I guess many people spend Saturday all busy and such, racing around doing chores and running errands. Not me. Even though I have been retired by choice for nearly fifteen years, I still reserve Saturday as a day of relaxed fun.
I love to read blogs on Saturday morning. I learn so much. I make connections I hope with some who probably figure I don’t spend nearly enough time reading what they have to say. I probably don’t, but twenty-four hours only go so far.
What always delights me most is the incredible range of post and therefore interest. I learn about prayer one place, and patience another. I am gifted with fine political scholarship, and superb satire. I laugh, I am humbled, I sometimes ache with compassion. I get angry, and I feel hopeless. And then I feel hopeful, and joyful, and curious all over again. That’s thanks to all of you.
It puts me to wondering about the utter uniqueness of the human being. No doubt the same can be said of our fine friend above. For no doubt as his handlers (assuming his captivity) would tell us, he or she is unique to the rest of the troop. And every pet owner will testify to the individualized personalities of each and every pet they are privileged to care for.
Yet humans have something special. Perhaps it is the ability to so dramatically manipulate their environment that allows such a spotlight on individuality to show through. I don’t know. I do know that while we are capable of existing in pretty drastically difference circumstances, we tend to favor and gravitate toward a more median life.
Canada is a great example of this. A monumentally huge country, larger by far than the US, but of small population. And so I am told, something like 90% of the population lives within a hundred miles of the US border. Not because, I am convinced, they like America so much but because they want to stay WARM. All but the hardiest slide down to as close to warmer weather as they can get.
That is probably true of Siberian Russia and the Mongolian icy steppes. It is probably true of Finland and Iceland and other notoriously frigid climes. All but the craziest move south. Yet, some do remain, and you end up having to applaud them for their stick-to-it-tiveness if nothing else.
I think that I have identified the biggest dichotomy in sports among humans. Think of the Alpine skier, and the beach volleyball player. One dressed most of the year in parkas and mittens, wool caps and mukluks. The other dressed in bikinis and beach shorts. Two more opposites could not exist. Two such people could never marry I’m convinced.
You perhaps can think of others. The cerebral English lit professor and the ice road trucker. How’s that for calling both human and of the same species? It would be hard to categorize them together in any other format, other than that they might both sleep in beds and eat peanut butter.
Imagine that God is all humanity and much more, and you start to let your mind soar to places that you get lost in.
I think that people who run homeless shelters for a living, and other such services to the poor and needy are just Mother Theresa’s in disguise. It takes a special kind of person to do that kind of work. Or should I say, fulfill that kind of mission in life. They deal with such pain, and failure, and tragic sadness, yet somehow they are upheld and find grace and joy in their work. Perhaps they do indeed see the face of Christ as he so clearly said we would.
Yet, as much as we might bow down to such folks in our hearts, we know somehow that God has a place for the banker and the undertaker, the sheriff and the meter reader. There is something human and redeemable, and worthy in each and every one of us. Yes, I said EACH and EVERY one of us. Not just the legal and sane, and smart and honorable among us, but in each.
I look upon the face of a man accused of murdering a child, and I feel sympathy. Somehow that human has lost his way, has lost all human control mechanisms in order to do the unthinkable. What must go on in his mind? What horror does he live with? Yet, deeply I know that God is there, weeping at the sheer loss of humanity that has driven this being to unspeakable crime. I have, as always, no answer. I know that somehow, crushed and ruined as this life is, it is still God’s life, not mine to dispose of.
The sun has danced on the meadow for days now, and standing water can be found in places. Bare earth is observed, though still stubbornly cold, hard and dead looking. The snow is no longer quite snow. Lots of it still exists, but it is hard scrabbly granular white stuff now. It too, has somehow died, and is just awaiting its dismissal from the land.
I am feeling the first yearnings of spring finally. Knowing that the mind is awakening, makes it clear to me that lingering under the frost, the seed is stirring beneath the earth. The tree is busily sending nutrients to branch tips, shaking awake the dormant leaflets that are molecularly organizing for a grand opening.
Saturday is a thinking day. A wondrous day. A day to salute the dawn, to slip outside for a moment with jacket on, but face turned upward to warmth and life. The dogs searched the wood pile for a rabbit. He escaped out the back side and scampered away to den. Life lives while we, alas are looking the other way.
I can but smile, the thoughts of traumatic winter fading quickly from my mind. It is a human trait, this ability, to forget. Ask any new mother.