Life can be a roller coaster. So can our emotions. We are living in a reactionary time where people react with untempered emotions. Sometimes it makes things worse. Some times life requires a great deal of emotion to influence change. Emotions are a part of the human story. We do need them. But what about our own emotions when hardship happens or when we aren’t doing so well in life? Each one of us has a different emotional barometer. When they rise and fall along with the up’s and downs of life, what do we lean on for hope, certainty or truth? Our emotions don’t provide a secure foundation to hang on to during a trial. This next post is a snippet from a friend who grappled with this very thing and has some helpful wisdom to share with all of us.
Today my guest writer is Ed Schief. Any one who knows him is always the better. He is both uncomplicated and deep. Without fail he starts a meeting with a funny story. He is the perfect combination of artist and pragmatist. They really do exist. Ed works as a musician. He has a duo music act with wife, Molly. You can find their FaceBook page by clicking here. He’s also a music director for a very cool and eclectic church called, Manna.
Everyone, meet Ed.
Today I saw a red and yellow sunset and thought, how insignificant I am! Of course, I thought that yesterday too, and it rained.” ~ Woody Allen
At a time in my life when things were very, very dark, I stood looking out my front window at the cemetery across the street. The city kept this cemetery in utterly beautiful condition. It was like a park with its’ mature trees, manicured grass, and paved pathways. The sun was filtering through the leaves. It was gorgeous.
And I hated it.
I hated the beauty of it that afternoon, because it seemed like a cheat.
I thought, Yeah, it’s beautiful, but someday it will look horrible. It will look horrible because everything in this life ends up dying. Why bother enjoying it when you KNOW it’s going to fade and rot and disappoint you. Oh sure, the next life will be great, I believe that. But this life? A complete and utter veil of tears. Better to just hang on and try to make it through without hoping for too much.
I was pretty down that day.
Less than a week later my situation brightened considerably and I felt a wonderful welling up of hope. I was again looking out at the same cemetery on another beautiful day. This time I felt differently.
I thought, Okay, there IS a reason to enjoy the beauty of this world, God HAS made beauty for us to enjoy, and I should take what I can get and be thankful. Things really do sometimes turn out good.
And then this came to mind.
Three days ago the cemetery made me feel despondent and I came to a conclusion about the nature of the world. Today it makes me feel hopeful, and I’ve changed my conclusion to something else.
If I’m going to come to a solid conclusion about the world, about life, about the nature of the universe, I’ll clearly have to base it on something OTHER than my feelings, because my feelings are completely unreliable. I have to look outside myself, find the truth someplace else and bring that truth in where I can steady myself on it.
What’s the truth about God, the nature of the universe, life, all that?
The answer is: go out and find it for yourself.
Read the Bible, talk to people you trust, read what great thinkers and theologians have written. Ask God for wisdom. Work for it. And when you’ve worked for it like that, you won’t be adrift, vulnerable to every big and little wind that blows.