Ebb and Flow of Life

Time may be linear, but life is not. Like the ocean tides, life is constantly changing, always moving in different directions. There are high point and low points. There are good times and bad. There are euphoria and depression. Rich and poor. Pleasant and uncomfortable. Joy and sorrow. Et cetera. This list could go on forever.

If there is one constant in life, it is that it is always in flux, never the same from one moment to the next. Perhaps it would be more appropriate right now to say that life is never the same from one presidential election to another, but I do not have to tell you that. It is painfully evident today.

Unless a miracle happens and he pulls an ace or two out of his sleeve, Donald Trump will be out in just a few days. (The last four years remind me of Lady MacBeth’s tirade, “Out, damned spot. Out, I say!”) Unless something drastic happens, in just a few days, Joe Biden will be sworn in as President of the USA. To say that things will be different is to only state the obvious. Trying to guess how they will be different is a little more problematic, although we can look at the sorry state of affairs we are currently living in and conclude that we are experiencing the end of the American Experiment, a.k.a, End of the World–as we knew it.

Yes, life is going to be different. For most of us, probably harder, more difficult, more complex. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because if tough times make tough people, then a lot of us are going to become much tougher in the years ahead. The manner with which we respond to the changes and the way we allow our circumstances to mold and shape us will determine what we become. There really are only two options. We will become stronger and better persons, driving our world forward toward a better future, or we will become weaker and less effective in producing anything of lasting value and meaning.

This is not difficult to understand. You can either swim or you can drift. It is not a matter of sinking, since even drowning persons make the effort to save themselves. Swimmers, even drowning ones, work to affect their world in a personally beneficial way. Drifters simply float, going wherever the current takes them. All other things being equal, activity will conquer passivity every single time. Even if it is dead wrong and criminal, a deliberate action will overcome a passive response to it. Drifting, without any attempt to better yourself, will produce exactly what you put into it–nothing.

In an article recently posted on Lew Rockwell, Allan Stevo wrote this.

“It is with great truth that people say faith can move mountains. It need not be a religious conviction. To tell yourself something is possible and to commit yourself to doing that thing makes that thing possible and far more likely to occur than before the person of faith conceived it. The person of faith is required to act in order for creation to occur. If you don’t act, creation cannot occur. If you don’t fight, you can’t win.”

“He with no faith, moves no mountains.”

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Make the step. And then another, and another, until they become a habit. One step is an anomaly, two steps a coincidence, three steps a pattern. It is impossible to climb a mountain without starting, but if you decide that you cannot climb that mountain, you will never start. You will only stay at home, sitting in your easy chair, consoling yourself with the rationalization that you really did not want to climb it anyway.

My father used to quote this saying. I do not know where it came from. “They said it couldn’t be done, but with vim and vigor, he pitched right in AND couldn’t do it.” Understanding him the way I did (and do), I would read that as saying that he thought there are some things in life which cannot be accomplished, no matter how much time, effort, and resources are poured into it, therefore there is no sense in trying. The important thing here, though, is not the failure to succeed, but the fact that there is a concerted attempt made to reach a goal. Discouragement from others should not prevent you from taking a chance and working to make your dreams come true. You may fail if you try. You will always fail if you do not.

How are we going to handle the challenges ahead of us? This is the question each of us must answer in our own way. I cannot answer for you. You cannot answer for me. Each version will be unique. I can, however, offer you this scriptural advice from which I draw inspiration in my own life.

“…faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead…Show me your faith without works and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:17, 18)

“Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men,” (Colossians 3:23, Amplified Bible)

Enough said. We have work to do. Carry on.

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