There Goes My Teacher
Good grief, there goes that politician I can’t stand ! We hear some version of this every day these days, right ? In the US or in France, where I live. People’s fur is up and most are sure they have the right take on the situation, the person, the platform. I’m no different. But when I feel the roots of my hair rising (like my cat Kallie’s when she’s confronting that orange tabby in the backyard), I’m reminded of what the Buddhists advise us to think in such a case : not ˝There goes that & !;@* again˝, but ˝There goes my teacher.˝
I Met Job at the Penitentiary
Let’s call him Joe. I saw him dressed in sackcloth, his head shaved, sitting on a pile of rubble and ashes. His skin was afflicted with loathsome sores. Metaphors, of course. Joe is an intelligent man, gifted with a subtle understanding of people and events, and a delightful sense of humor,which hides his suffering—momentarily, at least—because once he begins telling his life story, suffering is all we can hear.
His parents didn’t succeed in beating him to death, so they dropped him off at a convent door. Having been dragged from one host family to another (eleven, all told), he calls himself a fed-ex parcel.
I know Lucette from my intercessory prayer group. She is kind-hearted and compassionate. A number of people confide in her, and they find consolation and encouragement. She isn’t so young any more and with age, her hearing is less acute. « Why is it, » she asked me one day, « that God sends me people to listen to and deafness at the same time ? » I have to agree ; there isn’t a great deal of logic in that ! I told her simply that I didn’t know.
For sure, I don’t know, but I would never have thought of phrasing the question that way. Lucette sees « God » as a Being exterior to herself who gives this to one and that to another and (I suppose) apparently gives next-to-nothing to some and only problems to others, if we follow this reasoning. How can we answer her, because such a God would really be quite whimsical. We’d need to stand on our heads to save his/her reputation, which a good number of people have been trying to do for centuries (this is called « theodicy »). I believe they’ve been wasting their time. What we need to rethink is our concept of the divine.