Cosmic Otherness & Divine Irony
March 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
My new-found spirituality and identity as a Christian has thus far been bittersweet. I’m grateful for my faith and the understanding which it is beginning to allow. I’m excited and encouraged by the questions that it is beginning to answer and practical blueprint for living life which it is providing . Consequently, and most importantly perhaps, it has also blessed me with hope for the future. Having previously attempted to answer all of life’s “big questions” through reason alone, my head was aspin with abstract philosophical questions of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. My desire to understand was synonymous with a child’s game of Whack-a-Mole at the local Chucky Cheese’s. Questions would pop up and rarely be sufficiently answered, only to be replaced by yet further questions. Just when it would seem that some progress was made, a dizzying host of other questions would surface, the answers to which would seldom seem satisfactory and oftentimes conflict with others at which I had so confidently arrived in the past. And most disappointing, my approach rarely yielded any useful guidance for developing a manner of living consistent with my purpose in life.
But despite the frustration and confusion it would sometimes cause, my reason persevered long enough to finally see the truth of the Christian God and Christ as Savior. I wish that I was able to report that with my new sense of faith and understanding I have answered all of my questions and attained peace of mind. However, this has certainly not been the case. Again, I should stress that my faith has provided me with new understanding and provided me with hope. Posessing it now, I wouldn’t trade it for anything and look forward to building upon the progress that I have made. But the process has been painful to say the least, even at this early stage of acceptance and belief, at a time when many new faithful relate feelings of bliss and fulfillment with their new perceptions of reality and way of life.
The most significant hurdle that I’m trying to overcome presently is the profound and almost humiliating difference that exists between my view of myself and God and Christ. God is Absolute Unlimited Perfection. He lacks nothing. Christ, as fully human yet fully divine, perfectly exemplifies God-like thought and action in the world. How far from emulating and imitating God and Christ am I! The recognition that I am self-centered and ruled by desire and passion in pursuit of inconsequential material wordly things is a good start to furthering my spirituality and relationship with God and Christ. But its uncomfortable at the same time in that I sense on sometimes a moment to moment basis I am not as disciplined as I need to be to fulfill my life’s purpose. Its utterly disparaging, to say the least. This realization and its resultant discomfort isn’t solely mental unfortunately and sometimes takes on actual physical symptoms – anxiousness and an upset stomach.
Its difficult to express, but the feeling is most accurately and succinctly summed up as a “Cosmic Otherness”. I have feelings of anxiety as a result of my past, present, and no doubt future shortcomings and how these might relate to my Salvation. My ongoing preoccupation with the worldly and material and the desires and passions it elicits is most of the time to influential to overcome. I experience despair on account of not yet having had, nor likely to ever have for that matter, a Moses-like “burning bush” experience. This, in turn, causes feelings of incompleteness and insignificance. And I feel guilty when knowing the right thing to do in certain situations but not following through and actually doing it.
There exists a Divine Irony to all of this. While I realize that my faith has helped to identify my purpose in life and will hopefully allow for my fulfillment of it, a profound sense of alienation from the world has somehow ensued. I know that my past pursuits of financial security, knowledge, and pleasures of the material world are not things which matter most in life. At best, when considered for what they rightly are, these represent merely means through which my purpose may be attained through faith in and Love for God and Christ. What my calling requires, rather, is to develop a loving spiritual relationship with God and Christ as exemplified through service to others and Loving thoughts and actions of acceptance, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding. However, the material and worldly is all that I have ever known. Attempting to subdue my desire and passion for these things, or at least alter my perspective to no longer be attached to them, has created a significant and sometimes painful void in my life. For 35 years, the material and worldly was the context in which I lived my life. Spirituality and faith were things that I understood as abstract concepts but never experienced, let alone based a manner of living upon. But all this has changed with my new-found knowledge of and faith in God and Christ. Thus the irony – while the truth may set me free, it sure does feel like punishment at times.
So the sometimes frustrating and uncomfortable process plays itself out in which my relationships with the things of this world change in favor of hopefully those of the next. I understand that this challenge should not be viewed as a hardship but, instead, an opportunity to grow and develop my faith and understanding. But most of the time, having that perspective seems a lot easier said than done.