Note to Self
by Elias Blum
Sometimes I need a reminder that amidst all this madness and darkness and the general fucked-up-ness of the situation in the world at the moment, there are little patches where the Spirit shines through.
The world is grotesquely unjust, unfree, unpeaceful, ungracious – but at the same time I have to remember that everything has been redeemed, is being redeemed, and will be redeemed. The darkness is so pitifully real that it breaks my heart, and so relentlessly vast and deep that it drives me crazy with despair, but a light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
The only thing that can give sense to hope – the only thing that makes hope possible, in a world that seems so hopeless much of the time – is the idea that ultimately good wins. All redeemed, all resurrected, all restored. Every tear wiped away. There’s no more sea. That sort of idea.
I don’t know how real this is, but it only makes sense to me to try to live as if it were real. So I cling, desperately and foolishly, to the illogical idea that this present epoch of death (whether in the towns of Syria, the beaches of Greece, the streets of Paris, the refugee camps of Turkey, the cold borders of Serbia, the sweatships of Bangladesh, the labour camps of China, and brothels of Mumbai) must somehow inevitably yield to resurrection.
It is only by clinging to this idea – by focusing on the the Light and not the darkness – that my fear can be channeled into some rough approximation of faith, my anger channeled into love, and my despair into hope.
But the question of what to do remains. Even if the temporary psychological paralysis can be overcome in this way, what, practically, should I do? I don’t think I need to change career. I’m sure that constitution-building is a worthwhile occupation. It helps, if only very indirectly, to give people the ability to defend human rights and promote the common good. And if that-which-we-call ‘God’ called me into constitution-building so clearly, I’m sure any call away from it would be equally clear.
But it’s not enough to try to be light in the day job. I feel that I need to do more. Even if the world is being redeemed and restored, it doesn’t happen by magic. There’s no effective incarnation except us, human beings, working to put it right. So maybe I should be doing something quite radically more. No doubt all will become clear in due course, in one of those rare but terrifying ‘slap around the back of the head by the holy spirit’ moments. But I feel that I can no longer just sit on my backside posting pictures on Facebook. I need to do something.