Monday, August 21, 2006

Ponderings, paradoxes, and the past

I have done a bit of reminiscencing the last couple of days about the past while thinking about Julie Bogart's question "can you choose your beliefs" and reading about L'abri over at the Pomoxian
discussion group. At one time I had my heart set on becoming a L'abri worker and eventual staff member but that dream came to a screeching halt when L'abri's founder Francis Schaeffer was diagnosed with cancer. It was a painful time in my life emotionally on several fronts and I do sometimes wonder what "might" have happened if I had chosen a different path at a number of points along the way in the early 1980's. Generally, I don't think too much about the past but at the moment it seems to be on my mind. I also sometimes ponder how much control I really have regarding the choices I often make. I admit I fluctuate back and forth....because..... I can't really live with the implications that we have no choice yet it seems very clear, to "me", that there are so many variables, that are not in my control, that influence my choices which implies I may not be in control of what I believe and do as I think I might. Bottom's a quandry.....a mystery....and....a paradox...and.....that's what makes life interesting and makes faith, as defined as hope, a prerequisite for daily living...because when we lose hope in ourselves, our future, God as we understand God, than despair is bound to follow. And, I can't help thinking that so many people in this world have lost hope and the loss of hope breeds desperation and is the trigger to many of our problems in the world. I am not blaming the folks who have lost hope in the world because loss of hope ought to be seen as a human tradegy....but...unfortunately, so many individuals and world leaders don't seem to understand the plight of those who have lost hope thus they cannot empathize and thus often take advantage or blame the people who need our help the most.......Although we may choose to not think about the past most of the time, our past, is always with us. We may not acknowledge it, like it, or even give it the time of the day but it lives in our soul.....and.....we can never change the past which is why we should never ponder too deeply or too long about those aspects of our past life we wish we could forget.....but....ponder and reminiscence we must from time to time and think about what could of, wish would of, orwonder why life didn't turn out the way it did. It turned out the way it did because of who we were at a particular time in our lives and the variables that were out of our control manifested their own destiny which most of us will never understand in this life, or perhaps even in the next.....Life goes on, choices must be made, and unexpected variables will always come into play. That is the nature of life and their doesn't appear to be a damn thing we can do about the life that is given to the best you can with the gifts, talents, and wisdom you possess.....hope and pray....and eat and be merry.....for someday.....we all will return to the matter who we or poor....


julieunplugged said...

I think one thing is for sure that you nailed... we can't know what thing is coming into our lives in the future and we can't escape the past. Together, those realities influence not only our beliefs but our choices.

Perhaps this isn't determinism so much as a conscious awareness of our limits. And being that we are limited, I find it even harder to accept the notion of free will or predestination.

Seems we muddle along somewhere in the middle.


P.S. Hope your class settles down to enjoy all the tales you invariably tell. :)

Bilbo said...

Hi Julie,

I think I have the conscious awareness of my past down as it relates to what makes me tick but I still struggle with the flood of emotions that are triggered by my past...but...I think I am making progress, slowly but surely....I have never understood why so many folks just think a person can determine to change one's behavior or life long thinking patterns by simply applying a "just say no" attitude to life's problems and challenges. Christians of all people should understand the limits of the human mind, motivation, and abilities...and...even Saint Paul seems to imply in his writings that we aren't in control as much as we think we are.....

Kansas Bob said...

This is great advice:

accept the life that is given to the best you can with the gifts, talents, and wisdom you possess.....hope and pray....and eat and be merry.....for someday.....we all will return to the matter who we or poor

... sounds like something out of Ecclesiastes - one of my favorite bible books.

Dave said...

You definitely are swimming in the deeper end of the pool on this post, Bilbo. (I mean that in a nice way, hope it makes sense.)

Julie just wrote a column on choice and predestination and I figure your thoughts here were part of what fed her own thinking on the topic.

I'm at a point in my life where I'm feeling pretty satisfied with things. Of course, "improvements" could be made on any number of fronts but I feel like I'm able to allow myself to simply settle into what is, rather than feel driven to strive or lament what can't be changed about the past.

Maybe it's just that John Denver's "Sweet Surrender" is playing on iTunes at the moment!

Lost and alone on some forgotten highway, traveled by many, remembered by few.

Looking for something that I can believe in, looking for something that I'd like to do with my life.

There's nothing behind me and nothing that ties me to something that might have been true yesterday.

Tomorrow is open and right now it seems to be more than enough to just be here today

And I don't know what the future is holding in store, I don't know where I'm going, I'm not sure where I've been.

There's a spirit that guides me, a light that shines for me, my life is worth the living, I don't need to see the end.

Sweet, sweet surrender, live, live without care, like a fish in the water, like a bird in the air.