Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What Great Writers Those Guys Are!

There are two great posts up at Sigmund, Carl and Alfred (and you thought they could only shrink your head!).

Of Burning Bushes, Places, and Time looks at suffering. I know he isn't Catholic but (and, of course, this is a compliment) he could be with this meditation on what we learn from suffering.
First, we learn the easy lessons. To find God in nature, and beauty and music requires only minimal insight. As we progress through life, we learn to see God in the challenges and heartbreak that we all experience. That requires a more sophisticated set of skills. Finally, we learn to see God through loss and pain and suffering. That requires yet another set of skills- and that also requires the kind of humility learned from lessons of life.

In our times of pain, suffering and loss, God is not abandoning us. In fact, He is closer to us than ever, because pain and loss are the other side of the Creation coin. In the same way God oversaw Creation, He oversees loss.

We cannot claim to know God until we have experienced real fear, pain, loss and suffering. We cannot claim to be secure in our faith until the strength of that faith is tested and reaffirmed. We cannot claim to know God until we are comfortable in knowing that we are not all knowing.
The Milkman shows us the life of a good man and loving father whose impact goes far beyond what some would call his humble place in life. Which Siggy shows us is not humble at all.
Mr. Smith dutifully completed his rounds, everyday, delivering milk and eggs, cheese and butter, to those who felt sorry enough for him to pay the extra few cents so he could make a living and raise his daughters. My parents were among the clients who got to know him and appreciate his ever happy disposition.

The milkman would regale his clients with his weather predictions, warnings of traffic safety and stories of his growing daughters. He would beam with pride as he recounted every prize and spelling bee won, every report card and every milestone passed. I thought that kind of pride was silly and believed my mother or father only feigned interest in Mr Smith's stories, because they felt sorry for him.

When I became an uncle and then a parent and began to watch the children of my closest friends take their first tentative steps in life, I understood that my parents weren't feigning interest at all in the well being of Mr Smith's daughters...
Do yourself a favor and go read both stories in their entirety.

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