So, today, I was intrinsically motivated to leave my job. My job became a labor of stress and pain and created in me a sense of anger which I applied to everything I do. To my regret, I applied my anger in ways which were not beneficial to my family or the people around me. I started to become the very individuals I was so opposed to, and in some ways, I was worse. When we realize the objective truth, and yet fail to accept it, are we not more to blame than those who willfully create ignorance as a matter of truth? I wanted to write about our endings, necessary in sometimes, sudden in sometimes, but inevitably we all have endings. How can we accept our outcomes when they don’t seem to benefit us, but instead put us in a more precarious situation? Jesus, hung from the tree, because an ending which wasn’t particularly beneficial to his health was our eternal benefit. The greatest example of ending we could have ever been given, and God gave it to us. We see time and again, endings occurring within the Bible, and in most cases the endings aren’t pretty. We see the end of the population in the world after the flood and Noah’s Ark (Gen 7), everyone not on the boat, was relegated to a watery grave. How about the fervent belief of Stephen, the first martyr of Christ, we see Stephen stoned to death, but created an ending which was more in tune with the love of God, than one of horror (Acts 7:54-60). It occurs to me, our endings are of our own making, or at least of our own interpretation and we choose to accept the pain or give love. Jesus, hung from the cross and chose to give love to all the world, Stephen chose to bless those who wished him dead. We much choose the path to and ending of love when it comes to doing what we must do.
Many years ago, much like the job I’m leaving, I was challenged every day to see a “positive perspective” and I attempted to look at thing from a positive point of view. It was only after attempting to see things in a positive light did I realize, this was a lot of cultural junk. Some things are never meant to be a positive, some things are problems, and some things must be seen for what they are or we risk a delusion within our own perception of truth. Here is what I mean, we see an ending which doesn’t seem to benefit us in any way as a negative, or something we would prefer never to have occurred. Perhaps a death, a divorce, or loss of a situation by our own actions. These perceived negatives have the potential for creating within themselves more negative circumstances if we follow the path illuminated by their treacherous light, or we can create a recognition or even a precognition of sorts to understand what our role in life is. I’ve heard once before, “the only certainties in life are death and taxes and the only thing which stays the same is change”. All endings of one fashion or another, all points whereby we must except and embrace our lives as God has graced us with or turn away and attempt to control our perceived destines.
Of course, this is what this topic is all about, perception. What is your perception of your life? Are you where you thought you would be? Have you become the important person you always perceived yourself to be? Are you aware of God in your life? All questions I’ve asked myself at one point or another, and all questions which were life altering, and ending to a perception which needed to die. I perceive life as a matter of decisions which in the larger context are related, but to which I had full control over, up to and including a bad result/ending was a matter of poor decisions. Ok, so can we make bad decisions, and this have an interminable effect on our life and the lives of the people around us? Sure! The decisions we make carry a ripple effect, much like we would see in the wake of a boat. The more speed and carelessness we pursue in our life, the more turmoil caused in its wake. I perceived my life as a matter of my intelligence and I would determine its path. This was a lie I told myself, a lie which I believed wholeheartedly and the perception would carry with it a mess which would take me years to fix. My perception of life was wrong. God gave me this life as a matter of a gift, he created me, lovingly to walk a path of my choosing. Though he so desperately wants me to choose love, and in this choose him, it is my choice. It’s my choice to end things the way I do, or embrace God’s will and create endings which are seen through a lens looked on by Heaven.
My perception was so convoluted, I perceived my place in life as a matter of failure. I had a good paying job, a wonderful family, I was singing in Church, and I had friends in my life who were great. I though, perceived my life to be one of failure, not being where I needed to be, not finding God’s love in my family, not understanding why more people didn’t want me to sing, and pushing away those friends who added so much to my life. It pains me to write this, because I must revisit my behaviors, and in retrospective analysis, I’m ashamed at the pain I caused the people I love by creating a means of ending our relationships. It seems to me, this is just how our journey works, for without those points of pain along our path, we may never realize the truth of joy when it is presented to us. So, was I where I wanted to be, at first the answer was “no”, but after everything, the answer is a resounding “yes!!!”. I love my life and the people around me, I love the opportunity to wake up every day and be a potential influence for those of our brothers and sisters who are searching for the truth. I love working, and I love resting. I enjoy looking at nature as it whips past my truck window on an early morning drive. I was missing my joy and failing to see the endings in my life as true beginnings. It is all a matter of the perspective of life, we must see our endings as our beginnings. It’s not about positive and negative happenstance, but instead, it’s a matter of “God I love you and want to be with you always” or “I can do everything on my own”. I choose God in everything I do, and everything I see. This presents a challenge, within my endings to love those who would do me harm, even more so than those who I know securely love me unconditionally.
Are you important? I think this is such a relevant question. Look around, look at those people who look to you in life, maybe it’s a coworker, or a relative, or your spouse, or your children. Look at them and imagine them without you, see how they would rely on another person’s advice, and know you would give them a more loving committed answer to any question they have. Much like Capra’s classic “It’s A Wonderful Life”, it truly is a wonderful blessing filled life. We are not immune to struggle, but what we do have is the ability to see God’s blessings in all we do no matter what the event or perceived ending may be occurring.
