The droplets plummeted from the sky. I sat in my armchair and closed my eyes. Instantly, I was transported back 50 years. There I was as a young man walking along a beach as the rain fell and the sonorous wind projected its cacophony. The air literally sparkled with spray from the sea. I felt alive, but also somewhat fearful of the power of nature so fully on display. I was soon “drenched to the skin,” but carried on, nonetheless. I needed to find my way home. I wanted to find peace, warmth, and safety. This trek along the shore could be analogous to our journey in life. Existence is fraught with problems and complications, but also with solutions and happiness. Why then do some complain of its cold and moisture while others appreciate its cleansing mist? It is just attitude to a situation and the belief in a positive outcome.
In recent days, humanity has been humbled. We are spiritually impoverished, browbeaten by the forces of evil assembled before us. These demons – whether real or created – pose the greatest dilemma to modern man. We are being forced to question the very forces of our economic reality. And this is probably a good thing. Capitalism, in its present gluttony, is proving pointless for the vast majority of humanity. The people have only benefited marginally relative to the wealth extracted from the Earth. (1) What, therefore, is the way forward? It essentially lies in me and my attitude to wealth and my concept of the Common Good. I must wake up to the fact that everything is interlinked on Mother Earth — the bugs, the bees, the birds, nature, and me. I do not and cannot exist independently of my environment. During our recent almost worldwide “lockdown,” (2) our personal liberty has been curtailed, whether we are immensely wealthy or not. Speaking of wealth, my friend, Bie, in Belgium, the other day asked me a question: “Why would a person need more than 10 million Euros?”
Now, the question got me to thinking. If the wealth and expertise of the planet were distributed evenly, would we be in this mess that we are in at present? I think not. There is always this belief, unfortunately, that a traumatic event has to occur to change the trajectory of humanity. (3) This time, can we possibly affect change in a more dynamic and less violent manner? I most certainly hope so. The world is tired of guns, death and poverty, I am sure. The “new normal” has to become peace and dialogue, not violence and conflict. If we fail to do so, fail to look at life as a positive and wonderful voyage home, then a cataclysmic end to our civilization is potentially in the offing. The choice is ours. I am sure that we are clever enough to make the correct one.
The great writer and philosopher C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) leaves us with a thought. It is interesting, irrespective of whether you are spiritual or not: Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it that He is not strong enough? Well, Christians think He is going to land in force; we do not know when.
But we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have thought much of a Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side. God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does.
When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else — something it never entered your head to conceive — comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left?
For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.
A closing thought: Life is filled with many choices and chances. What is true is that I can decide whether today will be a positive and joyous day or a bitter, negative one. The choice is fully my own, regardless of my circumstances. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” (4)
To sum up: This week we spoke about the choice to determine your own attitude to life.
To be noted: From Dr. James Lovelock (5) — An inefficient virus kills its host. A clever virus stays with it.
Just for fun: Haydn: 1. Cellokonzert C-Dur
For reflection: HOW MANY FINGERS, WINSTON?
This week please reflect on your own proverbial trek home.
Every day look for something magical and beautiful
Quote: It is important to appreciate the gift that you were given today – the gift of you and your consciousness.
4) Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning (ISBN: 9-788-425-4265-37)