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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Let it be done.."

Last week my wife, Peg, and I had the privilege and pleasure of spending a few days in Key West, Florida (which is one reason I didn't blog last week). One of the things visitors to Key West are encouraged to do is visit the historic Key West Cemetery that sits at the center of the island.  One of the most popular and frequently visited crypts in the cemetery is that of B.P. "Pearl" Roberts whose crypt stone reads:  "I TOLD YOU I WAS SICK."  A note in the self-guided tour brochure says Ms. Roberts was a "Local hypochondriac who had the last word with her marker."

Once one gets past the humor of this epitaph and notices that Ms. Roberts died at age 50, a profound sadness and truth sets in that more than likely she not only had the "last word" but also fulfilled her own expectations of life.

In several incidents in the Gospel of Matthew when people approach Jesus asking for some form of healing he responds with, "Let it be done to you as you - wish, believe, or have faith."  In other words our deep beliefs and expectations determine outcomes in our lives.  We get out of life what we expect.

Of course, this is not a magic formula of direct ratio.  Nor is it wishful thinking or hard nosed determinism.  What Jesus, and so many other spiritual masters through the ages, teaches is that our fundamental perspective on life, our world view shapes, molds and filters how we see, experience, and react to the people and events of our lives.

If we see creation as basically flawed and humans as inherently sinful, then this is the way we will experience them.  If we understand creation as God-proclaimed-good and humans as reflections of that goodness, then our experience of life becomes quite different.

Is this perspective of life a denial of pain, suffering and death?  Absolutely not.  In fact, the stories of people approaching Jesus are exactly that--stories of people in the middle of pain, suffering and death to whom Jesus offers the way to comfort, healing, and life.  And that "way" lies within the suffering person themselves.  "Let it be done unto you as you..."

What do we expect from life?   Chances are, whatever it is, this is what we will have.  

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