Why Open Another Box?

A unconditional conversation between mother and daughter...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dear Erin ... To Learn or Ignore?

*From time to time I will include personal letters that my mom wrote to me, in addition to her actual stories. All letters were written on my mom's specialized computer (refer to her bio). Most were written during my tumultuous, angst-filled high school years and sadly, most were never read in full, or never read at all. Some have phone numbers carelessly written in my hand, others are crumpled or stained with unidentifiable liquid (I shudder to think what kind). Still, I have them and they are legible. And it might strike you as interesting as it does me, that although written to her high-school-aged daughter, the language and content seem at times more suitable to an adult. I'm rather glad I read them now-- in full, hoping at the same time, that perhaps she would too.

Dear Erin,

As your mom, I’ve often tried to protect you from getting hurt, physically and emotionally. Because I love you so much, I can’t stand to see you in pain. But if I somehow managed to protect you from all suffering, I would be denying you the opportunity to develop consciousness. I would be obstructing your path toward God.

I believe all our life experiences, good and bad, are chances for us to learn responsibility, generosity and compassion. The disease I have is an experience which is giving our whole family a chance to become more conscious and to open ourselves to the needs of others. It is a terrible, wonderful gift from God we can choose to learn from or ignore.

Though I’ve learned a lot about God during the years of my illness, I have to admit that life is still basically a mystery to me. A story Flak read to me one day helped me understand God’s relationship to us best of all. The story was written by a Christian author/editor, Philip Yancey and was about the aquarium he had set up in his office. First, he described the elaborate measures he took to keep his fish healthy and contented, including keeping the water in perfect chemical balance, feeding them precise amounts of nutrient-rich food, oxygenating the water and isolating sick fish. But were the fish grateful for this excellent treatment? On the contrary … In their ignorance, they fled in terror every time his hand appeared above the tank.

I think the universe of Philip Yancey’s aquarium is like the universe we live in. Humans are as incapable of comprehending God’s behavior as fish are incapable of understanding human behavior. Yet we humans have an advantage over fish. We have much more brain power, we can learn, and we can change the way we do things. So if we choose to use the brains God gave us, we can bring about the goodness on earth which will be the reflection of God in heaven.

It is much easier to say these things than to live them, Erin. But if all you can manage to do right now is pray for me and the other positive changes you’d like to see in the world, that’s okay. Then, as you learn to be more conscious, you will see that your prayers are being answered.



1 comment:

  1. Erin, your mother was truly an amazing person. Her perception, understanding and her outlook on life were truly incredible. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, I am learning so much!