A Curse or A Blessing?

Often in my life, I have experienced dark, cold periods of empty desolation. We all experience times in our life when we are confronted with what seems like overwhelming problems. It is hard to choose life when everything seems to be going wrong. In difficult times, when we are dragged down by discouragement, it is easy to give up. Hope in the midst of setbacks and a cloudy future does not come easily. On a few occasions in my life, I was tempted to shut down, to give up on life, because I felt so helplessly dislocated and disoriented. It even happened while writing this book. But my faith, though weakened, forced me to look at the situation differently, to try to see how a particular crisis was really an opportunity for self-transcendence, to move beyond circumstances beyond my control into a new intensity, a new path to God. As God reminds us through Moses: “Today: I set before you life or death, blessing or curse.” And each day, we must choose…no matter what the day brings to us.

Life is about change. A dynamic life is not a static life. Our journey through life is marked with many passages during which our lives were transformed, often by events outside of ourselves, such as a sudden illness, the death of a loved one, a car accident, the loss of a job or a natural disaster. For most of us, how we respond to life-altering events depends in large part on the depth of our spiritual life. Is what is happening to me a curse or a blessing? I think the answer depends on whether or not I believe a loving and caring God is walking through each day with me, even those days when, in my sinfulness, I am not aware of God’s presence. A curse would be to see a crisis or major setback as the punishment of a vindictive God who wants to slap you around because of mistakes or lapses in moral judgment. A blessing would be to see a crisis as God’s way of leading you down a new path toward a new life. I have often referred to troubled times in my life as a crisis, and I think I used that term in a rather negative sense as I saw whatever was happening from the point of view of how it endangered my future. But, there is always a positive side to every crisis, as a crisis is also an opportunity for change and growth. A time of crisis is often a gateway to new passage in life, a time of a positive transition into experiencing more deeply God’s love, compassion and goodness…and allowing us to grow in those very same virtues. Entering more fully into God’s love, compassion and goodness is the sole purpose of our lives. We are incomplete until we are completed in God.


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