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Sunday, October 30, 2016

What Happens Then?

Love Reality

I think the pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of reality because illusion never leaves us ultimately happy.”
Parker Palmer

So, the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians are three games into the World Series. Fans in both cities, and around the country, have quite literally been waiting their entire lifetimes to see this spectacle. Both cohorts have been saying, “This is our year! I just know it!” I've never seen such elation (and desperation) in the people I know who support one team or the other. I told my friend, Janice, who's Chicago born and bred, and a rabid Cubs fan, that I didn't think I'd ever wanted anything that much in my whole life. Ultimately, one team will win and one will lose—that's just reality. What happens then?

So, you meet this incredible human being—maybe on-line, maybe through friends. You can't believe your good fortune when they express that undeniable flash of interest that says, “Hey, we could be more than friends.” You pursue, they respond, and it becomes “a thing”—a good thing, an amazing thing, a glorious thing! You're over-the-top happy. You meet the family; they love you, you love them, and all is going swimmingly, until one day some little, insignificant, something happens, and your glorious creature throws a good-old, full-out, cursing, foot-stomping temper tantrum right in front of you. Whoa. You've never seen this side of Beautiful before. What happens then?

Reality tests us. It shapes us. It's never one-sided, or all shiny-bright forever. Right beside beautiful, incredible, and full of light, there are shadows, shade, black nights of the soul. The question is, how do we deal with the darker side of reality? Can we still be happy if the Cubs lose, or the Indians? What if Incredible Creature turns out to have some pretty dark character flaws? Do we tuck and run? Do we forgo the light and beauty because it comes attached to some dark and ugly? Can we experience that darkness, and still be happy to be here? Here's what Parker Palmer says: “Even when life challenges us, it's a gift beyond all measure.” I believe that. I'll bet you do, too.

                                                      In the Spirit,

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