Life is not… nor ever has been… a straight line forward. Life is characterized much more by the exception and disorder than by total or perfect order. Life is the collision of opposites: loss and renewal, death and resurrection, chaos and healing all-at-once.
What an odd paradox we cling to
We never define ourselves by the rule, but rather by our own exceptions. We are always wanting to be special / to stand out from the crowd / to be different (usually translated… superior) than others. And yet we long for conformity / fitting in / keeping up with the Jones’es and worldly stuff of others. We want to be part of the tribe but not “like” the tribe. What an odd paradox we cling to.
Faith that is real
Faith that is real is a trust in some underlying force that is so strong it even includes death. Witness example… Jesus.
Truth is not always about practical problem-solving and making things “work” but about reconciling contradictions. Just because something might have dire consequences doesn’t make it bad. Just because something else pleases people doesn’t make it good or true either.
The Tragic Sense of Life
Life is inherently tragic and that is a truth that only real faith can accept. It doesn’t work for our own logic no matter how much we wish it so.
Most of us have been formed by Newtonian worldviews… that is, everything has a clear cause and equal effect. If this… then this. This mode of thinking is even more deeply ingrained in the newest generations:
Everyone and everything is equal. The scales of justice must be balanced. All must be fair and impartial. Tolerance above all else.
It’s natural to want equality and balance because it provides a sense of stability.
The universe teaches us…
And yet the physical world is teaching us that the universe proceeds through a web of causes that produce ever-increasing diversity and multiplicity… dark holes / dark matter / death and rebirth / loss and renewal. The universe is teaching us of the need to continually break the rules of “reason” to search for more all-embracing rules of a larger “logic”… God’s logic… so very far removed from our own.
Nature is much more disorder than order, much more diversity than uniformity. We could learn a lesson or two.
In the spiritual life, we learn much more by honoring and learning from the exceptions than by just imposing certain rules to make everything “fit and work.” The exceptions keep us humble and searching, not rushing toward resolution to alleviate our anxiety.
paraphrased from Falling Upward by Richard Rohr