Tuesday, March 31, 2015

  I hesitated whether to post this piece because it was a difficult one for me, but oh so relevant.
I think we all suffer to some degree in having our aspirations, goals, visions etc. wilted by the seeming unresponsiveness when we share or try and join in with others. That's the subject of the following quote by James Martineau. I confess to abridging it and it can be read in its entirety at this link --- https://archive.org/stream/hoursthoughtons07martgoog#page/n139/mode/1up

   When we experience a regretful glance at the fading colors of the past, or the longing to find rest from the ceaseless flow of change that life brings to us, however big or small; we can react to it in two ways; one is false and evil; the other true and good.
Regarding the false, when it leads us to the mere negative resource of --- ease and exemption. When in a difficult circumstance we can seek a place of ease, or refuge if you will. That familiar place that we go to in search of peace, relief, and usually solitude. 
The other response is to exempt us from the circumstance, conversation, or involvement: either mental or physical: we give up our vision of unity or friendship, camaraderie, or a giving up on a good and Godly goal or aspiration. When instead, our only cry is to be left alone, that our sleep be not disturbed too soon; or we simply shrink from the touch of new duties or opportunities, and along with them the possibility of new sorrow that always attend charitable causes or any new venture.
Sometimes we show anger at the noble passion that urges us to work at something new because of the toil and possible attending dangers; and we end up shutting down the very love that inspired us originally.

  Now the impulse is true and good when it leads us to a positive repose in God. When it makes us, in our quest of peace, go out beyond the steady changes in the state of things, instead of weaving a comfortable nest or refuge within it. That impulse is true when it refers us to a place of stability, a sense of the constancy of the Almighty, a presence of pure and infinite affection, amid and behind the fluctuations of the created things of this world; when, instead of returning to our ark at the first spray of cold flood, we rise upon the wing in search of the upper air, and then take our resolute track to the fixed and illuminated hills. We get our eyes and heart above the confusion and by soaring in faith until we see the goal we first aspired to.
  The soul is faithless which, when it is stung by severities and bowed by afflictions, tries to choke its sympathies and bring a frost upon its mellow seasons. When facing set-backs because people overlook us; don't include us; treat us as an inferior, or we fail to achieve the sense of corporate vision, or worse yet , when our vision is discounted: whatever the circumstance that stings us and bows us down emotionally we must not let it cause us to shut off our sympathy to the original cause or let circumstances chill our initial zeal.
No, just the opposite! It is not by reducing life to less, but by expanding it more; not by muffling its stern tones, but by ringing its sweetness out clearly, then a serene harmony can be obtained.
When duty is severe, we must be more reverently dutiful; if love brings sorrow, we must love more and better; when thought chills us with doubt and fear, we must think again with fuller soul and deeper trust.
These changes, these thousands of soliciting impressions we get when we enter any new circumstance, be it a job, joining a new group of any type: be it a church, study group, charitable cause, opportunity for friendship, any thing we aspire to, or feel called by God to, will have our lower instincts protesting against it; but this is the very discipline by which God would draw us to himself.  

No comments: