On our son’s birthday, we drove out to a monastery where we planted a tree for him several years ago. And– as we suspected– the tree is dead. Not dry-leaves-blowing-in-the-wind dead, but there’s-grass-growing-where-
When someone dies, or when we’re hurt, or when someone is beset by a diabolical degenerative condition, we want someone, or Someone to intervene. To make it all right. To fix the mess. To heal the hurt. And when that doesn’t happen– when it seems that no one is looking out for us– we feel profoundly lonely. Despairing. Isolated.
Which is pretty petulant and immature, when you think about it. But feelings are feelings, and they cannot be helped. What needs help is our binary understanding of God– that God is either pulling all of the strings, or absent altogether. If we can’t find some space between these two impossible poles, we’ll be sentenced to a life of misery and abject blame. We need to make a memorial to our old understandings of God, and move on.