HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes
Sunday, March 23, 2008
I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of a flat-out, “Exhibit A” redemption story to share, today being Easter and all. But alas, I cannot retrieve anything from the top of my mind or even from the fringes of my memory. I guess I will have to change strategies. Besides, you readers will have your fill of insights from church pulpits and other Sunday columnists about the resurrection of Jesus, so I need not delve into that.
Instead I will take a less dramatic stance and write about something “smaller.” I would like to write about the barely noticeable but important little redemptions that happen to us daily. I would like to venture the proposition that there is every reason for every person living in this world to wake up every day with gratitude in mind. I know that we all come from different circumstances and my proposition may seem like a tall order to some. After all, while some of us may be living in a bowl of cherries, there are others who may be in desperate straits with nary a glimmer of hope to see them through.
Still, I believe there are enough reasons to celebrate daily living. Here are some reasons why I believe life continues to be beautiful.
The sun rising and setting daily is one good reason. Every day, for eons and ages, it has done so and it will continue to do so for a long, long time. This gives me a lift, somewhat, because it is in itself a cyclic redemption story. Morning breaking the darkness of night to usher a new day is something we can always depend on. Dusk at the end of the day is an inevitability. It is a major part of how our lives are organized. Day followed by night followed by day and repeated endlessly in the field of time is the backdrop of where our lives are played out. That, in itself, is a great wonder to ponder.
That life itself goes on is an equally marvelous reality. “Life will find a way,” says the main character in
This to me is one of the most amazing things about life. Throughout history, we have heard stories about human survival under severe duress and impossible odds and they have inspired us. And if we look at nature and every specimen of flora and fauna and how each manages not just to stick around but to evolve and thrive through the ages, we can’t help but be awed as well. To me, it seems like life has this great ability to morph into any form to continue to propagate itself in different ways. It will adapt and transform into anything because life has to go on, one way or another.
The fact that we humans have the uncanny ability to live in the perennially changing now is mind-blowing. We have the capacity to press the reset button of our lives when we need a fresh beginning and always start anew. When you think about it, this is not just an ability that we are gifted with. It is also an imperative that we should adopt to live life to the fullest. When we live in the past, we are crushed by the weight of our personal histories and all their toxic baggage.
When we live in the future, we are not grounded in any solid reality because, to be realistic, the future may never even come for some of us. Yet we waste the precious “now” worrying about potential problems and difficulties that may or may not arise in some imagined tomorrow. How silly it is to be too anxious about the future when we could just literally drop dead any moment and that would be the end of the story. Sure, we need to plan, but we mustn’t sacrifice the present for it. When it arrives, that is the time to deal with it.
If we worry and fret about something bad happening before it occurs and it does end up happening, we end up experiencing it twice! Now is all we really have. The present is all there is. It’s as good as it gets. Eckart Tolle posits that all anxiety is caused by living in some past or future. The present is pristine and perfect. In his writing, he asked simply, “What can possibly be wrong with anything right now?”
I am grateful that if we look with fresh eyes, any object in the universe can be a portal to enchantment, magic, poetry and even sacredness. Is it because the world is alive and can speak to its inhabitants? At least that’s what our ancestors believed. Since the dawn of time, man has looked at the heavens, the mountains and everything around him and has been able to see beyond the literal world of things and open a dimension to the divine. Anything ordinary and mundane, through the gift of true “seeing,” can sparkle with wonder and elicit a holiness and reverential respect from us. The ancients could invoke the presence of the gods and goddesses in almost every facet of their lives.
In the modern world, many people claim that it does not seem as easy since science has already unraveled a lot of the mysteries around us. But, while science may have shed light on many of nature’s secrets, I believe that science itself is God unraveling. God resides at the very heart of the computer chip of my iPhone. Science and technology are just the latest marvelous manifestations and disguises that God likes to show up in these days. There’s so much more to life than we can imagine, and there’s infinitely more to know about God.
I am grateful that life is unpredictable. Although sometimes, this unpredictability can be upsetting, I generally look at it as a blessing. I have heard of stories and met enough people who, based on their past histories, should not be where they are today. Think of Barack Obama, the son of a single black woman, who is now aspiring for the presidency of the most powerful nation on earth. Think of the countless people everywhere who have overcome their past and have done extraordinary things. These are people who have turned the corner and found themselves in unbelievable circumstances they never imagined. I like it that not everything is in the hands of man. While life is dynamic with potential and is waiting for us to live it in any way we wish, it’s good to know that a few curve balls and graces are thrown our way when we least expect them.
So let’s celebrate today by acknowledging the countless redemptions happening all around us. May your eyes awaken that you may see every aspect of your life sparkle with wonder.