt when they are hungry.  They do not eat when they are not.  They sleep as they need.  Their lives are measured by instinct and the physical limits of their being.  Our lives exceed our instincts in all things.  To be human is to have physical limits we ignore and mental and emotional limits we impose and not always have the wisdom or the instinct to know the difference.

Our goal in life is not to not suffer; but to do, to have our body doing and our spirit being such that whatever unfairness we find, we make less painful, whatever injustice we suffer, we do not nurse, that our needs and wants are not mixed up, and that Our wants and Our needs do not dominate the landscape of our souls or how we pour out our lives. We are made for others.  My youngest son woke this morning with a runny nose and rejected his normal breakfast of toast and cheerios until I held him and kissed his forehead constantly.  This is what is required of us, not that we can cure the cold or eliminate the reality of colds, but that we can be close with and hold those who hurt for whatever reason.   It is all that is required; that we let God do the measuring of our lives, and we be willing to live them to the fuller measure that is God's.


Parenting Network said...

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You Know you are a mom when...

Kim said...

What a brilliant post--thanks!

MightyMom said...

so consider the lillies of the field.....


hope the boy's better soon

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