"I thought I had a handle on life...then it broke."
Blame it on a bumper sticker today.
In the process of recovering from the shock of having a root canal deteriorate into the full excavation of one of my molars, and while still highly medicated, I had to laugh when my eye caught sight of the open-air Jeep that looked like it just came back from a long distance trek through the Sierras, the Mojave Desert, and back again, a hundred times over.
But as you know, if you read G, I am currently enamoured (and subsequently further strengthened) by the new Jeep commercial, and the idea surrounding the thought that, "the things we make, make us."
I can't help but look to these times, and see that these days are splendid and engaging in the opportunity before us as a people, and as a nation -- that we are two hundred and thirty eight years into the lifespan of our republic, and finding ourselves in a whole new world of testing our faith and the spirit from which we came.
Make no mistake, this land is your land is making it's way through a maze of multiple choice questions -- while our Creator watches free will dance and sing in faith and thanksgiving -- or protest and wage war in ignorance and fear.
Many nations have faced the test -- many civilizations have failed; somehow our founders recognized certain truths that were not only inherent to every man, woman and child, but were able to excavate from the past principles sound enough to satisfy the creation of a new world, the new world, as long as we continued to act and grow in faith.
It isn't even just about the reverent revelations these men made -- far more in our nation's birth was recognizing our individual connectedness to this Divine Spirit that made everything we can see and touch and taste and hear and feel -- everything. The founders were so married to the idea of Divine Providence, that we built a nation knowing we were made and destined to be a model nation to the world.
This was no accident.
A while back, I finished reading "God According to God" by Gerald Schroeder -- he is an MIT trained physicist and also author of The Science of God. It is not too late to make this a summer read, the entire month of August awaits...
anyway, as a plethora of scientific support -- from all vantage points -- fully recognizes the Big Bang Theory, we will not stop to discuss the minute details, justified by the chemical and mathematical formulas required. The big bad scientists did the work and we can move on.
And just for the record, Schroeder has spent a lifetime doing just this one thing -- and he ties the studies and minds of physicists around the globe and over centuries rather completely -- not to mention, it turns into a rather easy read, as he spins tales surrounding the softer side of science, history of the world, and stories from the Old Testament for those of us with little patience to sift through 200 pages of E= mc² , just sayin'...
The thing is, the "Thing" that made us -- the world, this universe -- is decidedly the Mind, the Thought, back behind all of creation; that just dumb luck and chance did not an entire world -- along with the natural evolution which is constantly and tirelessly and free willy nilly at play -- make.
This book, which I highly recommend, spends a bit of time on a story of Stephen Hawking, recommending to the world the idea surrounding the random chance of monkeys typing something from Shakespeare, saying, "...most of what they write will be garbage, but very occasionally by pure chance they will type out one of Shakespeare's sonnets..." Just by him saying so convinced The New Yorker to use this idea as the centerpiece for the Christmas 2002 cover, monkeys hammering on typewriters...I somehow missed this entirely.
Most people simply believed the scientist without question; however, a study at Plymouth University in Britain put the theory to the test.
In a month, six monkeys in a room of typewriters failed to even type out a single word, let alone a full Shakespearean sonnet -- I mean, not even so much as the an "a" or an "I" -- for that would require a space surrounding both sides of the letter, wouldn't it. As Schroeder spells it out for us, "That means typing : space, a, space. If there are about a hundred keys on the computer keyboard, neglecting the fact that the space bar is somewhat larger that the letter keys, the probability of typing space, a, space is one chance in a 100 times 100 times 100, which comes out to be one chance in a million. Random guessing in a spelling bee is always a losing proposition. And that is for a single-letter word."
We are not some random universe living on planet earth; we were made with the same consciousness back of all living things, and even though by appearances, it seems a manifestation of evolution by chance -- truth and science tells us we are anything but.
This is what our founders recognized in us -- being a part of a much larger plan -- as divined by the same Intelligence and Providence that brought together the most magnificent minds of our time (or rather, their time). Our time, not so much.
Today, our faith and connection to something far greater and all-knowing than ourselves, universally recognized as a merciful and wondrous God, from whom all blessings flow, from the simple farmer to the keepers of a nation, has been broken; much like being in a room full of monkeys randomly tapping on whatever sticks, we are lost in a sea of men making choices for us, leading us out of being a nation of faith and into the secular realm of some kind of black hole.
This is a test; let the siren ring; our faith is being tested on every level...
...whether it is our faith in ourselves as we find our way to an economic recovery and keeper of our own families
...whether it is our faith in schools to lead our children down a path which fills them with intelligence and conscience
...whether it is our faith in our churches or synagogues or mosques to have the strength and fortitude to lead us out of the desert
...whether it is our faith in love and marriage to weather the storms and commit fully to another soul for life
...whether it is our faith in government to protect it's citizens, stand as a model for the whole, and lead in a community of law, order, respect and grace
...whether it is our faith in God, or not -- our faith lies in the hands of a community to live in peace together.
All people have a faith in something, or in everything, even if it is only in themselves -- it is merely a matter of scale and perspective that leaves this question open for personal attention to details.
This morning, as I struggle with getting a handle on life and the world in which we live, stopping to recognize my faith is what will fill me with hope that nothing is by chance, except what we make of it. We can live a purpose driven life; we can embrace the hearts and minds of our forefathers -- and the character from which Divine Providence birthed a nation like no other; we can be witness to the beauty of being co-creators of our world and it's future as we tap, tap, tap our days and nights ahead.
For without faith, we have nothing but the randomness and the soullessness of life made by the irreverence of others; the re-enchantment of everyday life, paying homage to another book I love, by Thomas Moore awaits us; the choice is up to each one of us to make...while the things we make, make us.
This is a test of faith.
Make it a Good Day, G
Final thought from Benjamin Franklin, while at the Constitutional Convention:
"In the beginning...we had daily prayer...our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered...To that kind of Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And now have we forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time [now 83] and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow can not fall to the ground without notice, is it possible that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured sir, int he sacred writings that, 'except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.' I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed, in this political building, no better that the builders of Babel."Our nation was framed without a national religion to better protect the nation from itself -- strengthened by the framework of a reverent people not only already existing, but fully content, living in faith.