Sunday, November 02, 2008

Philippians 4:7

For what am I thankful at the resolving of a crisis?
I am not thankful that crisis will never come again, although the very nature of relief suggests a cessation of all trouble to our consciousness. Realistically, I know that this was but one mountain peak, and I am traversing the Himalayas.
I am thankful for the knowledge that I will reach the next peak and the next one.
The relief we feel is not a denial of the valleys that lie in between the peaks, but a disregard for them. The gain more than offsets the pain. The mountaintop perspective sees more mountaintops, not ignorant of the topography before us, but reckoning that the sufferings of each and every valley is not worthy to be compared with the peaks.
Regarding perspective, which is the proper one? Is it unrealistic to desire an answer to this question?
Is it not a matter of choice? It is true that when one is atop a mountain, he is apt to forget the angle of the grade he has just climbed, and is more apt to underestimate the depth of the valley below him, so can it be said that it is only up to you which perspective is the real one?
If, at the collective apexes of our lives, we tally the results and find ourselves in the black, what does it matter what gloom swaths the peaks while we walk the shadowed valley?
Or, if, at the many low points, we total the experience and see merely perpetuated misery with a few aberrations of delirium, what do the peak experiences profit us?
This is quite an implicational question, a question summed up in the image of a glass containing liquid that occupies half of the container.
As I've said before, in a folksy translation of Schroedinger, the question of whether the glass is half full, or half-empty depends on whether the glass is the one offered a thirsting man in the desert, or the one you turned over on your laptop.
So it is only a matter of perspective!
Are things really that arbitrary, and is the universe that cold?
Do we really hold our own happiness in our own hands?
Is the on/off switch in our own minds?
Or does the answer to the overall question lie in a different idiom?
Can you not see the forest for the trees, or the trees for the forest, if you prefer?
Which do you prefer? We got both. Forest and trees.
(We must be careful not to forget that regardless of our location, we always see through a glass darkly, and must be mindful that all this postulation may, nay, will seem positively ridiculous on the other side of the glass.)
But for the here and now, will we look back on our life's journey as one continual struggle, viewed in the negative, or will we remember the lordly perspective of the peak, as well as the wild blueberries and the flowing streams in the valley?
I know we can't transcend our humanity. We will be down and we will be up. But there is an acceptance that can under gird our entire perspective, whether up or down; an acceptance gained only through experience, and yes, employed only by choice.
And acceptance attains peace. Not resignation.
A peace that does surpass all comprehension.
But I can't escape the notion that I am talking past all this.
Relativity reigns, much as it does in the summer when you prefer winter, and in the winter when you prefer summer.
A nagging little question lies at the bottom of all this: Aren't we closest to reality when we're depressed, when we are fully aware of and focused on all the pain and all the exhaustion we have faced and have yet to face?
Does our spirit seek the lowest level?
Isn't a bright outlook sustained only by a valiant effort?
Aren't we kidding ourselves?
No doubt this is subject to personality, but the nature of depression has to be weighed against the nature of optimism.
Screwtape told Wormwood of the Enemy, "He cannot tempt to virtue as we can to vice."
Because vice is the default position. Gravity pulls us to bad, not to good.
So it is with depression. He cannot tempt to joy as Satan can to depression.
Joy is often a matter of choice, a conscious effort of the will, a struggle to keep drooping eyes open, an uphill climb.
The joy of the Lord is our strength, it is what gives us the will to go on, to stay awake, to keep climbing.
Moods are inevitable, ups and downs are facts of life, depression lies at the bottom of every valley, jubilation awaits at the top of every mountain, but joy takes us through it all.
Don't over-analyze your current emotional state, (as I have just done.) You will not transcend those mortal feelings here. You cannot deny them, you can only come through them.
If you were driving through a fog bank, you would slow down, use your low beams, and keep driving.

1 comment:

Devan said...

Guess there isn't any specific amount of time-lapse between valley experiences, huh?
I know that the Lord is in control as we deal with the "No Job" situation in which we find ourselves. The Lord is with you--and I will be, too.
Love, Devan