I do not think self portraits will become a regular thing anytime soon. They are not for the fainthearted. Yet today it somehow seemed appropriate, to take a look from the outside, to remember that I am not grounded by the way things are, as I see them from my own perspective. I am grounded by an outside source.
Descartes, that brilliant philosopher did the world a great service in his studies of epistemology and metaphysics and mathematics (though that is an area I benefited little from), but he did us all a bit of harm as well when he helped to launch the western mind into a way of thinking that believes all truth must start within oneself. I think, therefore I am. I see, therefore this is what is real. And on and on the list goes.
When something particularly trying comes along (today for me it was an insurance claim denial), the view gets distorted and dark and we grope around looking to steady our bearings on something.
It is not just hospital bills, but the heartaches of people I love that made me wobble and grope this morning. But there is a truth that shouts louder than my own thoughts, that reminds me of things I know, not because I think them, but because they Are. And I read how Naomi, who herself had known the bitter dealing of the Almighty, had proclaimed "May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!"
Can you truly find rest when you know his hand can deal both bitterness and blessing? You can. She did. I do. When you believe all that He says about himself and not just the things that you pick and choose, you begin to find a God, a world, a life more solid and sure and real and lovely than anything you could create from within yourself.
And then there was this bit from Jack, who is always so helpful. Thank you dear friend!
Someone said, "A suitor wants his suit to be heard as well as granted." In suits to God, if they are really religious acts at all and not merely attempts at magic, this is even more so.We can bear to be refused but not to be ignored.
In other words, our faith can survive many refusals if they are really refusals, and not mere disregards. The apparent stone will be bread to us if we believe that a Father's hand put it into ours, in mercy or in justice or even in rebuke. It is hard and bitter, yet it can be chewed and swallowed.
But if, having prayed for our heart's desire and got it, we then became convinced that this was a mere accident-- that providential designs which had only some quite different end just couldn't help throwing out this satisfaction for us as a by-product-- then the apparent bread would become a stone. A pretty stone, perhaps, or even a precious stone. But not edible to the soul.
- C.S Lewis in Letters to Malcolm