Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Carrying Life’s Complexities

Ten Commandments for Mature Living #2

This weekend I went to a party. It was a celebration that took place in the midst of a very difficult and painful circumstance. There were old friends, loving children and grandchildren, good food and wine, laughter, and poetry to celebrate the guest of honor. That is, some of the very best things in life. It was a celebration in the midst of a sorrow - or maybe a sorrow in the midst of a celebration.

I also (against my better judgement, as such movies generally make me crazy) watched a “Christian” movie. And yes, it did make me crazy, until we began to think of it as a mockumentary … a Christopher Guest movie about Christians, sort of “Waiting for Guffman” meets “Spinal Tap.”  And then we roared with laughter and guessed everything that would happen next (down to the dead guy’s cell phone message… and now you know what the movie was.)

The thing I hated of course is that it was so predictably “Jesus fixes everything.” Unambiguous. Happy endings. (Even for the dead guy who miraculously had a deathbed … or rather deathstreet) conversion.

Real life is more ambiguous - more like the sorrow in the midst of the party. I believe that because of Jesus, the party is the lasting thing, and the sorrow the fleeting. But until then, there is tension. Hence, this week’s invitation:

Be willing to carry more and more of life’s complexities with empathy.


Few things in life, including our own hearts, are black and white, either/or, simply good or simply bad. Maturity invites us to see, understand and accept this complexity with empathy, so that, like Jesus, we cry tears of understanding over our own troubled cities and our own complex hearts, and like Jesus, too, we can forgive others, the world and ourselves for this complexity and imperfection.  
Ronald Rolheiser

In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable, we come to understand that here, in this life, all symphonies remain unfinished.

Karl Rahner

2 comments:

jennifer said...

Thank you.

Kim Buck said...

Just what I needed to hear. So much of life does feel like sorrow in the midst of a celebration. I'm getting caught up on my blog reading so I'm a little behind, but the timing of reading this was perfect. Appreciate you Carolyn!