Found this lying around from Simon and Joy’s wedding invites.
Viktor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist who survived Auschwitz during World War II and chronicled his experiences afterwards. I read this bit yesterday:
There was plenty of suffering for us to get through. Therefore, it was necessary to face up to the full amount of suffering, trying to keep moments of weakness and furtive tears to a minimum. But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer. Only very few realised that.
Viktor Emil Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning
The concept of it requiring courage to suffer’s an interesting one. Guess without fear there can be no courage; with courage being found in the face of fear as opposed to the denial of it, demanding an engagement with weakness as opposed to running from it.
To live is to suffer, and suffering hurts. Pain and discomfort are guaranteed to make life messy, but through the embrace and expression of them it seems we claim a greater dignity and strength; that of being human and knowing ourselves to be alive.
Real men (and women) suffer and cry it seems (or at least aren’t afraid to).
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Preach it Theo.
There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of you are – as you used to call it in the Shadowlands – dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”
And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
C.S. Lewis – The Last Battle
As a Jesus fan, I know what I should believe, but in the context of day-to-day life belief is messier, less clear cut and inevitably more mysterious. We all adopt philosophies for life that shape how we live and form the basis for many of the decisions and choices we make. A friend was having some doubts about the whole God thing a few weeks ago so I quickly scribbled down a few random completely incomplete thoughts to see what it is I really believe in day to day…
At the most basic level I believe I exist. I believe that there’s something greater than me, that made me, and created a vague sense of order and creativity in all I see around me. I believe he is good and I call him God. I believe he is incomprehensible.
In me are desires. Wants. A seeking of pleasure and security. Comfort. Connection and relationship with others.
I believe I feel more complete when I live a life of generosity; when I live for the good of others. Sacrificially. In pursuit of their joy. I believe that seeking my own ends will make me miserable and ultimately prove meaningless.
My belief is stubbornly “to whom else can I go” [in respect to Jesus]. I see no alternative. I feel no alternative. I want no alternative. Even if I decided God to be mere imagination, I would still choose sacrifice. It brings joy. And joy lasts. Pleasures don’t. They come and go, rise and fall, but always fade. They don’t last. They always have a low-hanging ceiling, that seeking to break through will either kill you or at least dehumanise you. If I get to the end of my life and it turns out God doesn’t exist, that Heaven was an illusion of my mind, what have I lost? Has the world not been a better place for my living as if he did?
I believe in goodness. And love. In beauty. In gentleness, kindness and mercy. In respect, honour, dignity, light. I believe in work and development. In growing, in cultivation of all things good. I believe in rest, in relaxation, in appreciation. I believe in solitude and crowds. Retreat and participation I believe in spending myself for the sake of others, that the greatest beauty is displayed in the most costly sacrifices.
I believe I will live forever, but don’t know where for sure until I get there. I’m not afraid of death, i’m curious, i’d just rather not have to die. It doesn’t look nice, even if it’s passing is natural. I believe that one day i’ll understand everything, that i’ll see Jesus’ face as he welcomes me Home.
I’ll probably add to them at some point.