The Goal

I have lately been perplexed by the very distinct impression that life is a series of highs and lows—ups and downs—ins and outs—and that the goal, expressed by my favorite new testament personality Paul (aside from you know who) of “…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am”, is always going to be just a little bit beyond my grasp or understanding.

As most of you know, I enjoy blogging—the very act of putting my thoughts together gives me a peace that is difficult to fully describe.

When I have “something” to wirte about—a revelation or slant or perception that seems like it is going somewhere—I am a happy camper. I listen to music, read books and poetry and have long converstations with my wife which often produce fuel for contemplation and further written investigation. I am also an observer of people and events and very often the act of living everyday is my muse.

I have great friends and a good job and some very special children.

So what is lacking: a consistancy of being constant.

Last week I was making progress with my life—overcoming the very obstacles that were set in place by the enemy of my soul to keep me from living life to its fullest. Today, after several full frontal attacks, I feel I am a shell of my former self. My former self being that person I had become comfortable with during the past couple of weeks of overcoming part five thousand and sixty two.

There always seems to be an event or singular circumstance that knocks me off my perceived course. In psychological terms it is called a trigger—an action that produces a response that can be either life affirming or the other way around. And to make matters worse, what knocked me for a loop I didn’t expect or see coming.

I guess I tend to look at life as a series of little steps that when taken move us forward and into our destiny. Healing is a similar process—the house gets built with each subsequent brick that is placed upon the one before it. What was once a single brick becomes a wall with the addition of sand and water and cement.

And I guess therein lies the problem and the quandry I find myself in all too often—is the house already built for me or am I in the process of learning the steps in order to construct it myself?

As I write I am reminded of a book I once read by Albert Camus about the myth of Sisyphus. The final chapter compares the absurdity of man’s life with the situation of Sisyphus, a figure of Greek mythology, who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of
pushing a rock up a mountain, only to see it roll down again. The essay
concludes, “The struggle itself is enough to fill a man’s heart. One
must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

Now I don’t believe that life is meaningless but I can and do sometimes relate to pushing the rock up a mountain only to see it fall back down again. In other words we see a flaw in our lives and work to amend it and after a strong week or two get kicked in the very area of advancement. Then we wallow around for a bit before we pick ourselves up and begin the process of moving forward again—happily not from the same way back place but from one a little closer to our destination than what we had achieved before the current set-back. Ad naseum—ad infinitum or something like that.

My friend David says that he has quit playing that particular game and fully believes that he has arrived for all practical purposes. And to a greater degree I believe that he has—but I am not quite there yet—not that I won’t ever be.

Life really is a ride. But sometimes the highway department comes along and in their attempt to fix a road actually make it worse for a bike rider. They give it the old mountain “tar and fine gravel” treatment rather than lay down some real asphalt. What was once a smooth surface for me to travel on becomes one that I avoid and wonder why they did what they did. So I look for another route to take in order to make my ride interesting—or continue to endure the bumpy pavement.

Ultimately I guess a ride is a ride is a ride and I should be thankful for that much. It’s getting late and I will give this whole thing some more thought tomorrow. Keep you eyes on the road.

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4 Responses to The Goal

  1. ded says:

    I thought I would flesh out your description of me as “fully believes he has arrived for all practical purposes.” Your readers may perceive such as a bit of blind arrogance. I will borrow from another blogger over at Jimazing Thoughts. He speaks of the difference between grace accountability and legalistic accountability. Legalistic accountability says pushing the rock up the mountain is your spiritual duty and will bring you into maturity, and your brothers and sisters are at work to monitor your progress. Grace accountability says Jesus has placed the rock on the mountain top by finishing the spiritual work needed at the cross. So, by faith live with the rock on the mountain top, and your brother and sisters are eagerly supporting your position of faith. I cannot earn anything. God is pleased when I accept that He accepts me. Does that mean that I have nothing left to mature in? Yes and No. Yes, there is nothing left for me to attempt which can move me toward maturity with the result that I dwell in a grace-filled life. God is not withholding some sweet gift until I prove myself able. He has done the work. I am righteous before Him because of Jesus’ righteousness. Period. My responsibility, and therefore the stuff in which I need to mature, is to learn resting in His in-dwelling Presence. From the place of communion with the Holy Spirit, I can live life making holy choices that reflect the sweet fruit of the Spirit. If I forget the rock is at the top and go running down the mountain into all my own self-effort, the experience will lack life. He still works with me on the mountainside though and brings me to understand how I made a bad decision of working on holiness again on my own. Under grace, I am restored immediately to the mountain top. Under legalism (even established by me for me), I am given a smaller rock or a larger rock (a function of believing in taking small steps or in believing I need to learn my lesson by a greater load) at the bottom of the mountain to try again. Camus came to the conclusion we must see this work/rework trap as impossible to escape and that one may be happy within the effort. I think Camus must have been close to the experience of Solomon who wrote of the futility of life in Ecclesiastes. There is nothing which satsifies for long and removes the monotony and futility of life, not even a world cruise (I have a brother-in-law who has been on several and he cannot sit down to a simple meal and be satisfied. He is a sour old man with a lot of earthly experiences that are the supposed pinnacle of his success, yet he is none the happier.) However, experiencing the Father’s love and dwelling in union with His in-dwelling Spirit is full. He fills all who are in Him in all that is needed.

  2. Carey says:

    We prefer “ad infinitum”‘ to “‘ad nauseum,” because we are, in fact, now in eternity, and are destined to join the Master at some point.

  3. Terry Henry says:

    Well said! It was never my aim to put you in a place where you felt you had to defend yourself. I guess I was being overly simplistic about a subject that seems somehow to slide away from me as I attempt to approach it.Knowing you as I do, I fully understand that you have arrived—however we might end up wording that. I am still “working” at arriving and know that that seems silly to admit. I know that you accept me in this endevour even though I know I have also been redeemed by the One who sits at the right hand of the Father. I do believe that I am making progress in my understanding of what all of this means. The church system I was a part of for many, many years didn’t want to see me set free—I might then feel free to give my increase/tithe to someone other than them or begin to do other things which would not make the watchers of the “church in a box” happy.We remember another friend who told us time and time again that we didn’t have to invite the Holy Spirit into our meetings as if somwhow He had up and left us at the end of the last one. And that the work was already done and all that we had to do was quit trying to finish it ourselves and accept it. Some part of me understood and another, maybe bigger part, struggled to get my head around what really sounded like the truth.I firmly believe that it is for freedom that we have been set free—I am aiming for that and thanks for your help and understanding.

  4. Alldramas says:

    Had already seen something like this

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