I think most of us want to feel we have some sense of control over our lives. There are some people, I suppose, who are totally able to take events and circumstances 'as they come', having no desire or need for any degree of self-determination. But I think most people have some measure of desire to engage their WILL to determine - at least to some degree - how their life maps out.
And when our master plan (or key elements of it) doesn't materialize, we might be tempted to hold a 'master planner' responsible. While I recognize that some people don't believe in a master planner at all, because I do, I can't help wondering if some of the people who deny the existence of a master planner do so as a way of getting back at him for not allowing their desires to be satisfied. But that's a debate that might be better explored some other time or place...
(And of course I hope any atheists or agnostics will forgive me for my ruminations.)
So far in this series, I've talked about forgiving ourselves and our families. But what about "GOD"? If there is a master of the universe, why doesn't he make things pleasant all of the time? Why do good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people? And why don't I get my way all of the time (I'm not being entirely facetious)?
Whether we view God as malevolent or benevolent, or not view him (or her?) at all, I believe there is within us an in-born sense that we cannot control everything and when something occurs within our frame of reference that is really unjust we rail! The death of our child, the agony of personal failure, a holocaust or a natural disaster triggers in most of us some kind of disillusionment, shock, feeling of helplessness that becomes anger or despondency. "9/11" triggered a type of grief around a nation and throughout the world that has seen no equal before or since. The aftermath of tsunamis and hurricanes bring with the pain incredible acts of generosity and care. But the 'Where was God?' question echoes throughout society.
I'm not intending to address the theology of God but rather the sense that there is a universal experience of helplessness among humanity that sometimes turns it's face to the sky and says, 'Why is this happening?!' in anger and bitterness. So, what do we do with anger and resentment that cannot change a situation, but that will change us if we don't find forgiveness? How do we forgive 'fate', God, or that invisible entity that chooses to allow bad things to happen?
I say, quite honestly, that it isn't for us to forgive in these instances, but that it is incredibly audacious to think we can see the end from the beginning and even make an assessment. I say, we need in those circumstances to grieve but not to hold on to fury - because that will eat us! We need to ask "Why?" but then to accept we may never receive an answer.
I hadn't expected to write this post - in a way it's a bit of a digression. But as I re-read the previous post it occurred to me that bitterness, which sits very close to unforgiveness, can settle in even when we experience situations at arm's length: situations such as natural disasters, foreign wars, or the actions of a political party or politician. To cope, we may have a target and aim our blame. And if there isn't a human to blame we may make a target of 'God'. But we do this at our peril... not because fire may strike us down! But because the fire within us can consume our minds and our hearts and make us hard, cold or cynical. And it's my belief that cynicism is soul destroying - crushing love, hope and joy.
So, my take on forgiving events or an entity larger than our own humanity - whether it be an earthly entity or a divine one - is to measure our anger and let it go. Turn it to generous acts which can make a difference to those who suffer the consequences of the disaster, or graciously receive the generosity of others if we are the victims. But turning it to fury that rails but cannot be resolved serves no ultimate purpose and eats away at us, slowly, imperceptibly perhaps. Inevitably, we who remain in this state, are consumed by our own hostility.
I've been a bit nervy perhaps this week, but aiming to touch on a reality we all face.
Always there is 'tomorrow' - and courage does it's part to get us there. Though trite, when Scarlett O'Hara said on the brink of divorce, "Tomorrow is another day" she was quite right in her awareness that time does bring the hope of restoration and healing.
Best to you 'til next Thursday...
|Sunrise in Winter by Sarah Tun|