We Have a Saying

WHERE I WORK TO THE effect that it’s not so much whether or not you make mistakes as it is what you do when you make them. Or, as a wise man was once quoted to me as saying, the difference between amateurs and professionals is that the pros know how to fix their mistakes and amateurs don’t make them.

It bothers me a lot when people, handed a shit sandwich in life’s cafeteria line, bitch at or about God on the subject. “Why would God allow such a thing to happen?”

I never want to pile outrage ontop of pain and grief, so I never say, “Nice cop-out. Are you sure you had nothing to do with it?”

And, besides, sometimes is really does seem, for just a second there, that it really could be God’s fault.

Robin of Berkeley has a clue for that.

But me… I look at the universe, created by an ineffable hand we can no more comprehend than a microbe can apprehend the mind of a human being. Possibly less so. I look at that universe and see it — metaphorically — like a crystaline latticework of incredible beauty, elegance, and transcendance — at once amazingly simple and astoundingly complex. Seemingly strait, but filled with infinite possibilities.

It’s set up — on metaphysical rails, as it were — to run according to a set of rules, some of which we humans understand, some of which will baffle and amaze us seriatim, like an inside-out set of matrushka dolls, ever greater and grander, as we gain understanding of one matter, the next greater and grander thing comes along to whack us with the cosmic clueless bat.

And you can’t help asking — or if you can, I’m not sure I want to know you — What is Man that Thou art mindful of him?

The mind that created all that before Sunday brunch isn’t gonna worry too much about one little speck on a tiny world at the ass end of nowhere. At least, not as we comprehend worry. After all, it already knows what’s going to happen. You’re the one with the free choice. You’re the one whose actions matter in your own personal cosmic scheme of things. It’s not what you’re dealt each hand, it’s how you play the cards. What you make with the shit pile that gets dumped on you — a stinking pile of ordure, or a pile of fertilizer to enrich a greenhouse — is what determines your character.

Rather than feeling cursed, I was helped to understand that heartache is part of life.

Now that I’m a conservative, and religious to boot, my belief about sorrow has expanded. I view my life as not just mine, but as part of a larger tapestry stitched together by the Divine.

As a mere mortal, I’m not in a position to know what life is doing to me or where it is leading me. A life devoted to God involves trying to accept His will, even when circumstances are heartbreaking.

Although life is replete with blessings, there are formidable bumps along the way.

My clients are astonished when I tell them that life is not supposed to be easy, and that we carve out our characters and our souls from the hard times.

Speaking simply, the wise say that God does these things to test the faithful. And in the saying the thing wears smooth from constant rubbing and turns into a cliche. And the young, the impatient, the immoderate all reject the thing out of hand for its cliched nature, without taking the time to appreciate the possible wisdom in it.

It ain’t a gray-haired patriarch sitting on a golden throne handing out literal lagniappes in some classic Greco-Roman marbled city on a hill. That’s just a metaphor.

But it does matter. It is true. God sends these things to test the faithful. What are you going to do with it? Bitch and whine? Or get up on your hind legs and make something of it?

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