Monday, March 07, 2011

Seeing the World in Negative

I have mentioned before that Greg has this thing for painting and drawing. He has not had much time to take part in this "hobby" (though I think it's more than that) since we had kids. I have always found his art intriguing and more than a little sexy. One of the things he takes great joy in is drawing in negative--looking at the world backwards--filling in the negative spaces with dark so that the content of the art itself becomes light.

Some mornings I wake up and have epiphanies. This was one of those mornings.
I have been so backward in my thinking for the past seven years. I have become cynical, frustrated, angsty, and pissed off at God. People often ask "Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?" I am one of those people who has never had an answer, and has never been satisfied with the answers I have heard.

The other morning I was griping about this with Greg on a more specific level. "Greg? Why is God still making all this crap happen to us?" (this was about impending layoff notices--again). Greg looked at me and said, "What if God isn't the one who is making the crap happen? What if God is the one who is keeping worse things from happening?"

Well, I have been mulling this over for the past few days, and all of a sudden, while laying in my bed this morning it hit me. Greg was right! Just look at Job in the Bible. Pastors often talk about the last chapters of Job as being God just showing off His power. This is true, in part. But I think it was more that God was saying to a very whiny and depressed Job, "Look.. I could wipe this whole world out if I wanted to. I could destroy every single thing I have made." Essentially, "I brought you into this world, I can take you right back out."

I realized God does not "allow" bad things to happen to Greg and I any more than we "allow" Sam and Aunica to get hurt. They climb bookshelves and brick walls and then act surprised when they fall down and injure themselves. They hit each other and then act surprised when we discipline them.

This isn't to say there aren't bad things that happen to them outside of our control, but those things are just a part of living in this broken messed up world. God has gotten us through those things, faith-in-tact.

Noam Chomsky wrote of a Language Acquisition Device he believed we are all born with. According to him, we all have the capacity to learn language from the moment we are born, and actually begin learning language in the womb. Well, I believe God has put a Morality Acquisition Device inside the souls of each of us. We are born with a conscience, allowing us from the very beginning to tell the difference between what is right, and what is wrong. When bad things happen to good people, we know it is wrong because we have a sense of what should and should not be happening. God never intends for bad things to happen to us. But even when bad things do, He is not gone. He has not forgotten us. It is very likely that He is getting us through more than we know.

I believe every breath is a gift. Every single good thing in your life is a miracle. I look at my cat all curled up at my feet, hear my kids talking to Greg in the other room, realize I drove over 20 miles today without getting in a car accident. It could have been otherwise.

Jane Kenyon
I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

This poem ends sounding somewhat pessimistic, but it is true. We all will die someday, we all will face the same end. BUT we have hope! And in the meantime, we should not spend our days being sad about the bad, but looking at the good. Because after all, it might have been otherwise.


Rachel Ann said...

<3 This was nice to read. Thank you.

Marrassett said...

This was very thought-full. Thanks for sharing. I love you.

r said...

I'm glad you shared this with me on the phone. I had a sneak preview. I feel privileged to read what is happening to you in your thoughts put to pen here on your blog. It was even more powerful to read. Thank you for sharing about our Psalm 18:30 God.
Love, Mom