A Cup of Conversation – February 2018

I read the other day the difference between having cancer or not is just one radicalized cell…out of billions. Makes me rethink the microwave.

The difference between driving safely down the highway and a horrific head on collision is one ill-timed text or hot coffee spill. Maybe extra hot to go and teen drivers are not such a good idea?

Physicists still cannot definitively explain what holds the atom’s nucleus together and why its positively-charged particles don’t split apart, exploding in spectacular cosmic conflagration. Ever try matching two magnets together on the positive sides?

The same scientific community says if the earth was any closer or farther away from the sun, it could not support life due to temperature extremes. We’d either freeze or fry. This makes the climate argument a little less heated in the grand scheme of things. Personally, I’m worried more about volcanos blowing the whole deal or comets the size of the Rose Bowl taking out California, although it would end the secession discussion. It would also change the PAC-12 to the PAC-5 since Oregon would not survive the seismic stroke. Feel free to check my collegiate map and geoscience.

What do all of the above have in common? All are part and parcel to the unnerving thin grey line: the nebulous division between life and death, existence and nothingness, balance and chaos, health and illness, light and darkness.

Everything we know or think we understand is so…fragile. Even the safe and secure is just a degree from not, like the difference between French Roasted and burnt. It’s understandable why anti-anxiety drugs are more popular than coffee…that’s not really true but people are fearful about everything and don’t know why.

Let’s shift into a higher gear. Somebody once asked Mother Teresa how she was able to cope in the filthy squalor and disease-filled places of the poorest regions on earth. What a question. So how did the good sister deal with the desperate poverty and violent uncertainty around her every waking moment? The saint of a woman said she saw every day the (literal) face of Jesus on those sick, worm-ridden and dying in her arms. There must have been a stairway to Heaven just above them with angels ascending and descending daily. How does anyone question faith like hers?

The remarkable soul saw everything in the context of faith extending far beyond her own life. I’m thinking there was much more to the iconic Sister of Charity than we can understand but it’s clear: fear dissipates in the face of true faith. Anything less, however, fear owns the senses and the unnerving thin grey line is evident everywhere we look.

There is a book in the Old Testament authored some three millennia ago using a reference to a silver cord and golden bowl to describe the soul’s connection to mortal life and human consciousness. Some scholars think the reference is to a lamp with precious oil stored in a golden vessel with a silver wick to hold the flame of life. Once the cord is severed, the soul is separated from the body in what we call physical death…like an astronaut space-walking the heavens while tethered to life-support. Apart from faith, it sounds ominous. However, within the context of eternal life, salvation and the faith to believe, it’s more like grand adventure.

Regardless of what people believe, it is very disturbing how mankind, as well as inanimate laws of the universe abuse the sanctity of human life when a loving, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient God is removed from the equation. Humanity quickly becomes cynical, harsh and vain where gravity and corruption rule. Mother Teresa saw this everyday of her long-suffering life. She witnessed the worst humanity can offer but also the best in charity when faith was exercised. The diminutive giant of a human being whom stood with great honor before world courts of royalty and influence said those wealthy and privileged with callous hearts and loveless homes were the true poor and impoverished. They say you could have heard a pin drop in the marble corridors of power when that bomb of truth was dropped. The beloved saint simply saw life through the eyes of Christ. What she didn’t see were thin grey lines.

Be good not bitter.