Friday, April 30, 2010
This lesson in particular struck a cord in me. When I was little "You shall not kill" seemed like the Commandment least useful for daily living. But as my mother noted, Jesus taught that "You shall not kill" also applies to anger and hatred. After all, murder comes from such feelings.
But sometimes it feels like that as long as you don't act on the anger and hatred, it's fine to store it up inside you. At least, I used to think that way. When I was in middle school in particular, every grade there would be one or two kids who I hated, who made me constantly angry. I thought I was justified in my anger because they didn't seem to care about the effect of their jokes and teasing, and because they hit on topics that very sensitive for me at the time, but thinking back on it perhaps I just didn't understand them, or perhaps they had too much on their mind from other matters that made them careless, as my Mom pointed out, God asks us not to judge.
In any case, my anger, my hatred got me nothing. There were a few cases where I tried telling them off, but those were always ineffective (I've found that telling someone to stop a hurtful behavior works if that person was your friend to begin with, but is much more difficult when there isn't that bond). The anger also never gave me any sense of release for my frustrations, I had many of them in middle school and I thought perhaps if I could focus my irritations on a few people I could release it. Instead, I found my frustrations intensified as my thoughts circled around my anger. I found that when I was angry or caught up in hate, my enjoyment of life lessened, my relationships with those I cared about suffered, and my spiritual life faltered.
I'm not sure if there was a special moment when I decided to stop hating people. In fact, even now there are moments when I slip into that state of mind, but nowadays I take care to pull myself out of it. Sometime around my freshman year of high school a change happened in my way of thought. Whether there was a moment or not, I do believe this was a gift from God. I began to notice that I had no objects of hate, and though I tried to pick out historical figures or concepts to hate, I realized there was no need to hate. Anger and hate simply kept me from growing closer to God.
Later in high school, as I became more convinced that hate was harmful to the soul, I found to my surprise, without intending it, I had befriended most of those classmates I had once considered my enemies. Thinking about my later friendships, my previous anger seems silly.
I get angry at times, but I've been making the effort to catch myself and stop myself from being caught up in anger. Anger, hatred, even if they don't lead to actions like murder, the person who bears them I believe suffers, the mind, body, and spirit become corrupted, and the sin of hate pollutes the person's relationship with God. And it is so unnecessary. At least in my life, I have found that if I seek to embrace love and reject hate, I am much happier for it, I am much more successful in life for it, and I feel closer to God.
After all, if we love God, shouldn't we love his children, who are created in his image?
Those are just some thoughts I had about this Commandment, and I thought I'd share them.
Anywho, take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!
And God Bless.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Anywho, the random reference in the title of this note is to "Someday" by Sugar Ray
And I suppose I'm just reminded of it because of that line "Someday, when my life has passed me by/ I'll sit back and wonder why you were always there for me" - because I got to say sometimes I wonder why I got all the good friends I got. It's really very lucky, very blessed, very awesome indeed.
Now in my life I've had up and downs, and while these days are far from my lows, my life, in some respects, fall shorts of my more ambitious dreams. But what I never could have dream of, is how many good folk I have in my life and how close I hold them to my heart. And maybe someday I'll do great things, maybe someday I'll conquer the world, but it doesn't matter too much, because I got people with love in their hearts and that's just beautiful.
So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!
And God Bless.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The air is vibrating with potential;
I feel the blood within me dart back and forth
Like newborn tadpoles in a sun-drenched stream.
And leap into the sky while laughing;
Today and now,
All things begin anew,
And can be done better this time;
And can be done right this time.
For no reason
This is the day the Lord has made,
Let us be glad
- Rand McRanderson
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Once again, much like Mr. Bowie, time is taking me through changes as one chapter of my life passes to another. And what will this one hold?
I have finished my employment at TradingMarkets, a matter which was destined to come to pass sooner or later, and to recite once again what I have told most everyone, at least it ended on good terms and I got severance. And more or less that's the sum of my feelings about the matter. I will miss the people there, but I think better opportunities lie ahead, I would have liked things to not have come so out of the blue, but on the other hand it would have been irritating if it was dragged out over a while.
My job at TradingMarkets taught me a good deal about web development and all that jazz, but perhaps more importantly it gave me some experience with dealing with the odd universe of the working world, which hopefully will get me a better handle on things when I approach my next place of employment.
