Wednesday, January 5, 2004


(1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery; a revealing scene or moment.

It seems to be the season for such events, but I can't tell you the last time I had a truly illuminating discovery. In the absence of these types of discovery in my life, I will share with you a simple intuitive grasp I did have recently.

The more I delve into my observations of human nature, I am amazed at two things: (1) how much pain and suffering human beings can endure and, at the same time, (2) how easily human beings can be annoyed and preoccupied with the mundane elements of Life.

A spilled stain, a minor fender bender, a missed job opportunity - those ordinary elements of Life that can often times occupy so much of our time and mind. We fixate on these elements as if to say to ourself, "If I can just control these things, Life will be okay." At the same time, we quietly and courageously shoulder such elements as life-threatening illnesses, death, horrific disasters, and personal handicaps without a whimper or complaint. It seems almost ironic. It's seems too hard to focus on the heavy beam of wood we're carrying because of that splinter that found its way underneath our toenail. And yet, it's not ironic at all...

I either read or was told a long time ago that "We are not physical beings walking in a spiritual world, but rather, we are spiritual beings walking in a physical world." Perhaps it is specifically because of our spiritual nature that causes us frustration in the mundane - for it is the mundane that distracts us from the importance of Life itself. Perhaps there is something engrained in our very being that eventually knows that these life-threatening illnesses, death, horrific disasters, and personal handicaps are what allows us to focus on what Life is all about: the glorification of God in a flawed and failing world. So we are and remain restless because our journey is not over and we are not yet home.

Think of your last week and what occupied most of your time and frustration. Was it the "heart of the matter" of Life or was it primarily, in the greater scheme of things, the mundane elements of Life? And when we hear of the horrific tragedy caused by the tsunamis off the shores of Sri Lanka and Indonesia, are we not quickly refocused on the very basic and caring elements of Life?

Perhaps intrinsically we already know we are called to shoulder that heavy beam of wood in Life. And perhaps intrinsically we already know that the enemy of all that is great is all that is good; or in this case, the enemy of all that is major is all that is mundane. Because we are spiritual beings walking in a physical world, it is the mundane that causes us the most discomfort, for it distracts from all that is most important in Life... and just knowing this is an epiphany.

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