No anecdotes or homilies tonight. Just some random thoughts.
If there is a challenge before us during these times, it is to find a place between cynicism, where we know what’s wrong with everybody, and ideology, where we know what’s right for everybody. And to make this a place of more than empty tolerance, where the equal acceptance of all actions and points of view is seen as a positive moral value.
The plain fact is that there simply are better and worse ways to live; more and less worthy ways to pay our rent for the time we are given on this planet. Struggling to find the most worthy way available to us is each of our life’s spiritual task.
I think, in the last analysis, the challenge comes down to finding a fit spiritual vehicle through which to express universal values. Charity, love, kindness, helping the weak, giving hope to the children and peace to the elderly — these are the kinds of values I mean.
Embedded in all the great religions, and many of the lesser ones, and, I would venture, in the human heart itself, is the belief that we are only fully realized when we lift the weak among us and help them along their path. It can be done in a million ways — by service, by conscious prayer, even, in the minds of some, by fighting against evil. But defining evil is a dangerous thing, and this course may the most fraught with peril of any.
Still, we must make our choice and act with clarity. For my own tastes, it is the person who continuously makes the small caring gesture in the course of daily affairs who is the most worthy footsoldier in the army of the spirit. Such people are doing simple good for the world, and shaping their spirits by outward action.
It’s people like these who make my days pleasant and hopeful, and keep me from fully embracing a life of cynicism or ideology. They simply come in too many shapes, sizes, colors, and beliefs.
Sometimes surprise is the greatest gift of the spirit. Going through the day being open to God’s surprises seems the healthiest way to walk a path through the confusion of life. And it’s a worthy thought to put in my mind right before sleep.
Until later . . .