Thursday, December 17, 2009

Seventeen - Knowing

Carl Jung was interviewed on film toward the end of his life.

"Do you believe in God?" the interviewer asked.

Jung, who was about 83 at the time, puffed on his pipe and answered, "Believe in God? We use the word 'believe' when we think of something as true but for which we do not yet have a substantial body of evidence. No, no, I don't believe in God. I know there is a God."
Eight days until Christmas Day. These are the best days of the holiday, almost better than the actual day which always passes quickly. I relish moments in darkened rooms lit only by twinkling lights and candles, stories read, movies watched, laughter, sharing, and quiet. Everything smells better, looks prettier, tastes more delicious, feels gentler. Relaxation.

For me, the extra hours of precious contemplation during Christmas feed my soul and gracefully stir my heart through quiet nights and mornings when my family is peacefully sleeping. I read once that a contemplative is one who takes a small bit of life experience and milks it for all it's worth. That describes me. Opportunities for learning present themselves everywhere. I grab hold of them and squeeze until I'm sure I've got all that I possibly can whether the learning is invigorating or downright nasty. There is a need to know. It's the way I'm made.

God made us to be learners, he intends for us to grow. It is not a given, no. We are told to work at it.
A man may perform astonishing feats and comprehend a vast amount of knowledge, and yet have no understanding of himself. But suffering directs a man to look within. If it succeeds, then there, within him, is the beginning of his learning. ~~ Soren Kierkegaard
Suffering is not the only method that God uses to direct a person inward, but it's the most common. And it's not always bigtime suffering such as illness or loss. Often it's the 'quiet suffering,' the personal stuff that no one else sees, the tangles that are hard to explain, the weight that loads a heart down. One can choose to block such things out - though they always manifest themselves somehow, some way - or they can contemplate them, learn, and hopefully grow.

It's a matter of perspective, as I always say.

The longer I live, the clearer I see.

What better time than Christmas - the celebration of God's Gift to mankind - to make time for thoughtful consideration of just what it is we are all supposed to be doing here in this great classroom called life?


deanna said...

Just this morning I reminded Tim how much I love anticipating and contemplating the week before Christmas. Thanks for the definition of a contemplative. Pardon me now, while I go ponder and try to learn more about it...

Thanks for the Kierkegaard quote and all your thoughts here.

tshsmom said...

I'm with ya sister! ;)

Cherie said...


Gardenia said...

You offer a good case for contemplation and even make it sound beautiful!

Cherie said...

Thanks, Gardenia.