Categories
the real self

False Choices

We too easily assume that we are our real selves, and that our choices are really the ones we want to make…

Our choices are too often dictated by our false selves.

Hence I do not find in myself the power to be happy merely by doing what I like.

On the contrary, if I do nothing except what pleases my own fancy I will be miserable almost all the time.

Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island, “Conscience, Freedom, and Prayer”

I don’t know enough about brain chemistry to say anything much about it. But I understand that we can easily become like trapped rats poking whatever button we can find that results in a little dopamine poof. And then another. And then another, bigger poof. Each poof producing in our brains what we associate with pleasure. Followed by a lack of pleasure. Followed by looking for that button again. And, can we poke it a little harder and get a little bigger poof this time?

I have been that trapped rat. I have family members who were those trapped rats who I hope and pray found mercy and relief when they left the earth that had become to them a maze with no way out and all the buttons no longer sufficient.

We have thriving industries that depend on our false selves making the choices for us. Until we no longer have any power to choose anything but what we have become addicted to, perfect consumers.

God in heaven, be merciful to us, guide us to our true selves, to choices that don’t go poof.

Jesus, you came that we might have joy, abundantly, not dependent on dopamine and the pleasure pulses it gives. Inclusive of pleasure, yes; thank you. Requiring pleasure, no; thank you. Joy no one can take from us, not ‘like the world gives’. Thank you.


Grace and peace to you…
dw

Photo by dw

Categories
Scripture

Light and Darkness

“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness.

They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God.

Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure.

But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”

John 3:19-21, Peterson, Eugene H.. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language . The Navigators. Kindle Edition.

I’m enjoying reading The Message, Eugene Peterson’s translation of the Bible, because it gives me fresh insight and perspective on passages that are very familiar. This is an example.

I wrote on this passage a couple of years back, using a more familiar translation. I updated the original post this week with what I hope is a more engaging response. I’d be honored to have you take a look.

Grace and peace to you…

dw

Categories
Other Writings

I lost a friend

Today I learned that one of my dear blogging friends has passed. I don’t know of anyone who has written more eloquently and transparently about addiction, recovery, illness, and gratitude.

I will miss him, miss his gentle spirit coming through his writing, miss his responses to my posts, miss his encouraging words. I can’t imagine the loss his family feels. I’ve included a post on grief below – I hope if offers some comfort.

I’m trying to think of words to say how much I want you, each reader, to experience what I have through his writing. I can’t think of any grand way to say it…simple words will have to do: read his blog…really, I mean it. You won’t be sorry. I’ve added his last 10 posts to the sidebar of this post to get you started.

Robert, thank you for your friendship. I wish we could have met on this side, but I look forward to meeting you on the other. Grace and peace to you…

dw

man walking in rain with black umbrella Walking with grief

In Common

So many grieving
Damage recent and long past
Near and far away

dw
Copyright © 2018

For those of us who grieve, Andy Raine of the Northumbria Community has written,

“Do not hurry as you walk with grief; it does not help the journey. Walk slowly, pausing often: do not hurry as you walk with grief. Be not disturbed by memories that come unbidden. Swiftly forgive; and let Christ speak for you unspoken words. Unfinished conversation will be resolved in him. Be not disturbed. Be gentle with the one who walks with grief. If it is you, be gentle with yourself. Swiftly forgive; walk slowly, pausing often. Take time, be gentle as you walk with grief.”

Claiborne, Shane. Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (p. 471). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.