Understand this one insight, and life becomes much more straightforward. I don’t mean it gets easier. There will always be struggle, difficulty and pain. Anyone who promises you freedom from struggle, difficulty, and pain is selling you something.
But this one insight, if you are able to let it settle deep in your brain and color your thinking and your attitudes, will be of great benefit to you.
It comes in two parts.
What is it?
It’s not about you.
By “It” I mean the universe, the cosmos, the planet, the nation, the city. The currents of the weather, the heat of politics, even most of your relationships. Any passing acquaintance with philosophy will show you that this is not a new insight. Take for example these sobering words from Mark Twain’s Autobiography:
“A myriad of men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle for bread; they squabble and scold and fight; they scramble for little mean advantages over each other. Age creeps upon them; infirmities follow; shames and humiliations bring down their prides and their vanities…. At length ambition is dead; pride is dead; vanity is dead; longing for release is in their place. It comes at last – the only unpoisoned gift ever had for them – and they vanish from a world where they were of no consequence; where they achieved nothing; where they were a mistake and a failure and a foolishness; where they have left no sign that have existed – a world which will lament them a day and forget them forever.”
If it was all about you, then you have a big problem because the universe begs to differ. If it’s all about you, you are on your own to create meaning, to seek out some kind of acceptance from someone who will show some approximation of affection for you, and to put your conscience at ease for all the unsettling things that you have done. And when it comes time to breathe your last, if it’s all about you, then when you release your fragile hold on life, you are then left completely on our own.
And this is where Christianity differs: the key point, the crux, the core, the essential Part Two:
It’s all about God.
By “God” I mean the living Triune God. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Eternal, infinite, all-powerful. The Creator for whom and through whom and to whom are all things.
If it’s all about God, then we can relax, we can enjoy the present moment. We can live with confidence because ultimately all things are in God’s hands. We can stop squabbling to get our piece of the pie, and we can start listening to Him.
For God is quite fond of His children,
And He has good things in store for them (more on that in Part 2).
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