Commonplace Thoughts of a Residual Welshman: On Second Thought

I tried to imagine for a few minutes last night when I was unable to sleep what it might be like to consider the possibility of God almost for the first time.  I wrote a blog a few weeks ago about the fairy world, how believing in a supernatural world is a kind of therapy.  I didn’t make that up; lots of studies say that those who believe in a higher power are more equipped to face the biggest challenges in life. And I don’t need to rehearse here the notion that successful twelve-step programs are founded upon such a principal.  It that blog I called it, playfully but not trivially, fairy therapy. And one of my friends even said that it gave her pause, made her consider, at least for a moment the possibility that there could be a spiritual reality that we can’t see.

And then, I thought, as I lay there in bed last night, about the best way to explain something you can’t see, a spiritual world that is every bit as real as the world we live in, but invisible.  It’s based on faith—that was the idea behind last week’s blog—which, from time to time, can put air under your wings, as it were, even though you can’t see that air. And that air under your wings can keep you from crashing to the ground; literally, I might add, quite literally.

But that was last week’s blog, and the fairy therapy was a few weeks before that. And then I thought, “No, I’m looking at this the wrong way round.  For, in a sense, God’s stamp upon on his creation is visible.  You just have to look for it.” 

Take for example an optical illusion. You look at it one way and it looks like vases or trees or a duck or a dancer spinning, and then you look again, and you see a rabbit, or faces or people’s silhouettes, or that same dancer spinning the opposite direction.

The Romans knew this, and their mosaics often playfully encompassed examples of this strange phenomenon.  Yet this doesn’t really prove anything about there being a spiritual reality beyond the physical dimension in which we live. Not one thing. 

“What’s your point, then?” someone might well ask.  I suppose what I’m really trying to say is that life is simply worth a second thought, worth a second look.  It’s too easy to see suffering, anger, greedy people, as if they were all pillars or vases and just walk away. And I’m not talking here about something sort of kitch, like a t-shirt design—though perhaps a second look at that, too, might just give you a big hint. 

I’m talking about life itself. And if you take a good look at it, maybe, just maybe you’ll find that what was once “luck” should be transformed into providence. What were our personal inadequacies could even be transformed into our greatest strength.  What were once our vices could be utterly discarded and replaced by virtues.  I’m talking about what were once stern challenges being transformed into blessings, prune-faced judgment being transformed into love of our fellow human beings; even self-hatred can be changed into proper (but not gloomy) self-scrutiny; our selfishness into selflessness, our icky self-righteousness, into God’s imputed righteousness.  Yep, that’s what I’m talking about: a reorientation of one’s mind from a life without God to a life where there is practically no way not to find Him, in the eyes of the needy, the words of a wise friend, the embrace of a parent, sister, or one’s child. 

So maybe, just maybe, it all deserves a second thought, and even a second look.  You just might see it all quite a bit differently on second thought.

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