The news has shown us all some disturbing stories this week. I suppose they aren’t really “particularly” disturbing. After all, there will be more next week. Anyway, I’m not going to talk about those things here. I’m going to ignore them in favor of reminding myself, and hopefully you, of something much more important.
We have work to do.
|Look closely at his hands. The gesture means “Fear not."|
There will always be turmoil in the world. Obviously. And of course. Yet everything is as it must be. Chaos is a necessary condition for evolution. And evolution is what we are all here for. It may not always seem like it, but that’s a good thing too. Fear not. Everything is okay.
|It’s a very old symbol, |
carried down across many cultures for one reason.
Because it’s true.
Everything is Okay.
At the end of each day on planet earth, the net-positive quietly outweighs the net-negative, bombastic and intimidating as it may be. Even if we can’t easily see it, even if it doesn’t make the news, everyday a man goes without food so that another may eat, a woman goes without rest so that a child may sleep, and entire communities volunteer for hardship so that others may reach higher potentials.
Every day a great step is taken.
How great? Let’s take a step back for some perspective. No, a little further… a little more… Okay that’s far enough. Let’s look for a moment at the really big picture.
What we call history, all the way back to the Big Bang, is really the story of growth. We exist within an ongoing process in which simple things grow into more complex things capable of more and more over time. On this particular island in space, simple elements evolve into breathable air and sustaining water. Simple cells evolve into plants and animals. Autonomous animals evolve from creatures of instinct to creatures of reason. All of that growth happened over billions of years.
The next step? Over the last hundred thousand years or so - a grain of sand on the beach of time - creatures of reason have begun to evolve into beings with the ability to recognize an aspect of themselves we generally refer to as spirit or “soul.”
Evolution does not happen overnight. Fungus does not suddenly become a tree. Instinct does not suddenly become reason. And humankind does not suddenly become whatever it is we are working our way towards in an instant. Rather, steps taken in the direction of higher states come from acts of courage born out of necessity. Some lowly worm had to climb high into the trees before the first butterfly could come. A fish had to venture onto the land before anything walked. And some human being had to trust in something about himself which he could not see or point to before he could do something no animal ever could – take a stand on principle.
Animals do not rush into burning buildings or throw themselves onto live grenades that fall among their comrades. Nor does every man. But with each step taken, more and more will be able say I do not need to fear because death has no dominion over me.
Courage is the key. Where do human beings get their courage? Faith. Not the faith of dogma or religion (although such things can sometimes help). Ultimately, any act of courage comes from an understanding, whether fully realized in a moment or something more subtle, that we are more than our current situation makes it seem.
A baby bird can’t really know what’s going to happen the first time it jumps out of a nest high in tree. But he suspects something about himself, a potential unrealized while he sits and waits.
After that first act of faith, birds can fly at will.
|“Expansion” by Paige Bradley|