Blurred images haunt us sometimes causing us to be curious about the hidden picture. The above image is blurred because of the reflection of light on the plate glass window. However, in 2020, we all feel a bit blurred in real life, don’t we? Not only has our year been skewed because of the normal challenges of life, but also changes in the world; in climate, politics, aging, and of course COVID-19. Well, now that it is mentioned, all change can blur one’s image. What is life, if not change?
There is a saying that “the more things change, the more they stay the same” but I wonder if that’s where we all go astray? Once, at a dear friend’s funeral, his sister said that David had lived many lives before dying at age 36. Because I knew Dave’s history, I knew she was referring to the challenges Dave had as a youth, and then as he got into drugs. Dave and I became friends because we met in seminary as we both trained to be pastors in the Lutheran Church. Dave died right after he had decided to return to school to study for a doctorate in theology. Because I didn’t know Dave before seminary, I had never met the sister before the funeral. I kept my response to myself when she said that David “had lived many lives” because I knew it seemed insensitive. However, my response in my head was, “haven’t we all?” Dave would have approved.
I like to grow as a person and have always loved to grow plants, animals, abilities, knowledge. Ask anyone who deals with growth about the growth process and you will discover that the more things change, the more they…change. If a growing thing does not change, it cannot grow or bloom. It either means the living organism has become stagnant, dead, infertile, or ineffective. We use those words too in our society. Evidently, however, though we have a problem with death, even though we as a society don’t have as much trouble with “stagnant, infertile, or ineffective”. Why might I say that?
Other phrases come to mind:
We’ve never done it that way before.
I like the old one better.
Don’t change a thing (in relationships).
You’re not the same person I married.
What are some that come to mind for you? One that comes to mind for me is one that I never expected. There are times when my entire being says, “I don’t want to…” in response to things that must be done; things I didn’t or don’t have a choice about doing in life; from washing the dishes after every meal to going to work, to walking the dog. When I least expect it and am often most tired, something inside says “I don’t want to.” There are times that I can skip things. Life is a choice, right? If and when I’m willing to pay the consequence, I can skip doing the dishes if I want my kitchen to be disgusting. I can skip taking the dog out if I want to live in filth. You know what I mean. We all know there are things we can “let go” but something/someone is going to pay the price.
In truth, we always live in an unsure time. The human brain has great capabilities, and the human heart, even more possibilities. That doesn’t mean that we can “know it all” or “be it all”. That human limitation is why we need each other. That limitation that the world has is why species are interdependent upon one another. Humans are not the only creatures with need. That being said, one of the downfalls with humanity may be our most dangerous gift – that of knowledge.
Because we have knowledge and can gain more knowledge, we often think we know it all. This became especially true once we all had access to the internet. Wars start and power struggles begin that devastate populations, resources, and, in our current lives, the entire planet is endangered all because of the human fear of saying, “I don’t know.”
Even Saint Paul pointed out to the early Christians that “we see through a mirror dimly”. History gives us clarity in retrospect.
12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly,[a] but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13:12-13New Revised Standard Version
Yet, things aren’t always so clear in a moment of life. We think technology gives us exact pictures of what is and what should be changed. Yet, there is always more. Take a macro photograph, and you begin to see a picture of things you had not seen before. I’m not only talking about pixelation but also, things that one may have ignored because we focus on a single idea.
One of my favorite pictures was where I took a macro of the flower trying to show its beauty. It was not until later, after uploading the photo into the computer and putting it on a large screen that I could see the tiniest bug staring at me.
We are not perfect and none of us are gods, much less anything larger than human. We want to be in charge but we are not in charge. We are not. The sooner we can trust in the ability of the universe to balance life, the better. That also means respecting each other as well as the needs of the environment. Now is a time to listen closely to each other, to hear hearts and minds, to science and believe. I believe that I will be here in the morning, and if not, all shall be well.
“True faith in one’s religious practice means accepting the possibility—perhaps even the inevitability—of being wrong. It means to accept our limits in a radical way. That is what true faith is.”
~Clark Strand, “Nothing to Regret”
- Losing Things – Love Letters to the World
- Both/And Versus Either/Or in 2020