Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Grand Canyon and Life Choices

Last year, my spouse and I visited the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Pictures do not adequately show the grandeur, size, scope and beauty of the canyon.  Another bonus was the night sky:  I saw stars I never see at home due to light pollution.  All this beauty but still a potentially dangerous place when a choice goes wrong.

During our visit, there was a 30 mile per hour wind blowing.  This added a sense of adventure to walking the trails near the lodge but didn't seem to deter people from climbing on rocks, standing on top of rock formations or getting close to the edge.  It seemed as if these individuals did not comprehend their choice might have an effect on other people.  One slip of a foot or one big gust of wind could have sent these adventuresome souls over the rim.  Then rescue people would have to risk their life to retrieve an injured person or worse a body and the person's family would have to deal with either the resulting medical issues or getting the body home for burial.

This is the same with life: we make choices without ever thinking of how a choice will, might, or could affect people around us.  The affair which negatively impacts the children due to gossip at school or the damage to a spouse's self esteem.  The binge drinking that brings sorrow due to the drinker's death or death of others due to driving while intoxicated.  The examples are endless but the common denominator is the actions are self initiated without any thought of the effect on others.

Sometimes, we realize the choice is incorrect but spend a large amount of time and effort justifying our choice: you just don't understand what I'm dealing with, you can understand because you have never experienced what I'm going through.  You may be correct: I don't know what you are dealing with or going through but I can clearly see your choice has potential, detrimental affect on others.

I have an acquaintance who is currently experiencing some upheaval in their life.  They have chosen to dull the pain through natural pharmacology.  I so bad want to "DiNozzo" them.  For those, who don't watch NCIS, a "DiNozzo" is a whack to the back of the head.  This person is of reasonable intelligence and is supposedly a Christian but attempts to justify their behavior.

This person doesn't seem to want to acknowledge that natural pharmacology can negatively impact their health, brain, and/or their family.  They just want to escape the pain they are experiencing.  My question is: do you realize less mature Christians and especially non-Christians are watching you? What does your cavalier attitude say: it's okay to dull the pain when life gets too rough and turn your back on your Christian values?

What would have been the result if Christ had dulled His pain?  Would He have been able to be a witness of God's holiness to the disciples?  Would He have been able to effectively minister to people?  Or would He just have been "that dude with long hair" spouting off platitudes?

I strongly empathize with this person.  I too have wanted to "escape" from life's pain but choose instead to "escape" through prayer and Christian fellowship.  These "drugs" provide benefits unattainable with natural pharmacology.  Fellowship provides a communal experience of support, love, understanding, guidance, and sympathy.  Natural pharmacology is self centered and isolates one from caring, supporting people by creating an opaque barrier preventing an individual from reaching out to others for help.  Also, the pharmacology induced euphoria dulls the senses to the downward spiral occurring.

In a way, this person's choice is like the windy Grand Canyon: one step too close to the edge or one big windy gust will trigger consequences from which it will be very difficult to recover.  In my acquaintance's case, the consequence will be serious damage to their Christian witness and testimony plus their Christian effectiveness will be diminished.

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