Tuesday, October 19, 2010

30 Days of Truth, 7: Life Worth Living

Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for. 

(let's just pretend I put this up on Monday, ok? 'Cause I started it on Monday, and I'm pretty sure that totally counts)

I take exception to the grammar of this prompt. "Someone who has made your life worth living...for?" Is it that they make your life worth living for you, or them? Are you living your life for them? Or do they make your life worth living by being part of it? I em confused.

I'm going to go with my own interpretation: Someone who makes my life worth living when nothing else does.

Cue the organ music... I have to say, God. It sounds trite and corny and there's nothing I hate more than churchy cheese (with the possible exception of the idea that if you object to having your Christianity with extra cheese it means you don't love/are ashamed of God/Jesus) but it's true, y'all.

I mentioned the perfectionism, right? And the fact that I feel things way too strongly? For as long as I can remember (and I have a very good memory) those two things have combined in me to result in occasional but overwhelming feelings of deep despair about the world, both personally and in a larger sense. I can remember, even as a young child, thinking, There is so much suffering and pain and emptiness and failure in the world. How can anything not be pointless and irredeemable? I found my answers in books.

C.S. Lewis, Madeline L'Engle, Lucy Maude Boston, Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper and many others taught me about God. Now few of the books I'm thinking of (in fact I would say none of them although I know many people would disagree about Lewis & Narnia) are explicitly "Christian." In fact at least one of those authors was an atheist and reflected her views on the church quite strongly in her books. However, all of them knew there was something more to the universe than suffering and despair, and none of them were egotistical enough to pretend that they knew precisely what that more was. In all of the stories that I thrived on as a child, there is an element of wonder and mystery, like a vine hanging over the quicksand of nihilism needing only to be grabbed hold of in order to avoid being sucked under.  These authors knew there was more and that the more was something both great and good. And they all agreed that the good is allied with love, and that the bad thrives alongside hate. Looking back now, one of the things that stands out among these storytellers is that they did not claim to have the answers. Even Lewis's Narnia hints that there is far more that is unknown than that which can be known.

The message all of my favorite stories had in common though, was that although the unknown can be terrifying, we need not fear it. That although life is hard and confusing and battles need to be faced with courage, there is hope and, ultimately, all will be well. We are not alone. Someone greater than us is in control.

I learned more about God in children's stories than I ever did in church.

------------------- 30 Days of Truth--------------------

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