I got my answer to my dilemma today. There are still some details to be worked out, but it appears that a solution has been found that will be a win for everyone involved.
Was it something that I did on my own or something that God did on my behalf? Yes. Both/and.
“There is a divine restlessness in the human heart. Though our bodies maintain an outer stability and consistency, the heart is an eternal nomad. No circle of belonging can ever contain all the longings of the human heart.” ~John O’Donohue
I know this longing and this restlessness well. I have often described myself as a seeker because it seems like I have never found any religion, philosophy, or worldview that has been able to address this longing of my heart in a way that makes sense. I am always looking further to find answers.
“but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31 (NRSV)
In the class that I am currently taking, we recently completed a paper where we compared various translations of a passage of our choice in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). I chose Isaiah 40: 27-31 as my passage, and I compared the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), the New American Bible (NAB), the Jewish Publication Society 1985 version (JPS), and the New International Version (NIV). This covered the most popular mainline, Roman Catholic, Jewish, and Evangelical translations.
I attended a worship sharing gathering at a Friend’s house this evening. Worship sharing are Quaker meetings where we sit in silence until someone is led to speak, and then members of the group respond to that sharing and others that may have been voiced. This is a unique form of discourse in that each person simply shares their thoughts on the topic at hand without the usual requisite agreeing or disagreeing with those that have spoken before. Although previous comments obvious spark thoughts in the people who later share, it is not a conversation or debate as many discussions are in today’s world; it is just a sharing of your own thoughts on the topic as you feel led to share.
Tonight’s topic wound up being simplicity, and the thoughts that people shared on the subject ranged far and wide, from the story of the rich young ruler in the Gospels to end of life issues to dealing with downsizing to how our pride is wrapped up in our possessions to the challenges of knowing how to apply Jesus’ words to our lives today. As always, this conversation gave me much to ponder.
On the one hand … on the other hand…. Most of my pondering (on just about any topic) makes ample use of that phrase. On the one hand, this can make it very difficult to make a decision because I am able to see both sides of an issue. On the other hand, it makes it easier for me to understand others’ points of view because I can hold the tension of seeming opposites in my mind.
Lois Tverberg talks about the fact that Jewish thought tends to rely heavily on this type of thinking in her chapter “Thinking with both hands” in Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewish Words of Jesus Can Change Your Life. (On the one hand, I can imagine that my readers may be tired of hearing about my thoughts on this book. On the other hand, it is due back at the library, so I need to explore these thoughts while I still have it with me.)
While I have often viewed this tendency of mine with a great deal of frustration because of the challenges it causes me in making a decision, she points out a number of benefits to this way of thinking that are helping me to embrace this pattern’s usefulness.