The Universe She Be Sneaky

2007-08-20 080


One of my early wake-up calls happened when I was maybe 10, an alter boy daydreaming of God.

“Steve, a gigantic meteor is headed for China.  If you choose, you can prevent the death of the entire Chinese population.  To do so, you must dive to the deepest part of the lake and move a stone that covers a secret passage to the center of the earth.  Unfortunately, the dive will kill you.  Even more, your death will be painful.  Will you take on the job?”

“Gee, I guess so, why not?” I found myself saying.

And with that, I could no longer get why anybody thought it was a big deal that Jesus died to save humankind.  I mean, who wouldn’t?

And if an ordinary kid like me would do it, why am I supposed to get all somber and awe-struck that a guy who is not just some schmoe but the actual “son of God” is willing to spend a day getting humiliated, tortured and brutally murdered in order to redeem the eternal souls of everyone who will ever live?  (Whatever the heck that meant.)  It sounded like a pretty good trade to me.

Besides, what did it mean that Jesus sacrificed his life?  What exactly did he lose?  The man rose from the dead, for crying out loud!

Of course I’d give my life for love.  What else is there?

But, as we all know, the universe she be sneaky.  Over the years and the carnage of unmanaged fear familiar to us all, I’ve come to feel that the real meaning of dying for love is a lot more challenging than giving up my body.  And for all I know, that’s what Jesus was getting at.  Saving a stranger from a burning building?  No problem.  Giving another my place in the lifeboat?  Done.  Letting go of all the beliefs that prevent me from experiencing the joy of my soul?  Now you’re getting personal.


For a video version of this essay, click here.

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"I honor that we are killing the earth for the same reason I consider being an alcoholic a privilege: it is a doorway to the profound self-understanding required to make truly healthy choices."

The Essay: Honoring the Killing of the Earth