Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Choice of Gardens

I’ve written about Progressivism before and about my ultimate question concerning the movement: Progress to what end? If we continue on a progressive path what is our destination? Well, an answer finally dawned on me. We are heading backwards. Like as far backwards as you can go. The Progressive agenda is one of a “Great Society” a Utopia of sorts. Equality for Progressives is not just equal rights, its equal things and little to no competition, because they don’t want anyone feeling bad about themselves. In that way it is also a lack of pain. The government will just take care of all your problems. There won’t be any difference of opinion. We’ll all just be the same. It is in essence recreating Eden.

Now the Garden of Eden was obviously a terrific and beautiful place. Everybody did really get along there. There was no conflict, not even between animals. What a spiffy place!! Seriously there are some things about it that are really attractive.
But, here’s the thing, Adam and Eve did not even know what a great place it was. They did not have joy in Eden. Why? Because they had nothing to distinguish it from, there was no pain, no suffering, and no opposition. They were, perhaps blissfully so, ignorant of any problems. But, they were ignorant of the good things too.

Man became fallen. But, when we fall that is when we look up. What we find is our own potential. I’m reminded of a quote from cyclist Lance Armstrong “The truth is, if you asked me to choose between winning the Tour de France and cancer, I would choose cancer. Odd as it sounds, I would rather have the title of cancer survivor than winner of the Tour, because of what it has done for me as a human being, a man, a husband, a son and a father.” Armstrong found a strength that he did not know he had. Pain and suffering ended up being a life changing experience for the positive. Progressivism with its non feeling pain ways would rob us of an important element of character development. The more we “progress” the more we morally and characteristically become stagnant and even start to decay.

For me, even more important than character development is spiritual development. This is particularly so because I believe your character has even greater potential when you turn to God to not just reach your potential but have Him lift you. We look up from our fallen state, to The Lord and realize He can make much more out of us, than we can make of ourselves. My trials have not made me a better person, my trials bring me to my knees, to the Lord, and He makes me a better person. As much as morality and character has been weakened, it seems spiritual decay is even more rampant (at least generally).

I’m reminded of another Garden, the one at Gethsemane. There our dear Savior suffered far beyond our comprehension. Because of Him and His Atonement we can experience pain and sorrow (whatever their causes from sin to conditions of humanity) and yet through Him be made far better than we could be without Him. He can turn difficult situations and experiences into immense joy. As Governor Sarah Palin stated after the birth of her grandson “When Bristol and Levi first told us the shocking news that she was pregnant, to be honest, we all at first looked at the situation with some fear and a bit of despair. Isn’t it just like God to turn those circumstances into such an amazing, joyful blessing when you ask Him to help you through?”

So, while those of the Progressive persuasion try to shield us from pain they also stunt our growth. They also fail to realize that the schemes of men just never work out right. Divine guidance is such an important key. There are many who are personally being strengthened as they make decisions to reach for their own potential and/or to reach to God, in facing difficult trials. But, it would certainly be wonderful if we as a nation were encouraged to be doing so now.

So, keep Eden where it is, firmly in the past. I’ll take the pain, I’ll take Gethsemane. Let us go through the trial, quit trying to cover with a band-aid the gaping wounds that will eventually break out. By all means I believe we need to protect ourselves and our nation from outside attack. But, we also need to face the consequences of irresponsibility.

Years ago I had the blessing of visiting the Garden of Gethsemane on several occasions. Now, I’m not much of a poet, but every once in a while a poem is the exact best way to express myself. During one visit under the shade of an olive tree this is what I wrote:

Gethsemane: 28/5/97

Some self-imposed trial weighs heavy on a soul,
Longing to let go she reaches out, side to side, downward, anywhere.
Pulling back finding hands bearing a broken heart,
Desperation seizes a long fought for soul.
Firmly grasping the pieces of her heart, she bows under the fear
And crying out in pain, silently to others, she collapses.
Out of some painful mist she sees a hand,
Raising her head slowly she strains to make out the marks.
Somewhere in her racked mind a small voice cries, “I know that hand”
She strains to look past the hand.
Gently the hand guides her chin up until she finds His eyes.
The voice says again, “I know those eyes.”
A loving memory fills the soul and dissembles the fear and pain,
A memory unentangled in finite realms,
Not one of perfect vision, but one of feeling.
The voice she recognizes as her own
Then she sees her younger self, the child who knew Him perfectly.
“It’s Him. He loves you”
Trusting the child that once was, she stands with His strength.
He opens His arms,
And into His embrace she falls.
The tears she weeps are cleansing, the pain leaves.
Again the feeling memory of long ago comes back.
There in His arms she remembers His lifetime.
His life was lived in love, in suffering all things for all He loved.
She sees in hearts vision a Garden and there culminated all,
The pain, the sorrow, the sin, the trials, the wars of infinity.
The child again speaks, “He knows you.”
“He does. He knows all sorrow and all joy that is mine,” she answers.
She finds herself again on the ground, this time kneeling with new found gratitude and joy.
Her heart whole. She again gives it to Him.

God blesses America. I pray that He will continue to do so. I think most of us remember what September 11th felt like and what we as a nation became at that time. We don’t need to go through another horrible experience like that to be strengthened and reach out and up. We could look at this economic turbulence now and face the pain. If we face it now we can get through it and become stronger and better. The sooner we do it the better, because as the government continues to interfere the problem only gets worse.

Given the choice I say keep Eden, I’ll take Gethsemane. I’d rather know pain than to not grow. I’d rather know sorrow than to not know Christ.

1 comment:

Deena said...

Thank you for sharing your insights. You are so right on.