Saturday, December 29, 2018
Hopeful Thinking - Saturday, December 29, 2018 - Take Comfort in Change
Think for a moment about what it’s like to stand facing forward in the aisle of a speeding train. You’re moving but you’re not moving. Even small steps forward feel like an enormous leap of speed.
Now, in your imagination turn around. What is the sensation like now? What does taking a step “forward” feel like? It sort of feels like it’s moving back but it’s actually going forward anyway. Just not as fast as the others, even those who are only standing still. Your brain and heart perceive the backward forwardness and strain to accommodate them both.
This is the co-equal state of our global human society right this minute. We are all on this train. It moves at what seems to be an increasing speed. We all feel it. We each react differently based on which direction we are comfortable facing. There is reason to believe that this train is moving in a positive direction. Looking at the overall zigzagging progress of known human history, we have only ever improved upon ourselves. Despite the fear of the moment, this upward trend toward human unity has not altered. But it has made some people seek to stand in the aisle of the train facing back to where we have been because they are afraid of where we are going.
Fortunately the choice is our own. But there are a variety of factors which help determine it. What are your sources? Who is telling you what to believe and are you confident in why they are saying it? Who is teaching you how to determine and discern? It’s an honest question, not a test. Every one of us synthesizes our opinions from the various sources of information to which we expose ourselves. Take inventory of those sources right now and measure them.
Check their motives. Are they loving? Do they invite people to the table or do they exclude? Do they attempt to create relationship or seek to avoid it? Are they plotting to avoid change or strategizing to adapt? The answer to all our human problems will come from the humans themselves. But we have to have the courage to ask each other. Then we must be brave enough to hear the answers we get.
It’s okay to question everybody right now. This is the time of great uncovery. We are looking in all the dark corners. It’s appropriate, even encouraged, to ask and verify. But it’s not always safe anymore to answer. In its own way we are experiencing a public judgement day. An endtimes to old and previously-hidden ways. Good.
But these revelations are scary. They bring out the worst and best in us both. They represent a good struggle, however. But that is cold comfort to point out.
What direction are you facing on the train?
The difference between those who are comfortable with change and those who are not come down to their set of principles and standards. How nimble are these faith and ethical systems? How comfortable are they in a variety of settings? Do they understand that evolution is a fractal of all reality or do they pray for everything to assure them of permanence?
One of my favorite lines from the movie “Funny Girl“ occurs when a lady quips, “A gentleman fits in anywhere.“ The comic reply was, “So does a sponge.“
But the point was not missed on me. A gentleman is a social version of someone who can adapt. A gentleman is gracious and flexible. He does not condescend or consider others to be unequal to him, neither higher nor lower. His expectations are of a different character entirely. The goal of a gentleman is a comfortable journey through life.
So what makes a comfortable journey? Ease. Ease with change. Comfort with difference. Graciousness in the face of adversity or fear. Flexibility in the light of changing fortunes. If our intent is to have ease rather than pin our expectations on continuity, we stop spending all our energy keeping things from changing. For the faithful, it’s kind of arrogant really, because it assumes that we think we know better than God about how to best achieve our desires. We don’t know all of the available options. Some things can only be seen from above the labyrinth. Pray to be happy. Seek ease. Relax. Face forward and take a deep breath.
Don’t attach happiness to a particular reality. Realities change. Place your focus on becoming accustomed to the sensation of the earth moving beneath your feet. It’s not going to stop just because you want it to. It’s already happening. Stop resisting it. Take a deep breath and revel in the sensation of forward momentum.
Posted by Wil Darcangelo, M.Div. at 4:08 PM