Monday, February 23, 2015

Walking in the Dark - Part Three

In this post, we talked about journeying through darkness together.

In this next post, we started to figure out our approach - what to do with darkness?  Though we could try to avoid it and pretend like it doesn't exist, I think we all agreed it wouldn't be very helpful...

So we are left here, knowing we must address and engage the darkness.  But how?

Oftentimes, we take darkness into our own, human hands.  As you can imagine, there are probably an infinite number of ways to handle tough stuff, but I want to talk about two approaches I've fallen into the most over the years.

The Handy Man Approach - The darkness is something broken that I need to fix.
We are feeling lonely, so we pull out some duct tape to stick a rebound boy to our side.
We struggle with our body image, so we tighten a loose screw, work out a little longer, tighten a bit more, eat a little less.
Our faith is being tested, leaking out like a faucet, and, intending to catch the drips, well-wishers hand us empty buckets of trite advice and glib encouragement.
The Mathematician Approach - The darkness is an equation that I need to solve.
My baby experienced a traumatic illness.  What things happened that contributed to this?  What things do I need to add to my lifestyle to get a more desired result in the future?  What things do I need to subtract to get a better outcome?  Disinfect baby's toys more often + Don't expose baby to potentially sick kids at Wal-Mart = No more traumatic illnesses?
I am living in fear of the future.  How do I guarantee fearful things won't happen to me?  How do I avoid these things?  What types of insurance and safeguards can I add to my life to provide some peace of mind?  Guarantees + Safeguards = Less Fear?
These two approaches overlap often - work harder, play safer, risk less, shield, seal, solve, patch, bandage...  We will strive and control and fix until the darkness no longer exists, until we are certain it will never come upon us again.

Though I AM in favor of using wisdom and stewardship in the way we make decisions and plan for the future, the problem, all of these things quickly become very human-centered.  I, Me, You, We...

As humans, at our best, we can only offer temporary fixes and shallow solutions.  

Rebound boys won't fill the depths of our loneliness.  Working out longer and eating less won't do away with our self-loathing.   Trite advice and glib encouragement won't strengthen our shaky faith.  Our best efforts in cleanliness won't keep all illnesses away from our loved ones.  Insurance won't dispel our deepest fears.

Our problems are more complicated than we know how to fix, and our darkness is too thick to walk through on our own.

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