I am moved to wonder about the nature of things:

Things of this world are not bad. Things of this world are good; they are good because GOD made them. But, things of this world are not what we are made for; although we, too, are good. Things of this world exist to give us a choice. For, without options, without different things to choose from, we could not have any choice at all (by definition), let alone free will.

GOD gave us the intelligence and the possibilities so that we would have the freedom to choose. But, the freedom to choose comes at a cost: responsibility. We have the obligation to choose and the responsibility to be held accountable for our choices.

And the first, last and daily choice we cannot escape is the choice between GOD and the things of this world.

Two Goods.

GOD is good, things of this world are good. How about some of each? After all, it’s ALL good, isn’t it? Yasureyoubetcha.

However, while these mortal, flesh-n-bone bodies need things of this world to survive and even thrive, theses bodies will cease to function one day, and the things of this world will too (just ask the dinosaurs). I guess we are the ultimate house of cards on shifting sand. And, if all you see is a mortal, temporal, temporary, this-is-all-there-is existence, then your life just got really, really simple, and really, really pointless. At least I am unable to convince myself that all of the heartache and body aches all thru my short, miserable life were meant to enable me to eat this pepperoni pizza.

Actually, I would not call five score years a “short” life, but the heartaches I have lost count of, and the body aches I have never counted are real enough.

So, where does that leave us? I mean, if we can’t depend on the things of this world to bring us satisfaction and even joy, then what is there? I mean, what point is life after you have the iPhone and the 60 inch flat screen tv and you can tell your co-workers you’re flying to Lexington, Kentucky for the weekend, just to watch some horses run around a dirt track (and, only once, at that). At least the Indianapolis 500 takes all day, not just two minutes. (No, I’ve never seen either race, even though I grew up in Indiana.)

Maybe the things we can touch and smell and hear are not all there is? Maybe we do have a choice between things of this world and, um, I guess it would be “things not of this world.” If we have free will, then I guess we do have that choice. If we don’t have that choice, then we don’t have free will. Which would you want, if you (wait for it) had the choice?

Me? Both, thank you very much.

Catch-not-22

In fact, things of this world were made for us human beings; and we human beings were made for the things of this world. Pretty clever, huh? Kinda like, fish need water and birds need air, and presto (as if by magic) there is water for fish and air for birds. Who woulda thought? We human beings eat more different kinds of foods than any other creature (if you ever had balut or natoo, you know what I mean by “different”); we can live in more different climates than any other creature (if you live east of the Rocky Mountains, you can attest to what “different” means when it comes to winters, esp recently). When it comes to living in this world and doing things in this world, humans can do more different things (to varying degrees of success) than any other creature. I guess that house of cards is made up of jacks? (That would be “jack of all trades” for those of you that haven’t had you first double shot espresso of the day.)

In summary, human beings were made to go almost anywhere and do almost anything; there is very little about this physical world that is not accessible to human beings. Such versatility. Why? So that our choices could be very nearly limitless. So that our egos and abilities and talents could be given free reign. We are not big fish in a little pond. We are small fish in a unfathomable cosmos, and we want to explore it. We need to. We have to. We are made to.

So, what’s the catch? The catch is, damn it, we are responsible for our choices. Or, to quote someone who used to be a very important person in my life: “choices have consequences.”

Tilting at windmills

The fact of the matter is, there are worldly things that are good to have and other-worldly things that are good to have. Stands to reason.  You know: some of this, some of that; a little bit more of this, a little bit less of that. For some, it seems like 100% here-n-now; if it feels good, do it; the person who dies with the most toys wins; and 0% whatever else there might be “out there”. Certainly our culture pounds this mentality into us: get as much as you can, while you can, and absolutely nothing – and no one – else matters.  Whew!  No wonder we’re tired all the time: running day and night after the latest and greatest novelty.  And people think Don Quixote was a fool.

But this brings us to what it is you put in your old kit bag.  First, there is more than enough in the world for most of us.  Most people who have the resources to be reading this are sufficiently wealthy and live in sufficiently free societies to have a veritable cornucopia at their fingertips (if you are not one of these, please advise: I really don’t have very good grasp of who my audience might be).  What you pick and put into your lives is just a small fraction of what you could.  Everyday, we chase after more and more, fall into bed exhausted and join the same rat race again the next day.  There is no danger of running out of stuff; either stuff to do, or stuff to stuff into our garages and our rented storage containers.

And, while we are gathering stuff to stuff ourselves with, where is GOD?  Where is our preparation to meet Him?  Oh yeah, “Tomorrow – I’ll love ya tomorrow.”  Maybe not.

In the first place, why are you convinced you’ll have tomorrow?  All you really have is today.  Yesterday is just a memory, and tomorrow is just a dream.  In the second place, if you’ve spent all your earthly time pursuing things of this world and haven’t given your life after this one much thought, then how will you recognize it when death hits you in the face like a cold, wet fish?

Besides, hope is not really a strategy.

+++

While this essay really doesn’t end here; too much has happened in my little corner of the world recently to keep on this particular track.  Rest assured: I’ll come back to it  (as some of you know, with me there is no such thing as a short answer).  In the meantime, mosey on over to BernardGaynor.com.au   I am a very proud United States Marine (no longer on active duty), and I just can’t imagine going through what has recently happened to Major Gaynor.  Sadly, I don’t think the Red, White and Blue is far behind.

    • Kari
    • June 7th, 2014

    Fortunately Pete, God never moves….He is always there and as you have referenced…it is us who move.

    We make the choices and many times, as a people, do not take the responsibility and therein lies our path to destruction…which for some of us is coming sooner than we think.

    There was a song, years ago, that Peggy Lee made somewhat famous….the message was there, but no one wanted to explore it as it was not the flavor of the month at the time, so therefore not too popular.

    The name of the song you ask?

    “Is That All There Is?”

    Please forgive the length of this post as I am including the lyrics to “Is That All There Is?”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    “I remember when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire.
    I’ll never forget the look on my father’s face as he gathered me up
    in his arms and raced through the burning building out to the pavement.
    I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go up in flames.
    And when it was all over I said to myself, “Is that all there is to a fire?”

    Is that all there is, is that all there is
    If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
    Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
    If that’s all there is

    And when I was 12 years old, my father took me to the circus, the greatest show on earth.
    There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears
    And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads.
    And as I sat there watching the marvelous spectacle
    I had the feeling that something was missing.
    I don’t know what, but when it was over,
    I said to myself, “Is that all there is to a circus?”

    Is that all there is, is that all there is
    If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
    Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
    If that’s all there is

    Then I fell in love, with the most wonderful boy in the world.
    We would take long walks by the river or just sit for hours gazing into each other’s eyes.
    We were so very much in love.
    Then one day, he went away. And I thought I’d die — but I didn’t.
    And when I didn’t I said to myself, “Is that all there is to love?”

    Is that all there is, is that all there is
    If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing…..

    I know what you must be saying to yourselves.
    If that’s the way she feels about it why doesn’t she just end it all?
    Oh, no. Not me. I’m in no hurry for that final disappointment.
    For I know just as well as I’m standing here talking to you,
    when that final moment comes and I’m breathing my last breath, I’ll be saying to myself,

    Is that all there is, is that all there is
    If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
    Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
    If that’s all there is!”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Unfortunately for many…that is all there is!
    thanks for listening…or reading to be more accurate!
    Me…always a friend,
    Kari

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