As humans, we waffle between innocence and arrogance. At times we need to be reassured that we are acceptable and are good enough and other times we overconfidently think we are like Jack Dawson in Titanic and lean into life and cry, “I’m King of the World.” We are not, of course, King of the World. The story of creation in the bible suggests that the downfall of humanity was to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and then we would be like God. That is the arrogance that trips us up, isn’t it? We want to play god – we just don’t want the responsibilities of being god or even just a god.
So on any kind of spiritual journey it is good to begin at the end. “For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” Eccl. 12:7
Time is limited. When you are young you think time drags on and on and the thing you want most is a new pair of tennis shoes or if you live in Bangladesh, a place to have a meal and sleep. Our First World problems pale in comparison to those in what are now “Fourth World” communities. Do you have to reassure yourself like Stuart Smalley (aka Al Franken) and say, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and by golly people like me?” We have no right to be arrogant. Mock self-help doesn’t do much good either.
So begin with the end in mind. This will bring perspective to the whole of life. It’s not depressing – it is liberating and decisive. Can I find meaning for living with this as a starting point? Let’s find out.