Monday, May 26, 2008

The Eyes of Love

A few nights ago I was sitting in this house with a few candles lighting the place, listening to Undercover's Balance of Power. I was reminded of a time nearly 2 decades ago, when this CD first came out, when I was listening to this same music blasting through the house as the night was getting late, lying in bed with 2 of my closest friends (don't ask because I'm not telling, except to say that the friend lying next to me was a hot girl...but I digress). One of the best songs on there is called Eyes of Love, and it's been sticking in my mind since playing it again the other night. "A million questions burning from the flame that melted you, begging for the answers, continue looking through the eyes of love..."

Continue looking through the eyes of love...This is one of the hardest things to do at a time when life seems determined to beat you down until you stay down. When I feel hurt or betrayed or simply left behind and "uninvited" by those I let my guard down for, those I let into my inner circle. Or sometimes just dealing with idiots in life. Idiots who often have the upper-hand, who are holding all the cards, who are in charge of things by what must surely be divine mismanagement. My first reaction to this sort of thing is anger. And bitterness (despite Paul's admonition not to let that root find soil). I ride (as Sixpence once put it) a "circle of error", in which my thoughts continue to circle back to the pain or percieved injustice I feel, trying somehow to articulate it or make sense of it. Begging for the answers, to the question "why?" or "how could this happen?". Or maybe just wanting things to be different. Wanting this to "shall pass" already. Not sure if the future holds anything better though. And then just when I needed to hear it, the lyrics to yet another profound Undercover song get stuck in my head and start to work on my heart and soul... "Continue looking through the Eyes of Love..."

It seems almost impossible to do sometimes, this admonition of Christ's to return good for evil, to pray for one's enemies, to love and pray for those who persecute you. Heck, just to love others period is a thought more than I can seem to manage at times. Trying to imagine what this looks like through the eyes of love. Trying to hold on to what Miroslav Volf calls the "Will to Embrace". But if I can somehow remove my thoughts from the mire they are in and look at the situation objectively, somehow look AT myself from OUTSIDE of myself, see what I look like in these circumstances, I have to ask myself, "what kind of person do I want to be?". Do I want to be a bitter angry man, kicking anything in my path and warning others with my whole way of being not to get too close? Are the knocks life doles out a legitimate reason to be this way, no matter how deep or hard or painful? The bitterness and rage become a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy after a time, inviting nothing but the same into one's life, a "circle of error". "Become like what you want to attract" as the saying goes.

There is, of course, a balance to be found here. One can't go around pretending to be happy while ignoring the pain one is experiencing. But, if one can find it, there is a peace and joy that goes deeper than any outward circumstance can affect...If you can find it. For me, reading Buddhist writers like Thich Nhat Hanh or Pema Chodron helps, or Christians like Henri Nouwen or Mother Teresa. People who have known the pain and trials of living while at the same time leading lives of deep love for others and for God. I see that it is possible, But as U2 once sang, "I still haven't found what I'm looking for".

Thursday, May 15, 2008

All Quotes By: David Dark

"I suspect there's something a little demonic in finding others boring or unworthy of our interest."

"No so-called friendship that required the denying of another friendship could be worthy of the name, and any joy that required the exclusion of a peer would be forever illegitimate."

"...humans whipped into a frenzy of what they take to be righteous indignation (whether by waves of nationalism, party politics, or talk radio) often have an unfortunate habit of crucifying people."

" 'He died for me' is a moving phrase, but it's often also one way of drowning out the example of the life Jesus lived and the question of whether or not we dare to apply it to the way we conduct our own lives."

"There is a righteousness that transcends our percieved self-interest, and we get to pursue it in the hope that a better self-interest (not necessarily pragmatically verifiable) will follow. We get to live in hope of a better health than we're currently defending at all costs, including, perhaps, the forfeiture of our souls."

"it's always useful to keep in mind the difference between pessimism and realism in the service of truthfulness. There is a disillusionment that revels in self-satisfied navel-gazing and the insistence that there is no warmth or comfort to be found, but there's another kind (often mistaken for cynicism) that is merely holding out for the real thing."

"the Through-A-Glass-Darkly clause (dare to do our duty as we understand it) that marks all careful speech is witnessed in Lincoln's admonition that we can only speak, see, and understand fallibly. A determined awareness of our deficient imaginations will mark all talk of God, evil, freedom, and necessity (a difficult temptation in an election year), but if a nation or its leaders are to resist the drive to consider godlikeness as something to be grasped, this confession must never be cast aside."

"One peculiarity of the present age is that, in some cases, our powers of application are so compromised that we're incapable of recognizing as morally edifying anything that doesn't advertise itself as such."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008