June 23, 2021

Pastoral Nuggets: Philosophical Ponderings by Brother Aaron

In my older age, I find myself becoming somewhat more philosophical about life.

In a more logical, calmer, deeper thinking sort of way, I am coming to the realization that life, as we know it, is just not that complicated.

Is it confusing? Yes! Is it frustrating? Yes! Is it always fair? No!

And even though it is not complicated – often, we are the ones who complicate it!  As the cartoon character Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”

Amen! I am my own worst enemy. I have died a thousand deaths from self-inflicted wounds! But even so, life as we know it, is just not that complicated.

I want to encourage you to think of life as a party. There are three great uncomplicated truths regarding the Party of Life.

First, every one of us arrived late. You see, unless you were with God when He stepped out onto the middle of nothing and said, “Let there be…” and it was, then the party was already going when you made your arrival.  (Even Adam & Eve were late comers!)

Secondly, unless Jesus comes before we die, all of us will leave the party before it is over. The Bible teaches that all of us must die. And finally, the party will continue without us.

Now, that hurts my feelings! Why, I thought that when I die, God will surely tell the angels to strike the tent, break camp, and go home. After all, how could life possibly continue without me? Right?

But He will say nothing of the sort to the angels, and the party will continue without me! So, hear a philosophical truth: Life is just not that complicated: 1. We arrive late. 2. We leave early. 3. It continues when we are gone.

I encourage you to think of life as an Interstate Highway. Every Interstate has a beginning and an end.

However, seldom does anybody travel the entire length. There are ramps all along the way. Some are used to enter, and some are used to exit. To enter, we must merge with the existing traffic. We must travel at a minimum speed. We must maintain our lane. We must travel in the correct direction. And we must not exceed the posted speed limit.

And while, at any given moment-in-time, we may share the Interstate with thousands of fellow travelers – few share our destination. Think about it.  We share a common road but not necessarily a common destination.

Therefore, when we take our exit, many will keep right on going! So, I have come to another philosophical truth, that being, it is what we do “Between the Ramps” that defines life as we know it.

I am reading a book by Robert Fulghum entitled, “Uh-Oh!”

I like that title because those words come out of my mouth a lot! In it, he tells of a time when he was purchasing some items from a grocery store. This was back in the day when cash was king and before everybody had credit cards.

The cash register had one of those “bowl like” attachments made onto it, so when the clerk made your change, all of your quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies dropped into the cup.

Fulghum said he noticed a handwritten note on the cup that said, “Here is your change. Be sure to take it with you.”

It was an ah-ha moment for him! He thought, “This is the secret of life. It gives you change, but you must be sure to take it with you.”

As Fulghum took his change and began to walk toward the exit, fate handed him another life-lesson. As he looked at the automatic exit door, there was a big sign on it that read, “Exit door broken. The only way out is in.” It was another ah-ha moment.

As with Fulghum, sometimes, due to no fault of our own, we find ourselves facing situations in life that force us to adjust and to embrace the reality that our only way out – is in!

Again, life is just not that complicated. Life is a party to which we arrive late, leave early, and it continues after we leave. What we do “Between the Ramps” defines life as we know it. Life gives us change; we must take it with us. And sometimes we must adjust – as we face the reality that our only way out – is in!

Just some philosophical ponderings by Brother Aaron

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