Yep, I’m guilty of staring into space. Why? Because I spend a lot of time wandering around the maze of my mind picking up relics of memories.
I blow the dust off, feel their weight in my hands and try to imagine the emotions, smells and circumstances that might have accompanied their placement in my archives. In many cases, it can be quite fun–this daydreaming.
My God, those moments playing hide and seek at 25,000 feet in the billows of cumulus were other worldly. But then, under a stack of pleasantness, I occasionally find recollections that are just plain bad. Truly awful. And I’m reminded of how trying life can be.
It really is a test.
With most tests and I’m specifically noting the significant ones, we can prepare assiduously and be somewhat confident that the outcome will be positive. We’ll most likely pass based on our hard work–as well as our newly discovered knowledge–and will have a good sense of a possible direction as a result. For example, I can train to be a pilot and one day in a test environment I will have to demonstrate skill in driving an airplane and all of its associated tasks–instrumentation, flight rules, safety, etc.
Assuming there hasn’t been economic Armageddon, there may actually be pilot jobs available. I can almost bet that I know how my life is headed and be relatively certain that my day job will be a desk with wings.
Ah, but life? It’s so much more than a job. It is existence and every thing that it entails good and bad. It’s a completely different kind of test and yes, we can prepare for it–it starts with great parenting by Mom and Dad. But always, for all seven billion of us plodding along on calloused feet, we are totally and disconcertedly clueless about where we’re actually going.
Most of the smart people throughout history–I’m referring to the truly great minds–have believed in God. Not as a superstitious act but as a result of reasoned faith. The contrary viewpoint of new atheists today or older atheists of recent times–Marx, Nietzsche, Russell–is the minority one. One might say that they’re more enlightened because of the progress in scientific inquiry–I wouldn’t–but God has not and never will be evidenced this way. He’s transcendent, outside of the universe He created. So the rational mind must approach God another way.
How? By faith. Radical surrender to this most extraordinary mystery which is God. And complete trust in His providence.
And the tough point about surrender? Our ego gets in the way.
You must understand, as I have learned, we are not in control of life’s grand plan. Our faith may be impugned by some as an unintelligent act–which is not entirely false for a segment of our brethren but their hopefulness is valid and should be respected–but faith can also be buttressed by astonishing rational insight by the most intelligent among us. Read Aquinas or Blessed John Paul or Chesterton and my point is made.
For someone who is occasionally confused by traffic circles and prone to a few doubting Thomas moments, I find the conviction of these superb thinkers on the existence of God reassuring.
You see, I strive to walk in supreme confidence amid the obstacles in my life. Knowing that as my feet get bloodied and bruised by the shards of experience–as my soul endures the acid attacks of devilish deeds and man’s inhumanity large and small–I will be comforted and healed knowing that something extraordinary awaits.
It may be the bounties of this life, and I’ve had many, or it may be the rewards of the next. As long as I don’t despair, continue to believe, trust and follow Him dutifully, on most days I actually have a bounce in my step.