Tuesday, October 21, 2008

it's all good

I was sitting in Sunday School and our teacher offered this profound insight: whether you're suffering through life (experiencing trials) or enjoying it (receiving blessings), in the end it's all good. I'd never really looked at it like that before, sure challenges are useful, they help us to grow, but stating that 2 diametrically opposed conditions lead to equivalent outcomes. Wow. And I agree with him. Double wow.

It's all there in the scriptures, a few of my favourites...

And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.
(Doctrine and Covenants 78:19)

we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things
(Pearl of Great Price, Articles of Faith 1:13)

Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.
(Doctrine and Covenants Section 123:17)

One day a long time ago I read about a quantum theory where someone postulated that every time the universe or one of its constituents makes a decision a new universe pops into existence (actually I may have been watching star trek). So there's a multiversal exponentially expanding animal out there tracking all of the different possibilities that could have happened ever. One of the problems with this theory aside from universes being created out of nowhere, was that different causes could lead to the same results. My memory's a little hazy but this affect may have been called "True Chance."(it was probably something else, but this will have to do for now).

The question is, with respect to blessings and cursings (or just plain hurtings), do we have a True Chance scenario operating here? Maybe, it could also be one of the many marvelous paradoxes which we face in life, even if it is True Chance with a slight rejig, purely to satisfy my own philosophical inclinations, this can be made workable in the real world. If we are to be grateful in all things, good and bad than a redefinition of the word blessing may be in order, the 'blessing' that I carry around in my personal lexicon states: instances where God dispenses good things in my direction and I'm ready and wise enough to catch them. It may need to expand to encapsulate anything that happens depending upon your response. It's possible that this generalisation has become so vague now as to encompass everything, but I don't think that diminishes it potency, mainly because we humans are strange creatures and operate differently from almost everything else in the universe. Intention is a powerful thing and I'm afraid I'll have to invoke the great Stephen R. Covey, peace be upon him: for normal matter there's action and reaction, for us there is a stimulus, a space, then a response. What we choose to do with that space is entirely up to us, the next time I stub my toe or someone pulls out in front of me in traffic (yep most of my 'trials" are pretty prosaic), I'll remember that we're here to learn from our experience and choose well. Instead of cursing I may be inclined to thank God for the blessing of this slight irritation which helped me to understand existence a little more and point me in his direction. It ain't much, but it's a start.

coming soon: an attitude of gratitude.


Pianika said...

Random question I know, but what does wi-fi mean? (in your profile).

Pianika said...

Thanks. By the way, I really like this post. It totally reminded me of a story i heard once about 2 sisters living in a concentration camp. I think their names were Corrie & Carrie but don't quote me. It was during WWII. They were christians.
One of them had read in her bible about giving thanks to God “in everything” & decided to thank him for all the good & bad things that had come into their lives. Her sister was quite skeptical but Corrie got on her knees & began praying anyway…
Thank you for the fact there was no search when we came in here so we got to keep our bible on us…
Thank you for the overcrowding in this room that there are that many more women who can hear the word of God with us
Thank you that we got to stay together & didn’t get separated
Thank you for the fleas
Fleas? She had to be crazy. There was no way she could be grateful for the fleas. But a few days later they found out she was right to be grateful.
Her sister came home from a work day elsewhere & her sister came up whispering to her. They had always had more freedom to go around preaching in the big room because guards never came in, but they hadn’t known why. That day they had had a dispute about the number of socks to be knitted and requested one of the guards to come and have a look but she refused. They overheard her mutter something about ‘that dirty flea-infested place.’ So it turns out she was right to be grateful for those annoying little insects that they didn’t want.

I kind of think some trials are like that – they’re annoying & you don’t want them, but they do serve a purpose in the grand scheme of things. As illustrated by this poem I got given back in seminary class:

My life is but a weaving between my God and Me, I let him chose the colours he worketh steadily,
Oftimes he worketh sorrow & I within my heart, forget he sees the pattern, while I see only part

The dark threads were as needful in the weavers skillful hand as the threads of gold & silver in the pattern he had planned
Not til the loom is silent, & the shuttles cease to fly, will God unroll the canvas & explain the reason why.

Loren said...

Good thoughts all around. I like those types of stories. Hey you should check out Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl, it kind of relates.