As we see in our everyday life, God is central to everything. When we are speaking with our spouse, do we see love in our decisions and how we talk with them? I must say, my anger was so ferocious for so long, I didn’t approach my wife with a loving tone or consideration. I was more worried about myself and what I needed to see and hear, than in what was right for the both of us as we stood before God. This was a stemming from those failed perceptions in my life and the subsequent endings which I hated to my core, and they were all a factor of my inability to place God first. I was rude and bitter to my wife because I hated myself and I’d become an aberration of myself and the person I knew I could be. Every time I would catch a glimpse of this person I hated, I would thrash in conversion to become someone other than who I needed to be. I was always willing to reinvent myself and distort myself for the perception of others, I was willing to see an ending as final so never to revisit my personal pains ever again. So, the person I needed to be was God’s creation, God’s love in action, and the person I chose to be was someone who thought he was a better sculptor of self than our Heavenly Father.
This led to pushing my kids away from me, and failing to enjoy their presence which was overflowing every second I was with them. Now, I’m not saying, they don’t test me, my kids have advanced degrees in pushing my buttons, but this is what kids do, this is what we signed on for, so love them when it comes to handing out a punishment, this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t realize the error of their ways, but what it means is their father loves them but needs them to see what they should be doing as a matter of truth.
My son, tests me daily with his obstinacy, his complete unwillingness to do the simplest of tasks creates in me a sense of turmoil like none other. Though, I’ve realized, I love him more than I could possibly put into words, he is a wonderful light in my life, he just needs the encouragement I can give him, and then the rigidity of truth needed to eventually move forward in his life without his old dad. I once looked at my discipline of my son as an ending to his behavior, but now I see it more like the beginning of a journey he will undertake. He very much needs my help (even if he thinks he can do it alone), life’s pitfalls are such I can’t help him in every situation, but I can attempt to be at his side as often as possible. This is what God does for us, God is at our side every moment, through our tough and wonderful times. God’s desire for us is to turn to him and allow him to save us, allow God to hold us in his unconditional love. We must open ourselves to his light, and realize our perceptions of self are never truer than when we look through the loving eyes of God.
Ok, so where are we left when it comes to endings? We are left in a place some consider nowhere, we are left to our own lazy devices. When I began to write this, I indicated I left my place of employment, but I didn’t say why. I had a fundamental disagreement with the manner and application of employer dealings as they pertained to the employees. I was not satisfied with the environment I chose to exist in daily, but more importantly I was becoming lost in a world of anything other than love. I was willing to look at the worst parts of a person and become critical of their faults, as if I had no faults of my own, and I was willing to take my anger out on those people who mean the most to me in life. My wife would always say “God has a plan for you, be patient and accept what this plan is when you see it”. Of course, his plan came in the form of an email which exacerbated an already tense situation, and created a door that I chose to walk through, ultimately releasing me of my work obligation. It was as if, I needed this to validate my decision to walk away and end my relationship with my employer. Though, it’s not really an ending, this is a beginning for me in a new environment and atmosphere where once again I have an opportunity to influence everyone I am in contact with about God, a new chance to reflect God’s light to be an example of faith in everything I do. Although, the environment I left was tenuous and acidic in its very nature, I have no ill will for anyone, perhaps an incomprehension to some behaviors, but nothing but love for these people. We are all children of God, and we are cherished in God’s eyes. I hope the very best for the employer I’ve left, and all the people who still work for them, I pray they are successful and their pursuits in life become that of faith, hope, and love.
Within the context of my current writing, I believe it is so important for us to regain a vital understanding of who we are to God, and who we are to our very situations. Our endings are not endings they are beginnings, no matter how painful the transition just happens to be. Like birth, as a painful process for both the baby and its mother, it is necessary for the beginning of life. It is needed to feel the eventual love the child will have when they wrap their arms around the parent as the parent tells them “goodnight” or as the parent faces a new beginning in their eternal life with God. When we can see our beginnings with a proper perspective we will see anything with a true beginning will have some level of prescient pain in association, but a pain which can shape us as God sees us, or can distort us as we see ourselves. Don’t ever forget, God is with you always, you are his work of creation, God formed you before you were born, “Why, every hair on your head has been counted. There is no need to be afraid” (Luke 12:7). Stop worrying about trying to fix everything which comes your way as a matter of control in your life, allow God to take charge and his will be done. You are so very valuable to God, and all he wills in return is your love, but a love which is your choice as a matter of faith. Be faithful, accept your beginnings, accept love in your life. Men, stand up and be strong while you do this, be a foundation of your family to accept the new beginnings in the life of your family, and never ever let the thought enter your minds whereby you can change everything, or you are not enough, or you are not where you need to be, or Heaven forbid you aren’t loved. You are precious, and so too are all of God’s creation around you, so treat them as such. The final ending in our life it the truest of beginnings ever, embrace the journey needed to begin our eternal life.
I pray the words I’ve written here will find even the smallest cracks in a wall which might surround your heart, and will allow the light of Christ to enter in, be open to love and those walls will fall. Be open to pain, and you will grow immensely, be open to God so that you will understand why we have endings and why they can become perfect beginnings. May God bless you and your family!!!
God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!!