One of my favorite movies in the world is the movie The Holiday. Besides my deep adoration for Miles, Jack Black’s character (Because, that’s me down to the T), the movie perfectly explains perfectly the complexity of our human desires, and, more importantly, the mystery of ourselves.
Since, religion is the catalyst for society and drives the ship (at least it was), one of the biggest problems to me is that we have placed all of our hopes on belief. Recently, I read this about belief, “Beliefs can be held lightly or with emotional intensity, but, they are more propositional than existential”. See, the problem with this, is that if something is propositional, it never shapes us, it never affects us, it never moves from our heads into our hearts.
The true great things in life, are not propositional, no, they are pure mystery. Love, Faith, Hope, these things cannot be explained, they cannot be grasped.
If a guy loves a girl and someone asks him why he loves her and he says “Well, she’s got those full lips and legs that go for miles”, well, then he probably doesn’t love her. Because, there are more women out their with those characteristics too. In fact, there are probably girls with better legs and lips than her, do you love them more? Or, if you ask a girl why she loves her man, she might say “He makes me feel safe and he’s really funny”. Well, there are probably guys out there who will protect you and make you laugh more than the guy you have. Do you love him more?
It’s the mystery that we crave. It’s the unexplainable. Because, at the end of the day, we can’t believe the reasons why we love someone, why we have faith in someone, why we hope in someone. We love, have faith and hope in someone based upon the mystery. And, the more we love, have faith and have hope in someone, the more mysterious it gets. The more we love someone, the more we understand how much more we can love them. The more we have faith in someone, the more we realize how faithless we are.The more we hope in someone the more we realize how hopeless we are without them.
What happens when the mystery fades? We no longer have the creative search for that being? This is where we begin to understand the notion of suffering and love. When we truly love, have faith or hope in someone, it creates a hole in our existence. The hole eventually gets so big, that life as we know cannot be the same. The mystery is so big, that when the absence of it begins, we begin to live in another uncontrollable, undefinable, uncertain position, that of suffering. We tirelessly go through our walk and suffer endlessly, because, we have transitioned into one state of chaos (beauty) into another (destruction). As Richard Rohr says far better than in reference to Mark 12:30 “That’s why love works and it leads us to giving up control, which is my definition of suffering: whenever, you’re not in control”.
If Rohr is right, we hate those times when we aren’t in control are we? It hurts us, kills us, and, fortunately shapes. Anytime anyone has taken control over you, you realize that you now have two options out of your suffering: 1. You can take it back and control others, or, 2. You can surrender yourself and yield yourselves to love.
When you surrender yourselves to love, what you get is, is a satisfied wife. A wife who didn’t have to nag her husband to clean out the toilet. You get a wife who gets flowers in times when there isn’t a fight. You get a friend knows you are truly caring for them and that their destruction is safe with you. You get a daughter who knows she is beautiful and wonderful the way she is.
The truth is, if we maintain our current understanding of relationships, then we are going to continue dying. Our friendships will be ruined and our marriages will continue down the path of treachery. We need mystery, we need to throw out our systematic handbooks on how to live in community with each other. As soon as you have to force yourself to do something, you are not the entity that you are trying to do. We have to submit ourselves to the awe of our fellow humans, and, begin there.