In a way I’m envious of my other grandson, Noah. He’s ten years old and is counting the days until school is over for the summer. He makes me think of those long ago halcyon days which seemed to last forever in the mind of a ten year old boy. A hundred years ago Einstein proved that time was relative to the observer. He needn’t have thought so deeply. He must have forgotten what it was like to be a ten year boy because summers last forever for them.
Most of us can’t recall many details of the first three years of our lives. Yet, it is during these crucial first years that the constructs of love and self esteem are indelibly imprinted. Oakley just turned two years old and won’t remember what we did today, but he will build a life on the firm foundation of the love we give him.
Why does a school day seem so long and summers stretch forever in the mind of a ten year old? For Noah, a year is no more than one seventh of his experience and memory. On the other hand, to a sixty-three year old a year is a much smaller fraction of my awareness, and therefore seems to pass more rapidly than it does for Noah. I can recall those endless summer days playing pick-up baseball, building a tree house with my brothers, and riding my bicycle to the drug store for a fountain-made cherry-coke. It was there that I first heard, “It was an itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny, yellow, polka dot bikini that she wore for the first time today.” To a pubescent boy this otherwise poor excuse of rock and roll was memorable.
My life is certainly different now than when I was working eleven hour days in my large medical practice. Maybe it’s because my days still remain so full that I haven’t experienced the relativistic time dilation of “retirement.” My attention has been diverted from a waiting room full of patients to the programming of a two year old’s heart and mind. And I am no longer the professor with all the answers. My wife Becky is the master of this realm. And she, along with my grandson, Oakley, have become my mentors. Everyday I see new things in Oakley’s mannerisms, speech and development. Maybe I just forgot many of those childhood milestones and lessons I learned as a young parent. Mostly, what I recall is the feeling of love more than the developmental details. Fortunately, Becky remembers everything about raising our girls and assures me I was there as back up and for the important moments. And I trust her because in matters of the heart she is without equal.
I’ve been meditating on purpose lately. This perspective and our origin have been recurrent questions for humanity down through the ages. For most of my adult life my purpose was that of a physician as well as a husband, a Christian, and a father. My emphasis is now redirected toward what I refer to as the three Fs: family; faith; and friends. The intensity of my role as a doctor and counselor has lessened with my transition from the care of thousands of patients to the care of the three dozen in my concierge practice. You would think I would have more time. However, raising a boy is very time consuming, but the most important work I’ve undertaken since my girls were small. Watching and helping Oakley is now my pleasure and my purpose.
As much as I’d like to focus on the three Fs, and the care of my concierge folks, I am often distracted by the world. Perhaps I should stick my head in the proverbial sand and apply Bobby McFerrin’s, “Don’t worry; be happy,” logic. Unfortunately, I can’t be oblivious to the world and remain true to my principles. So, I must speak the truth to those who’ll listen as long as I’m afforded a voice.
There is a principle in religion called dualism. The ancient Hebrews were monotheists, believing in one God. After their conquest by the Babylonians in the 6th century BC they languished in slavery for decades. Subsequent generations asked why they should suffer for the sins of their fathers. In Babylonia the Hebrews were exposed to an eastern religious philosophy called Zoroastrianism, which described a cosmic battle between good and evil. Conceptually, evil must be the source of their suffering, and would later be personified as the Devil.
Like the ancient Greeks I used to believe that all the problems of the world could be explained by man’s hubris – arrogant pride. I’m not so sure of this any longer. The notion of evil now seems a more plausible explanation for Boko Haram, the atrocities of the Holocaust and the Syrian civil war, and radical Islam. I used to be more tolerant, but now I identify perspectives and people antithetical to any notion of virtue (right attitude) or morality (right behavior). I actually believe in an absolute good or ideal which I know as God. I measure myself and others against this ideal. Often I find myself and others wanting, but there are people who are seemingly lost to “the rulers, the powers and the forces of darkness.”
Jesus did not compromise with the Pharisees of his day or with Herod. He predicted his own martyrdom and the persecution of the Church we see today by secular humanism and by progressives. Should I turn the other cheek and accept martyrdom? Or should I stand up and oppose evil, exposing it wherever I can? I believe human life is sacred and shouldn’t be aborted. We will one day do penance for our American Holocaust. Only God can forgive the lies of our leaders. I refuse to “reach across the aisle” to the people of the lie. And the truth matters, now and always, Mrs. Clinton.
We live in a universe of contrasting opposites: light/dark; yin/yang; matter/antimatter; good/evil. However, maybe darkness is just the absence of light. And love is the absence of evil.
The great I Am is by definition beyond human understanding. However, I can comprehend love, His motive force of the universe. That is our ultimate quest and purpose.