A wonderful evening last night after a busy week of college, work, PCC meetings and all sorts. Out with my mum to see a film I was desperate to see and am very glad to have caught. The Lucky One is a beautiful film. The film is really summed up with the memorable words from Logan which have stayed with me…
Everyone has their own destiny. Not everyone makes the choice to follow it. I’m lucky I did.
At a recent lunch with a friend they said that I always seemed so peaceful. So positive. So at one with life. Well I’m not always and they were reminded of that when I was frustrated and ranted to them the next day (apologies), but it’s true that often I seem to be more at peace with life than a lot of people.
For example, amongst many things one of our topics for A Level Religious Studies is that of “free will and determinism”. It really gets you thinking about what freedom really is, and if freedom exists, if it is possible, if we are really only products of biology or social experiences, or if we are in fact completely free, starting off as blank slates.
There are a lot of complicated ideas I could go into, but I’ll just explain mine here because that’s the one I still and have always believed in (since I was tiny not just since I was a churchgoer).
We are born good. We are innately good. “Sin”, human failings, wrongdoings, comes from turning away from who we are, infected by experience of a world that has forgotten what love is.
And I think that the reason the world has forgotten what love is is simple. We do not choose who we fall in love with. And I don’t just mean a partner, but all of humanity. We fall in love with the desperate mother crying out through charity television adverts, and we turn away. Why? Because our society has become paranoid, has been told that material posessions show our worth, that we must be powerful to survive and succeed.
But living is very different to surviving. Are we to survive, or are we to live?
It’s this idea that we don’t choose who we fall in love with that I want to explore. Because what people can do, is suppress feelings. Stunt them, not allow them to grow.
But God is love. To really live, we have to have a little faith. See the beauty in reality, pay attention to the deeper things.
I told my friend at our lunch (before I ranted, although I have now returned to my place of peace – we all have off days and that’s ok!) that I’d been thinking a lot over the last few weeks about how in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus explores the idea of losing your life to find it…
For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
I didn’t use to get what he meant. But for quite a while now, although I can’t pinpoint the moment, it clicked with me. I haven’t read anything about other people’s views and interpretations so I don’t know what others think, but to me Jesus is saying, let go. You don’t need to worry about always being in control. You need to give up what life’s convention has told you to cling to, let go of power, let go of anxiety. Breathe. Trust.
To save your life you must lose your life, then you will find it.
We don’t choose who we fall in love with. But isn’t love the most beautiful aspect of life? How could we live without it? Love brings us to life, love is what completes people. And God is Love, and God’s children have God in them, Spirit, breath, an ability to follow that love. Someone heading to get married has put their life into the other’s hands, has committed to them, has promised to be a part of this thing called ‘love’ that just happened. You can’t make love. You can’t create love with power. You must let go, you must follow your ‘heart’, your ‘conscience’, your ‘soul’, your ‘intuition’… whatever you want to call it.
To save your life you have to lose your life, then you find it. Following love, following God, following our paths, ‘destiny’, is not although it might sound like it a path to giving up complete freedom. We are free. But it is about choosing to love yourself, to know God, to believe in God not just of God, to realise in some revelation moment that God is love and God created all things good because God loves, and as a product of that love it is in living in this light that we excel, whatever we may want to do.
If it’s true that we start off with what Aquinas called the tabula rasa, a blank slate in which our experiences and ideas begin to cover, then that doesn’t destroy that either. Because we are born free, we learn, we live, and to recognise our beauty and the beauty of that world we must simply look at all things with love. Then we see the goodness of creation, of nature, of ourselves, of God, and everything shines. There is peace.
To find your life, you must find this light, this love, and trust it. We who follow our ‘destinies’, who let go, can feel so much joy, and presence in hardship.
Faith is like floating in seventy thousand fathoms of water. Think of the image. Faith is trusting that the water will buoy you up. If you do, you’ll float. But if you thrash around or become rigid with fear, you’ll sink.
Trust the water, and then gently steer wherever you want to go. Let go. Be true to yourself. Love. Live.