punchy line

...and he (Simon Peter) saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth ... not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. - Jn 20: 6-7
-Jn 20: 6-7

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Time is Our Best Ally

I started my daughter in ballet about a year ago.  At that time I envisioned that our mommy-and-me class would be filled with memories of my pink ballerina and I floating across the dance studio surrounded by the frothy halo of mother-daughter bonding.

In reality, it was torture from day one.

It was like a Dr. Seuss nightmare.  She did not want to stretch.  She did not want to dance.  She did not even want to hold hands, nor smile here nor there.  She did not want to do ballet anywhere.   Any attempts at soliciting her compliance were met with screams and the hurling of her small body to the worn dance floor.

But we persevered and her instructor, who was excellent, assured me that it was normal for first-timers to act like that (if she was bending the truth for my sake, I'm still grateful.)   A year later, my little girl now loves ballet. In fact, she excels in all its technical aspects and she no longer needs mommy there to feel secure (we also stayed with that same wonderful instructor.)

What changed?  She did.  We kept at it, sure, but my greatest ally in this case was simply time.  With time, she was able to see, on her own, how fun the class was.  With time, she eventually matured enough to gather that the other kids were not going to bite her if she held their hands.  With time, her overall curiosity and reason uprooted and assuaged her anxiety and fear.   With time, (and yes, some exposure to ballet in picture books as well as cartoons) she, at some point, decided that it was better to go along with program, rather than spend her energy in protest.

But it took time.

Heck, it took time for me to come around to the fullness of the Faith too. 

As I’ve already written, I spent a good chunk of my formative years as a  ‘cradle’ Catholic assuming that I knew the Faith when, in fact, I did not.  It was only when I discovered what the Church truly taught and how reasonable those teachings were that I began to change my perspective on the issues around me.

But it did take awhile to fully assimilate all that I had been missing in my religious education.  And I’m still learning though I like to think I do know a little bit about the faith by now.

And one thing I do know is that, though Christians currently face egregious persecutions for our moral convictions, time, again, is our best ally.

Let me explain.  While our most fundamental beliefs on marriage, the dignity of the unborn human person and end of life issues currently dominate the political canopy, something beneath the willingly blind eye of the media is happening and it’s very much tied up with the march of time. 

What do I mean?  Have you ever noticed that many of our most cantankerous opponents espouse a worldview that is somewhat, er, dated? Whether its embracing the tenets of the sexual revolution, or believing that abortion is the essence of women’s liberation, time, the great equalizer, turns nice sounding ideas like free-love and the ‘right to choose’ on their heads, and exposes them for the fraudulent notions of liberty they are.   

The passage of time is going to flush out the stories of those who discovered how unfulfilling the empty promises associated with 'sexual liberty' actually are.  This will only serve to lend credence to the counter-cultural aspect of our faith that promotes abstinence, chastity, faithful covenantal unions of husbands and wives as well as openness to children.  Time is the reason we are going to win this culture war in the end.  And it makes sense as to why.

Simply, nature has this built-in component which dictates that those who engage in self-annihilating behavior, eventually become, well, annihilated.  The reverse principle is also true: they who behave in a way conducive to human flourishing (literal and figurative) tend to flourish.  Ultimately the reasonableness of the Christian perspective will be confirmed in how we fair, and yes, proliferate over time.

One, two, maybe even as many as four or five generations can subsist spiritually starved, but after awhile it starts to become pretty clear which camp is going to outlive and outnumber the other in the long run.

I’m not saying that Christians should just sit back watch the world implode.  Far from it.  We need to work for true justice like today is all we have.  The reality is, we want our opponents to abandon their slow Bataan death march into oblivion because we and Christ desire for everyone to “have life and have it in abundance” (Jn 10:10).

I think we are seeing the fruits of a faithful, evangelical Christian witness in the world already – which is why our opponents are currently reacting to us with an unprecedented venom and with a new degree of bully tactics upon religious freedom as they so desperately try to peddle the same old lies (and some new ones) in shiny trappings to younger generations.  However, their irrationality and frustration is very telling, and very easily overcome with reason.  But it takes time.

Just like my daughter eventually discovered she had everything to gain by overcoming initial fear in ballet class, I pray the same will happen in popular culture so that it abandons its recalcitrance to morality and instead embraces a doctrine of life.   It may not be in our lifetimes, or our children’s or our near future descendant's, but that’s just it: we’re going to have descendants (which is not something we can take for granted anymore!)  To them belongs the chance to form the world according to tried and true Christian ideals.  Ideals that are not fleeting but founded on truth, which shows us the way we should live, and indeed, that give us life.

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." (MT 5:5)

4 comments:

  1. Very nice post. My problem is my impatience!

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  2. Thanks, Elizabeth. You are not alone on that one...

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  3. Really appreciate this one today. God has a nice way of lifting up a difficult morning. Thank you, Lord! And thank you Marissa.

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  4. Thank you, Kerath25 (that lifted up my day as well!)

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