Monthly Archives: April 2010

A Binary, Over-simplified Model of the Consequences of my Choices

You have two options. You can live a life of hedonistic pleasure and do whatever your heart desires, whatever that may be. Or you can choose to live a life according to the Word of God. Let’s be creative and call these two options the “Hedonistic option” and the “Word of God option” 🙂 It’s always a good idea to think about things, so I’ll think about them now and write them down so that when you are deciding which of the two options to choose (for we face these choices often, if not daily) you will have a well thought out summary of the two. The next two blog posts will be about each of these options.

Parenting…

Kahlil Gibran – The Prophet

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Celestial Love

Celestial Love – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Higher far,
Upward, into the pure realm,
Over sun or star,
Over the flickering Daemon film,
Thou must mount for love,
Into vision which all form
In one only form dissolves;
In a region where the wheel,
On which all beings ride,
Visibly revolves;
Where the starred eternal worm
Girds the world with bound and term;
Where unlike things are like,
When good and ill,
And joy and moan,
Melt into one.
There Past, Present, Future, shoot
Triple blossoms from one root
Substances at base divided
In their summits are united,
There the holy Essence rolls,
One through separated souls,
And the sunny Aeon sleeps
Folding nature in its deeps,
And every fair and every good
Known in part or known impure
To men below,
In their archetypes endure.

The race of gods,
Or those we erring own,
Are shadows flitting up and down
In the still abodes.
The circles of that sea are laws,
Which publish and which hide the Cause.
Pray for a beam
Out of that sphere
Thee to guide and to redeem.
O what a load
Of care and toil
By lying Use bestowed,
From his shoulders falls, who sees
The true astronomy,
The period of peace!
Counsel which the ages kept,
Shall the well-born soul accept.
As the overhanging trees
Fill the lake with images,
As garment draws the garment’s hem
Men their fortunes bring with them;
By right or wrong,
Lands and goods go to the strong;
Property will brutely draw
Still to the proprietor,
Silver to silver creep and wind,
And kind to kind,
Nor less the eternal poles
Of tendency distribute souls.
There need no vows to bind
Whom not each other seek but find.
They give and take no pledge or oath,
Nature is the bond of both.
No prayer persuades, no flattery fawns,
Their noble meanings are their pawns.
Plain and cold is their address,
Power have they for tenderness,
And so thoroughly is known
Each others’ purpose by his own,
They can parley without meeting,
Need is none of forms of greeting,
They can well communicate
In their innermost estate;
When each the other shall avoid,
Shall each by each be most enjoyed.
Not with scarfs or perfumed gloves
Do these celebrate their loves,
Not by jewels, feasts, and savors,
Not by ribbons or by favors,
But by the sun-spark on the sea,
And the cloud-shadow on the lea,
The soothing lapse of morn to mirk,
And the cheerful round of work.
Their cords of love so public are,
They intertwine the farthest star.
The throbbing sea, the quaking earth,
Yield sympathy and signs of mirth;
Is none so high, so mean is none,
But feels and seals this union.
Even the tell Furies are appeased,
The good applaud, the lost are eased.

Love’s hearts are faithful, but not fond,
Bound for the just, but not beyond;
Not glad, as the low-loving herd,
Of self in others still preferred,
But they have heartily designed
The benefit of broad mankind.
And they serve men austerely,
After their own genius, clearly,
Without a false humility;
For this is love’s nobility,
Not to scatter bread and gold,
Goods and raiment bought and sold,
But to hold fast his simple sense,
And speak the speech of innocence,
And with hand, and body, and blood,
To make his bosom-counsel good:
For he that feeds men, serveth few,
He serves all, who dares be true.

You, me, us, them…all of us…together…

The world and its peoples are our responsibility. We have a duty to humanity to care for the oppressed and afflicted. While we may not be the ones fighting the wars of our governments we are duly responsible for them. The future of the world lies in the collective hands of the youth – we will decide how our world will change around us. To quote a friend, ‘you are as different from me as I am from you’ and yet paradoxically we share so much in common. The threads of humanity that run so deep in our veins cannot be broken by culture, nationality or even religion. We have glimpses of this unity when a mother in a foreign country will voluntarily care for a stranger’s baby. We see it in times of crisis when the threats facing us supersede our differences and we join together, black and white, young and old all together to face the threats head-on.

There are evil forces around the world that aim to draw us from each other. They highlight our differences, encourage independence and coax our prejudices. They try to isolate us from each other. They promote fear, discord, anger, envy and hatred. And yet within each of us there is an echo of our common humanity. An inherent knowledge that we are all in the same boat together.  We fulfil our destiny as a human race when we act selflessly. I know of no other principle or way of life that is able to do this other than love. When we act in love and care for each other, we declare to the powers that be that we will not be torn apart and lose our humanity. We will not succumb to the temptation of rampant individualism.

So much of my life is characterised by sterile indifference to the problems of strangers. And yet when we see these people through the eyes of God we will be filled with warm compassion to replace our cold indifference. I rejoice in my sharedness, my cointegrated humanity and the fact that while I may be one of billions of my fellow humans, somehow I (and indeed each of us) play an infinitely important part. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, each one of us makes up a part of the organism that is the human race. In a very real sense, you are part of my family. There is a desperate need to recognise this. We cannot let our tainted experiences of a fragile world dictate our disposition. We choose to love our fellow human beings. This is truly divine, it is God outworking His plan on the Earth. I do not know you but I love you…