February 15, 2015
Your responses have made a great point regarding diminishment. We know, somehow, intuitively, that diminishment is an inevitable part of the life cycle. We get that.
However, knowing that, many of us continue to wonder how to live into and through the process. We understand two things: our choices cannot control the process, yet our choices profoundly influence the outcome.
Truth be known, I feel a bit professorish today—peace! Please don’t run for safety!—I have the impulse under control. But I am going to risk a bit of definitional muddling about in an effort to clear our thinking space.
From the outset, it is necessary to disentangle ourselves from the cultural presupposition that diminishment functions as a deconstruction process, and, therefore, serves as evidence for the meaningless random-driven reality in which we are logically driven to accept the insignificance of our lives.
Briefly—professorish impulse firmly denied—there are serious flaws in this reasoning.
The omnipresent nature of change cannot be cited as evidence that change itself forms the ultimate reality.
Basic logic requires us to recognize that the very idea of “change” by definition can exist only in the cognitive context of its opposite, changelessness.
Clear thinking confronts us with the difficult task of thinking paradox. Everything changes, but change is not everything. The task of searching for significance in the context of change requires us to grapple with paradox but it is not therefore a case study in foolishness.
Change is much, but change is not all. There is the changeless unmoving context upon which paradoxically the spiraling patterns of change depend for their definitive existence.
Diminishment is a form of change, of course. However, today I want to emphasize the underlying presupposition with which I want us to begin.
It is possible to learn to hallow our diminishments—in effect, to sanctify change.
It is my presupposition that diminishments can be hallowed because while change is real and shapes reality and my experience of it, nevertheless, change does not consist of all that is real.
The old hymn reflects both dimensions of the context in which we begin our search.
“Change and decay in all around I see.
O, thou who changest not, abide with me.”
Thinking with you today that the essential prerequisite to hallowing the diminishments of human existence consists, paradoxically, of connection with the eternal “I AM” in whom there is no shadow caused by turning. [James 1:17 ESV]
See you next week—less pedantic, I promise.