Friday, March 17, 2006

the gift of doubt

‘Life is a funny thing’ my Grandma used to say. Now I understand that only years coupled with (and maybe because of) wisdom can birth and give understanding to such a seemingly glib remark. Yet the cradle to the grave is a peculiar journey, and one of the most difficult qualities to be found is something I call hopeaholism. I’m not even sure it’s a real word, but then if Shakespeare could make words up, why can’t I?

You see, of late one particular question has been biting at my heels. How does one shift cultural conscience to allow in the confusion and at times hopelessness of our world? Well, I have come to think that maybe doubt and hope are inextricably linked, maybe even two sides of the same coin. This is also a theological dimension that lurks deep within our souls, a dimension that surely must be explored if we are to see the other side of that coin. What if it is God behind all these doubts and disillusionments? What if this is God’s peculiar way of revealing mystical truths to his peculiar people? It’s as if God uses our disappointments to actually allow us to glimpse hope and so ultimately lead us all to the point of being hopeaholics.

Maybe the reason is that when we doubt. When we have questions, we are humbled – admittedly perhaps even a little pissed off – but moreover we realise that we are small and the mystery of God is much bigger than our finite minds and weak hearts can comprehend. The flip side to this is that when we are sure of things we stop questioning, and actually if truth be told, we become conceited. In my 35 years on this planet I have met very few people who can dovetail ‘knowing it all’ with humility. Ego’s are swelled when we (think) we know it all. Yet we are usually brought to our knees when we recognise and accept our place in the grand scheme of things.

So maybe when we feel so lost that we just can’t go on God just might have the space to whisper into our souls. And maybe that whispering goes something like this prayer of Jen Gray: ‘If I could, I would sneak into your head and sweep out all the crap of your past. I would give your mind a clean room, allowing the company of truth. And the truth is, and always has been; that you are not bad, and that you are not going to hell, and you are enough. You can choose today to beat yourself up or you can choose today to value your being and create some magic. I hope you join me on the magical side.’


samtzmom said...

I recently saw a sign outside a church which said, "The emptiest man is usually full of himself." When we think we have all the answers, we usually end up in dead end spaces. Opening our minds to the possibility that we are being gently led, and trusting that God won't purposely steer us down paths where we feel lost is the essense of my faith. Doubt, therefore, is a gift indeed. It allows us to be small enough to listen...

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

I love that sign, and agree whole-hearted with your thoughts.

Really enjoying your blog too, very reflective and provocative at the same time

Rainbow dreams said...

like the word hopeaholic :-)

love the prayer, especially the message "You can choose today to beat yourself up or you can choose today to value your being"

and thoughts that make sense - I seem to remember that it is the degree of hopelessness someone feels as being the most significant factor in attempted suicide as opposed to any other feeling - any room for a 'hopeaholics anonymous' group?

Mystified said...

"There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds" - Lord Alfred Tennyson

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

jen muses on life in beautifully profound ways