Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Life is...Good?

I got this sticker in the mail this week, along with a t-shirt I bought from the company that has, remarkably, trademarked the phrase:

Thing is, when I saw the sticker I was struck somehow...like I was seeing the idea for the first time.

Life is good.

Do I really believe this? Do you?

My immediate response was not to say yes or no, but rather, "I want to believe," which suddenly made me feel like Mulder from the X-Files trying to make sense of a universe that's just too big for one man to understand.

Truth is, there are many other descriptors of life that I often find much easier to believe than "Life is good."

For example, life is hard.
Life is complicated.
Life is not fair.
Life is painful.
Life is scary.
Life is uncertain.
Life is not a game.

Hard, complicated, unfair, painful, scary, uncertain -- does that sound good to you?

But even as I write these, I realize that they are all just limiting perspectives. (A perspective, in coaching parlance, is a dominating view of the world, the "reality" you choose to embrace that trumps all others.) Each one of these declarations about life can become a particular shade of tinted glass through which I choose to see the world, filtering my perception accordingly to highlight those things that reinforce it and blinding me to those things that don't.

So if, for example, I adopt a perspective that "life is hard," then all I will be prone to see are the hard things in life. That lens will filter out most or all that does not reinforce it. I will not see the easy or the fun, and even if I do, I probably won't trust it or enjoy it much...because since "life is hard," I will know the easy moments are fleeting and insubstantial.

There's some truth in all of these statements, of course. But that doesn't make any of them the deepest kind of True.

But what about that one, the trademarked one: Life is good. Is that the deepest kind of True? Can I really believe that?

Well...what if you did?

Let us in all the troubles of life remember--that our one lack is life--that what we need is more life--more of the life-making presence in us making us more, and more largely, alive. When most oppressed, when most weary of life, as our unbelief would phrase it, let us bethink ourselves that it is in truth the inroad and presence of death we are weary of. When most inclined to sleep, let us rouse ourselves to live. Of all things let us avoid the false refuge of a weary collapse, a hopeless yielding to things as they are. It is the life in us that is discontented; we need more of what is discontented, not more of the cause of its discontent.

--George MacDonald

Too often we forget that the way we see the world is a choice.

I'm choosing to believe that Life if Good today. I choosing it because I believe it is the deepest kind of True.

What will you believe today?


aerlia said...

Thanks Michael! I definitely needed that reminder!

Anonymous said...

What does it look like, to live with the belief that life is good? How do we recognize it, in the face of all the other stuff that seems so clear and obvious, that points to life being hard or painful or scary or just bleh (like the bumbersticker - "life happens and then you die")? How do we "do" life from the perspective you're talking about?

Tammy said...

Thanks Michael, that's an awesome reminder. All I've been thinking all day is how much time I "don't" have.
Which brings me to another phrase...
Life is short.

When I first said that, I was thinking about how "short" on time I am.
Taking a second look, life is "short" and I'm making it to complicated...

Sara said...

I'm so glad i dropped by your blog today. Awesome post! Thanks for sharing.

Michael D. Warden said...

Hey Anon,

Loved the question, "How do you 'do' life from the perspective you're talking about? (i.e. "Life is good.)

My best advice on that comes straight from St. Paul. This is what works for me:

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."
(Philippians 4:6-8)

Cody said...

I love this post. A few years ago, I would not have. But now I love this post because I was once blind but now I see.

Quoting your quote of a quote to Anonymous, "the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." These words inform me that Christ offers his resurrection in everything we could possibly see. Where there once was x, there now is Life. The Christ paradigm makes good of all of life. It is no wonder he refers to the Life he gives as "abundant life"! And though I am oft tempted by the self to pity my past for missing the Good so long, even it, when viewed through the lens of resurrection, reveals a garden bursting into life.

Great post, Michael. Much thanks.

A tilde in front of decay,