Monday, November 7, 2016

children of this world

Wheat and tares together sown
Are to joy or sorrow grown
--a harvest hymn

We are all suckers for a meet-cute. So many adolescent slumber parties come to mind, of a group of girls gathered on sleeping bags, swapping their parents' love stories, because isn't it just precious to think of Mr. & Mrs. So-and-So as swinging, young things running into each other by chance in a car dealer's parking lot.

Rewind a decade and change, and you are now the same age, feeling less-than-swinging most days, an abhorrent mixture of old and young, and now those happy mythologies of youth become horrendous nightmares.

Every choice you make is haunted by your parents' stories. You are confronted with the reality of each choice having the potential to open up a radically different path of life. Even the small choices seem like big life decisions. For example: If I don't go to this party, will I miss out on meeting the love of my life? If I go to this lecture, and not that one, will I miss out on making that connection with a mentor? If I go to dinner with these friends, and not those friends, will I never give a potentially life-changing friendship a chance? Do I stay in my comfort zone? Do I push myself? Do I move onto another relationship? Do I stick with what I have?

Which choice is right? And which is wrong? And how do I know I'm not making horrible mistakes with my life each day?

There is no answer, of course, to these anxieties. There is only trust.

And the necessary acknowledgement that good and ill are so intrinsically woven together in this broken world of ours that it is often impossible for us to discern them in the moment. The wheat and the tares are often only distinguishable in retrospect.

Selfishness, generosity, self-development, kindness, pride, love, jealousy, hope, sloth, and goodness are all mixed together inside of us. Our actions are touched by, informed by, all of these.

There is only trust. That in pursuing beauty, we will not be led astray. That in seeking joy, our hope will be fulfilled. That we are promised peace, and it will be ours.

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