From Ah to Aha
From “Ah” to “Ha” to “Ah-ha”
When I was small — and for those who know me, I understand your difficulty with that concept — the whole world was a place of great wonder and awe. From the glistening skin of a toad to the whispy white clouds of a Spring day, to the magic of riding a bicycle without falling over, everything drew the “ahh” from my lips and I imagined the world to be a place of great beauty, harmony, and joy.
By the time I was thirty, my illusions were shattered. People and concepts I had put great faith in let me down, so I adopted the “Ha” of cynicism. I learned to trust, seasoned with doubt … to love, seasoned with self-preservation … and to look on life through a jaded eye. What I learned is that “Ha”, once embraced, is a cruel mate and not easily divorced.
Sometime in the past ten years, I began to encounter the “Ah-ha” and it restored peace to my soul. I came to understand the co-existence between the kaleidoscopic beauty of a sunset and the terrifying violence of a natural disaster as well as the dichotomy within the person who passionately loves their family in the morning and senselessly guns down perfect strangers in the afternoon.
I realized that we are all broken people, operating in a broken universe. You’re broken. I’m broken. The nutjob with the gun is broken, but hating the evildoers does not lessen our chances of becoming like them. It actually increases those odds. Conversely, forgiving and loving the truly despicable does not mean we validate their actions. Nor does it mean that we turn a blind eye — we may well sit on a jury that sentences them harshly for the sake of future generations. But forfeiting the desire to do so out of vengeance frees us from making the comparisons which foster self-righteousness.
For many years, I struggled to understand how a loving Creator could allow such evil to exist, yet I never questioned how that same Creator could allow the beauty of nature or the sheer joy of knowing love to exist. My hope lies in the anticipation of seeing creation in a repaired state — where the former is banished, and the latter is multiplied infinitely.
Francis Colins, leader of the original Human Genome Project, stated that a system so sophisticated and complex that it can continue to evolve and improve, can’t help but occasionally spin off an error like cancer. That same system seems to have created a world-wide culture of humans who no longer believe in absolute right and wrong, but who seethe in anger when one of their ranks takes that philosophy to its natural conclusion. We might be in for experiencing some serious errors in the coming years. That still doesn’t mean that we must give in and compound those errors by reacting in a self-elevating manner.
Perhaps you think I’m a fool. Not that long ago, I’d have agreed. And to be honest, I’m not sure I see the whole picture yet. So, let’s have coffee. You tell me what you believe, and I’ll tell you what I believe — not in order to persuade or dissuade, but just to understand. Who knows? Maybe we’ll both walk away with something we didn’t have before.
How do you change your behavior? Change what you worship.
– Timothy Keller
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David & Goliath
— Malcolm Gladwell
Perhaps, like a lot of us, you’ve heard the story of David and Goliath from childhood. If you’ve never heard it from Malcolm Gladwell’s perspective, you’ve never heard the whole story. This is a phenomenal book about battling work and life from a position of weakness and overcoming in the end.
Signals of Transcendence
— Os Guinness
Guinness may well be the most well-educated — and perhaps, most deeply thinking — author I’ve ever read. More important, he’s lived a phenomenal life. Yep, he’s the great-great-great grandson of that Guinness but he’s not some pampered rich kid. The son of missionaries, Os Guinness was born in China during the second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) where he saw both of his older brothers killed. He later attended London College and Oxford. His bibliographies alone are longer than anything I’ve ever written. He’s written over thirty books and this is his best book yet.
A meeting of great minds who think alike