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Our Will to Live – A Reflection

April 3, 2020
Our next door neighbors in Florida…

As we continue to ponder this episode in life which we are in the midst of… as we seek God’s presence even in the midst of this darkness… as we look for that light which shines in the darkness which darkness cannot overcome (John 1:5 my paraphrase)… there are choices we can make.

As my very dear new friend and brother said, “We have been sold a bill of goods, that says Disney is the norm and suffering is to be avoided.” Aren’t we all looking for that hope, that sense of normalcy in this world? In our own small corner of the world? Unfortunately we aren’t finding that normalcy in the blare of the 24/7 news channels who regurgitate the same thoughts over and over and over again as the self-appointed media experts go on and on and on … and for the record, this is NOT partisan… all media is doing this. I saw it during Operation Desert Storm and it has continued. In the post-September 11th days, it became a critical mass of overkill while those of us in the military (yes, even this Chaplain/Padre) were trying to figure out how to best protect and defend our installations as well as how to make our way through the new “normal.”

Depending upon where you live, the news and the updates continue as our nations and world try to protect and defend (some better some worse at doing this) the most vulnerable people in our world. In the midst of the chaos and the storm, many of us are seeking anchors and safe harbors in the midst of the storm. Not safe harbors or anchors to separate us from the world, but rather safe harbors and anchors where we can renew our strength and rise up with wings like eagles to quote Isaiah (40:31) as we seek to offer hope, strength, companionship, and light along the way as the Spirit calls us and guides us. We can rely on Her (as I choose to acknowledge God and the Spirit) to guide us.

Sadly, I don’t have easy answers to these issues. I am just like you, a pilgrim wandering in this wilderness. Yet the consolation for me and for all of us is this: we are not alone. We will walk together through this storm. We will carry each other if necessary…we will support and encourage each other… we will LOVE each other! Isn’t that the bottom line? No matter our religious background, the call is to Love! Yesterday I heard the most uplifting and loving call to that peace from a beautiful spirit… an Imam in Europe. The call to love, to encourage, to walk with each other.

Thomas Merton writes in the preface to No Man is an Island the following: The modern world (he writes this in 1966) is beginning to discover, more and more, that the quality and vitality of a {man or woman’s} life depends upon {his or her} own secret will to go on living. There is a dark force for destruction within us, which someone has called the “death instinct.” It is a terribly powerful thing, this force generated by our own frustrated self-love battling with itself. It is the power of self-love that has turned into self-hatred and which, in adoring itself, adores the monster by which it is consumed. It is therefore of supreme importance that we consent to live not for ourselves but for others. (p. xxi)

Dear readers and friends, may we indeed consent to live for others. For in that living we will find the light, hope, and guidance from God. Deus Dona Nobis Pacem et in Terra… God, grant us peace on earth.

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