Over the Christmas period I discovered the limits of the old cooker/stove I have. It’s small, it’s old, it’s well-used….but it works.
‘What matters is not the idea a man holds, but the depth at which he holds it.’ Ezra Pound
Over breakfast this morning, my thoughts turned to buying a new one – to entertain more (at least that’s my excuse). And, I’m also reading a Richard Rohr book that reminds us, deeply, of how those ancient Celts and mystics had a different perception about the world. Rohr also goes onto say that spiritual things, and especially our descriptions and thoughts about the Source of all, are but metaphors at the very best.
So, here’s a metaphor about life. Life is like a pan of water on the stove.
(Now I’m thinking of Forrest Gump, but that thought has now passed). We earnestly want life to be untroubled and just ‘simmer’, we want an easy time, but life isn’t always like that. Sometimes, no matter how cool, calm and collected we are (and sometimes we might be an ‘agitation’ to someone unknowingly, and yes, sometimes knowingly) life gets ‘hotter’ and hotter’, and like it or not life ‘boils’. This strikes home as maybe the ‘fallout’ after an argument; a worrying ‘distancing’ from someone for some reason,and before we know it, it’s too late to make amends; or some other calamity that seems to come out of nowhere rears its ugly head. Unwelcome news is always….well, unwelcome! Right now, I’ve had some ‘bad’ news. I have gallstones – apologies if you’re eating as you read this.
‘We know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves…groan inwardly as we wait..’ Romans 8.22-23 part, The Book.
If life is like a pan of water on the stove, then sometimes, life boils.
And, to make it worse. Whilst my pan or yours (ie life) is boiling, some smart-alec, some holier-than-thou person (whose life only ever simmers, or so they tell us) looks on, condescendingly. Our life is ‘boiling’, and now we have to deal with the ‘heat’ and judgementalism (from others, and sometimes even from ourself).
One of my favourite mystics from yesteryear, Meister Eckhart wrote: ‘Life is a boiling up and pouring out of itself, scalding and melting and bubbling within itself, light penetrating light. For life is as it were a gushing up, a thing welling up in itself, pouring a part of itself into another part, as it runs forth and bubbles over beyond itself.’
So, life is a boiling up!
Suddenly, as I sit here supping coffee, having read that, thought about it, life feels a little bit (more) understandable. Sometimes, life ‘boils’ or perhaps that is this life’s normal state, and the Source either sends it or allows it, and yet we in some almost-unbelievable way benefit from it.
This led me onto some more thoughts:
– we can be our own worst enemy, beating ourselves up. Stop it. The Incarnated One talked about showing love, and that includes us as well as others, and
– sometimes calamity will come our way and life will ‘boil’ – and those that look on because they say they only ever ‘simmer’ are either being untruthful or are missing out in some real and cosmic way, so don’t worry about them, and
– all things work to the good. If we’re promised by the Source of All that all things will be rectified, and we lose someone because of an argument and then ‘lose them ‘because they slip out of time and into Eternity, it may seem to be over, but the promise hasn’t been fulfilled! Logic (as well as deep spirituality) demands that it isn’t over, yet. There’s more to come, and I find that comforting. Life goes on elsewhere, and if things are not resolved here, then they are resolved there, and that buoys me up in the present. It means that if you or I went to a spiritualist (and I’m not advocating that – apologies to my spiritualist friends) then Great Aunt Maud who I might have upset just before she went ‘Home’ wont be upset with me – she’s in Bliss, (and it wouldn’t be Bliss if she were upset), and finally,
– because of my already-there-because-we-never-existentially-left theology (but we just think we have left Bliss), we’re (still) in that place of Peace where the ‘boiling’ has stopped, where all things are resolved, but for the time being the physical world seems to obscure that Heavenly realm from our point of view. So, I’m really right there with Great Aunt Maud, reconciled.
Ah, if only more people thought like those ancient Celts, and Druids of old.
However I feel today, or you feel…whether we’re going through a segment of life which is ‘boiling’ at the moment, it will pass, and in one very real sense it has already been dealt with. In that Place-Beyond-Time all things have been resolved and reconciled in the most ‘bigly’ (to use a word by someone who’s name I can’t remember) way you can imagine. But, don’t spend too much time imagining…because for the time being we cannot possibly imagine that realm of total peace and bliss. Remember, such deep, spiritual things can only be attempted using metaphors.
He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Revelation 21:5, The Book
Meanwhile, I’m still pondering buying a new cooker/stove. What do you think? Not necessarily about the last sentence but about the last few paragraphs?