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Thursday, August 30, 2012


What areas of life do you take too seriously? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 931).

To the above question I would add its opposite: What areas of life do you not take seriously enough?

I have lived nearly fifty years, and I have seen life as it is. Pain, misery, hunger ... cruelty beyond belief. I have heard the singing from taverns and the moans from bundles of filth on the streets. I have been a soldier and seen my comrades fall in battle ... or die more slowly under the lash in Africa. I have held them in my arms at the final moment. These were men who saw life as it is, yet they died despairing. No glory, no gallant last words ... only their eyes filled with confusion, whimpering the question, "Why?"
I do not think they asked why they were dying, but why they had lived. When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!
[Man of La Mancha - Don Quixote (Cervantes)]

For someone with a history of mental illness, it may seem odd for me to say that I have been overly concerned with sanity. Yet, in retrospect, I can only conclude that I have thought too highly of being “serious” – of being level-headed and even-tempered, of being calm and collected, of being “realistic” – of being accepted as “reliable” and “dependable,” and having worldly savvy and assuming its air of “coolness.” This desire for conventional acceptance and respectability has prevented me from being true to my heart and fully living my faith. As Jesus said to His disciples "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). It is clearly possible to value too highly a safe social status and too little the quiet voice of God. This tendency can be viewed as a combination of many sins including pride, sloth, greed, and lust. When we think of the word “lust” it tends to elicit visuals of extravagant, flamboyant sins of the flesh and we quite overlook that it equally applies to buttoned-down and veiled sins of the flesh brought on by focus on staid social acceptance and approval. Surely at 68, it is time to heed the inner voice and in this way relinquish lesser forms of what goes for sanity.

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