Friday, February 26, 2016

The Swirling, Churning Mind

This morning my mind swirls and churns.  I think of my firstborn son, born a half-century ago on this day.  He is now in middle life, a time I remember in my own journey with a chilly shiver or two.  My son is now midway between the cradle and the grave.  Naturally, I think of where that puts me on the scale of things.  Does he experience that pensive autumn feeling that I knew at fifty when he looks back upon his journey?  Does he now have to deal with that unwelcome truth that he is no longer going up the hill, but down?  Does he realize that there are more years behind him now than the years yet to be?  I want to shout out to him today on his birthday those famous words of Browning’s, “Paul, ‘the best is yet to be!’  I’ve found it so and I know you will too.”

My mind swirls and churns and then settles for a moment on the thought of my yet unseen (but I will see her soon) great-granddaughter, Addison Elizabeth.  What will her world be like?  Will she wear a breathing apparatus to avoid poisonous air?  Will she be able to drink water free from lead? Will she enjoy the grandeur of Big Bend National Park overlooking the Rio Grande (as I have done), or will her view be blocked by a giant wall?  Will she be free, free to speak her mind and protest against all forms of bigotry and prejudice, free to roam the world, free to get a sound education?  What does the future hold for her, I wonder?  I pray for my great-granddaughter and for all of her generation and with faith say:  “The best is yet to be!”

Still my mind won’t stop the swirling and the churning, bounding from one thing to another without rhyme or reason.  I’m thankful for this mental meandering at three-score ten plus three!  At least I know my mind is still functioning (in spite of what those of you who are reading this may think).  Euripides wrote, “Our own mind is something of God in every one of us.”  If so, ought we not to use it and let it instruct us? 

It is important, I think, for us to sit still and push all activity aside and let our minds swirl and churn and lead us to wherever or whatever it will.  If our mind “is something of God” in us, who knows what may happen when we begin to let that mind swirl and churn?

Adapt yourselves no longer to the pattern you’ve been following—so busy that you have no time to think, feeling what you feel without thinking it through.  Let your minds swirl and churn.  Let your minds be remade in this process and your whole nature will thus be transformed.  Then you will be able to discern more clearly and to know what is good and acceptable. (A paraphrase of Romans 12:2).

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