Begin To Savor | Thoughts on Life in Middle America

Perhaps it’s a 50/50 shot at happiness.

Perhaps we are all doomed.

Perhaps we are all destined for greatness.

There are times when I can identify with any of the previous spots on the emotional life outlook spectrum.  I’m all over the map from day to day, hour to hour but I’m in recovery. I do believe we are in charge of our own destiny and our outlook on life is due variety of factors.  However, regardless of our current or past life circumstances, we see what we want.

If I want to be happy – I’m happy.  If my desire is to be sad or morose – I shall be.

You and I are in control of this desire.  The desire to feel and pursue happiness, the need for sadness, our want for love, longing for healing.  From the molecular level to the wonders of the cosmos, life is comprised of what we wish to see and pursue.

Who we are is up to us.

Granted, the culture, country, family, environment one might be born into matters – some more than others. Being raised in a home in Middle America is different than raised in a home in southern Sudan.  The cultural influences alone can change one’s perception of the world around them, not to mention what happens from birth to the present.

Wherever you might find yourself, this is it.

This is your time.

These experiences.

The moments you savor.

The moments you let roll away like a passing breeze.

All is what we have.

I’m convinced that life is what we make it.  You can put funny little phrases to describe your outlook like, “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.” or “If it is God’s will.”

You see, we all believe in magic.  On some level, from atheist to fundamentalist, we are all believers in magic.  It might be the magic of the unexplainable nature of the universe.  Maybe it’s the magic of the teachings of a man who lived 2000 years ago.  Whatever it may be, we need to believe in something.

The culture you are born in is a huge determining factor for your belief system.  In the Christian community, people often make the grievous mistake of proclaiming false truths.  Claims that marginalize the people who don’t believe in what we believe. At times this is done by taking someone’s cultural upbringing and smashing it to a bloody pulp with an astounding paucity of love through disregarding someone else’s belief system because they are different.  Place the label of “evangelism” on this dearth and it’s accepted.

These same people in the US who are Christians, thanks to being born in the U.S. of A., would be great Muslims had they been born in Saudi Arabia or good Hindus if they were born in India, but most won’t admit that where one is born actually matters.

Whether you experience life in India as a Hindu, in America as a Christian, China as an Atheist, Afghanistan as a Muslim, Iceland as an Ignostic, or etc, etc, etc – life is comprised of moments to be savored.  Do not be concerned with death.  Death is unknown. Whatever you’ve been taught or promised no one has lived to tell about the afterlife.  We can interpret ancient texts in and out of context, we can assume, but in the end only the dead know of the true reality of death.

Too often people concern themselves with the “life to come” rather than cherishing the life that can be experienced here and now.

If you are one of these people too concerned with the life to come, with this mysterious after-life, with heaven or hell, you probably are not satisfied with the life you have here. American Christianity is very concerned with “what is to come” or  “going home to Jesus” but this shouldn’t be a primary Christian concern.

When our concern lies in the promise of something that may or may not come to be, we miss what’s here now.

Have you ever noticed the most negative people you know are also the most zealous about their religion being the “right way”.  Speaking from a Christian perspective, those people who have a negative outlook on the world tend to comprise the population whom are the least compassionate for their enemies yet are incredibly concerned with where THEY GO when THEY DIE. Love for one’s neighbor shouldn’t be dependent on and agenda to “save them”.

If this life is what we make it, regardless of the religion we fall under.  If this is our story do with what we choose…

Why don’t we choose peace?

Why don’t we choose love?

Why don’t we choose hope more often?

Why don’t we choose mystery?

Why don’t we choose magic?

Why don’t we desire for all to join us in the afterlife regardss of what they believe or what name they give to the unexplainable, the name of the Divine?

 

Why don’t we choose to soak in the pleasure of life, of what is real, what is in front of us right now?

In the movie Beginners there is a brilliant bit of dialogue by Ewan McGregor’s character shares a portion of The Velveteen Rabbit. This small bit of the movie reminds me of how we must choose to see the Divine in our life, in everything. It reminds me of how we must choose to savor this life with each breath. It reminds me that love exist when we share our lives with others.

“The stuffed rabbit asked – What is real? And the Horse said, “Real isn’t how you’re made. It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long long time not just to play with, but really loves then you become real.

And the rabbit asked, ‘Does it hurt?’ And the horse said, ‘Sometimes.’ ‘Does it happen all at once like being wound up, or bit by bit?’

‘It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen to people who break easily…”

Grace and Peace

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