‘…things in life can be good or evil, depending on what, with free will, we do with them. Speech can bless or curse. Money can save or destroy. Science can heal or kill. Even nature can work for you or against you: fire can warm or burn, water can sustain life or flood it away.’ – Mitch Albom
I love Mitch Albom. I’ve only read two of his books (Tuesdays with Morrie and Have a Little Faith), but both have been life-changing reading experiences for me. Perhaps the basis of each book (conversations with men who have inspired Albom and who are dying as the story unfolds) strikes a chord, but for whatever reason they are breathtaking.
I read this quote again this evening when I was thinking of something to write. A few weeks ago I agreed with a friend that we would send each other a text message with one exciting thing that we did or saw or experienced every day. It was a great experiment and really helped me to be the most positive I could be. Perhaps this blog will do the same – help me to focus on God every single day. That would be great!!
So my musing for this evening. It isn’t about free will, which is what Mitch is discussing with the Reb in this extract from Have a Little Faith. It’s about the choices that we make in life. Something which I’ve been thinking about for a long time is our nature: should we try to change the people that we are to become better or more ‘God-like’, or should we embrace who we are because that’s the way we were made? I haven’t yet come to a conclusion on this one, even after several years of thinking about it! I can’t help but think that perhaps it would be nice if God would just jump in and give me the answer!
Many of the guidelines in the Bible and in the lives of saints which people may follow can, I think, be condensed into one word: love. It’s an instruction, a state of being, a way of life, a philosophy, a description of God. Love. I want with all my heart to love my neighbour, as Jesus taught. Being human makes that a bit difficult, and probably the thing I struggle with the most. I frequently ask myself: if I can’t love such-and-such, how can I call myself a Christian? And perhaps the answer lies in the saying – you don’t go to God because you’re perfect; you go because you know you’re not perfect.
I am a work in progress, as we all are. But on this path it’s very difficult not to give yourself a hard time when you don’t live up to the standards you set for yourself. Try this one on for size –
Maybe it’s not that hard to become the people that God made us to be after all?
When I first started walking along this path of faith, people would often recommend books to me. I found it really hard to motivate myself to read any of them, always believing that if I was meant to learn something it would happen in my life, and I would learn it first hand. I’m glad to say that I have read and benefited from many books since then, but I do think there is some truth in it. Perhaps it’s all interwoven – to live in love, through love and by love is to connect with God and to fulfil our purpose, and in doing so we can quiet the struggles in our souls.
And so the journey continues…