Maybe the biggest lesson of my time at TradingMarkets though, was the realization that the essentials of work really hadn't changed from high school to college to employment. You work hard, play the cards you're dealt, and don't take things too seriously. Of course what that means in a particular situation differs from place to place, time to time, etc., and I'm sure that despite my experiences my next employer will have many surprises and challenges, et al. But that's life, and all and all it's not too bad.
But the future... well first let me say the present isn't looking too bad. I've got a number of projects lined up to keep me busy, plus there's job hunting itself. But beyond that, at least for the moment, I think I'll try to catch up a little on relaxation and socialization, though sooner or later, I am going to have to dive into a new job... which I think ought be all for the better.
And if it isn't, well, I've got God, family and friends, things will work out. Indeed, I have more than all I'll need for a lifetime, and so things have already worked out and I'm just watching things unfold. The future might be bright and filled with fanciness, or it might not, but that's okay, at least it'll be filled with those strange creatures called people, and that'll keep it all pretty interesting.
Monday, April 5, 2010
It was the pastor of St.Paul's, Monsignor Nolan, who taught me the traditional Easter greeting and response:
Christ is risen!
Christ is risen, indeed.
I'm not sure who's tradition that was, but it's a nice one. Now lest you think I'm in some bizarre time warp and/or zone, it is in fact the day after Easter where I currently am. Still that does not change the fact that Christ rose from the dead, nor that his death and resurrection saved us all.
Sometimes when I think about that, everything else pales in comparison. Jesus' death and resurrection is a testament to God's eternal love and His sovereignty over the universe.
Historically there was a brand of thought that concluded since Jesus took away sin that all moral responsibility was abolished by Christ's resurrection. Historically most theologians laughed and giggled at such logic. After all, Christ gave us freedom, and if sin is our distance from God, we then have an option to cling to our sin. God then does not condemn us as punishment, but simply restrains Himself from stopping us when we ourselves choose the path to Hell. Least that's how I figure it
Moreover, if we love God, (and when you accept that God is eternally loving and supremely good, I think that you cannot reconcile anything less than a love for God with an acceptance of this reality), then to not try do good would be to deny our love. Christ's resurrection has freed us from sin, enabling us to love him and draw close to him with all of our hearts, minds, and souls, but in order to love God, and because of our love for God, we are compelled to strive to do His will. And this means we must take care of each other and indeed ourselves, as God loves us all.
But reflecting on the enormity of Christ's resurrection, of the culmination of the supreme miracle of Jesus' life, Passion, and death, a concept encompassing humanity, divinity, and the triumphant cross which bridged the two...it's more than the mind can wrap itself around (but there's good reason to believe that any real system of reasoning cannot fully encompass reality, after all the universe is infinite, and our minds are not).
Thinking about the miracle of Easter, which is not a task simply confined to one day or one week or one season... but though the compulsion to do good remains because of our love of God, the compulsion to fear evil seems a bit silly. It is a silliness that we all fall victim to on occasion, but even the fears and anxieties surrounding that failure seem insignificant compared to God's love, which bears all the burdens of our sins and redeems us, which forgives any slight and turns all things to good, which raises us from the dead and grants eternal life.
Jesus Christ, who is God, came down from Heaven and became man. He bore the cross, for the sake of our sins and not his, and was crucified and three days later He rose from the dead. He conquered death and gave life eternal to all. If we trust in Him then what can this world do to us? How can even our baser instincts and frailties prevail if He is with us, now and until the end of time. (and beyond maybe, if that concept makes any sense. I'll admit, when I go off into the realms of theology, mysticism and metaphysics, I often am in unfamiliar territory. But if I can draw upon the guidance and advice of those I trust, love and believe in, it seems like a good gamble. After all, what is life but an experience of mystery and is not Love the answer to all things?)
Let me not pretend that I am some special wise man, let me not pretend that I am the bearer of some secret. I have suffered in my life, but others have suffered more. I have faith, but I know others with far more. I am certainly nothing compared to God, and compared to man... how should I know? and fortunately it is not my place to judge such rankings.
Yet I believe God loves me with a unique, perfect Love, which I cannot match but will spend my life trying to further experience and return. And I believe that God loves each of you, uniquely, passionately, and infinitely. And I believe if I just trust in that love, everything will be alright and when I fail to trust sufficiently, when I despair or harden my heart, I believe that God will still be reaching out to me and I trust that He will save me.
That I could have more faith, that I could have more understanding, that I could have more compassion or more strength of will... but it's okay. God remains and will take care of us all. Christ is triumphant and will redeem us. We don't need to fear. God is with us, always, and forever.
May God Bless you all, and happy day after Easter