16.2.06

Pleasant? Pah! - Jesus Army Life, Day 214

What is the sign of a friend? That he tells you secret Sorrows? No, that he tells you secret joys.
Oswald Chambers

When we meet people we always go through the formalities of asking how the other person is doing. Often the questioner actually doesn't care, or sometimes they're comfortable enough with the formality to ask how you are doing once they're done with the small talk.

While I know there are degrees of conversation and formality is one of those things you have to pass through I just can't bring myself to give a dishonest answer! I can't say "I'm alright" if I'm not and I can't suppress good feelings with a simple "Okay" - I want to engage with people, I want each conversation to be an opportunity for love and heart-sharing; so I always try to tell the truth while comically keeping the answer as short as I can.

You'll often hear me say, "I'm good," or "Struggling, but winning." It's just my way I suppose. Other people have their little battles with formalities too, like never saying "I love ice-cream" because love is too strong a word. We're strange folk really.

Lately, I've been appreciating that if everyone did answer that formal "How are you?" or "Alright?" honestly then there would be a lot more grumbling and maybe even some more sympathetic listening. But we avoid straight answers because we want to pretend for the other person's sake that everything is pleasant, that's why these conversations are called 'pleasantries' aren't they?

But hold on! The world isn't pleasant, it's beautiful, it's chaotic, it's tragic, it's awesome, it's fear ridden, it's accursed by the Fall. Rarely is it simply pleasant. And I think we've got our standards of joy too high! If I'm struggling then it's a good thing - I'm learning to cope with the everyday difficulties of life, and that's good. If I'm happy then it's a real blessing - it's a miracle (stop laughing in the back there...) a real gift from God in this hard, hard world.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3


Why do we try to pretend that we've got heaven on earth when we blatantly haven't? We're lost, we live in a fallen world. Why not actually go for bringing a real bit of heaven to earth and by our efforts, some real blessing, a real touch of heaven, into others lives? The approach I want to take in life is that every task is an opportunity, each road is a mountain to climb. I don't want to give up fighting, because then I know that I'm winning. Yes, I'm a striver, but I'm going for the top, I've got a race to win; there's a lot more beauty out there which eternal pleasantries could not describe.

"Yes, I'm alright and I'm struggling, because I've seen this world society for the forgery that it is, and I'm not satisfied! My heart longs for something better!"

Okay, rant over. Please don't feel scared. I'm alright now and... thanks for listening.

P.S. Somewhere on me is a tag that says: This little man is lost. If found please return to heaven. Thank-you.