Written in July 0f 2008 after visiting Springfield, IL with my family for a Lincoln educational trip during Independence Day weekend. I felt like I was in a rut at the time, and studying American history of Lincoln's time led me to ponder the mysteries of death and war and faith and people.
How mysterious our world and lives are!
I feel that humans could never come to a completely numbed, unaware stage of existence without taking that mystery away. Death provides us with wonder, along with feelings that sting more as we are living someone else’s death. As long as there is death, there is human wonderment, unless we took that away by dehumanizing death, which could happen. But it is not likely that all humans could relate to death in that unnatural, dehumanized state.
Something inside of our souls longs for mystery.
I find mystery in my faith in God, which sometimes frustrates me. Religion seems to offer us all the answers, but faith really provides us with more unknowns and mystery than we bargained for when we came to it. And beauty, what mystery there is when one person may perceive something as beautiful and another perceives beauty as its opposite.
How many people do I know who want to seem mysterious, when really they reveal themselves through relationship? True, humans are complex and none but God can ever fully know one’s heart. I think we can (and should) find a new understanding of human mystery within that relationship revelation and complexity, though. As someone grows to know someone else, more things seem to present themselves as unknown. The mystery grows as one continues to seek to bring light to it. We peel the layers only to discover that one less penetrable lies beneath, so we start peeling the next one. We desire that relational revelation because we know what mystery comes with it. Successful marriages are a prime example of this; those couples that only continue to grow in love for one another understand that mystery grows as more things are revealed. It’s quite the paradox, actually.
And what about love. How much more mystery can one thing contain? Humans all long for it above all other things. Books, movies, television shows... most all media explores the mystery of love and how we can attain an understanding of it, but again, as it reveals itself, we become more perplexed.
God’s love. Back to my faith. Maybe I am feeling so disconnected from God because I have failed to recognize the mystery that is involved in my faith. This past weekend at the museums in Springfield, I gained more knowledge and only found myself more puzzled. Maybe I am trying to simplify things that I can never actually comprehend.
Questioning the mystery of my faith and the facts about the world I have absorbed is not a terrible thing, though. It’s not something that should worry me into losing faith because I am further exploring the mystery of life, humankind, and God. As I continue to explore, more will be revealed, if all the things I have talked about are true (which, judging by my own experiences and those of others, they are true). Knowing the answers and feeling secure and comfortable is not the end, but more the means to an end. In comfort, we must expect that at some point we will no longer be comfortable so that we can truly appreciate every comfortable moment of our lives for what it is worth.
All along I’ve been asking myself what I need to do to get out of this rut. Well, maybe I’m not in a rut at all. I should be appreciating and pondering this mysteriously uncomfortable time. The limit of humankind. The faithfulness of God, even when he seems yet farther in my mind. Knowledge is power, worldly power, but blind faith is a power given by God’s love to his people, which includes me.
I really desire to love all people the way that all people should be loved: abundantly, unconditionally, and equally. God give me the strength. I know that love is what all people long for and need. That need and that love are both mysterious.