Sermonette: Screw the Silver Lining
A loved one dies of COVID. A child is kidnapped and human trafficked. A parent gets hit by a car. A friend gets cancer. Someone you trusted destroys your world as you know it.
It is said that “everything happens for a reason.” This is true. What is not often recognized is that not every reason is created equal. Not every reason is a good reason. The reason something terrible happens does not make it OK that the bad thing happened.
The fact that your boss was inappropriate with you so you had no choice but to quit – it may not have happened for some good justifiable reason that you have to meditate on for hours to figure out.
It probably happened because he’s a jerk. It happened because you have enough self-esteem not to allow yourself to suffer in that type of an environment.
The Blessed Radiance did not send your boss to try and molest or abuse you because they want you to take a better job somewhere else. I don’t think the Spirit of Life works like that.
The higher power did not cause your friend to die so that you can better appreciate your other friends.
The higher power did not cause you to be cheated on, taken advantage of, or otherwise experience tragedy. The Spirit of Life does not have some grandiose positive reason that you should spend a lot of time figuring out. I do not think the universe works that way.
In last months Blessing of the emotional support animals, we were reminded that pain and sorrow is the result of being victimized by other imperfect humans. By our own imperfect decisions. By existing in an imperfect world where it is impossible for ourselves or loved ones to live forever in good health and vitality.
It is impractical to live forever without some sort of threat or painful episode. The circle of life is natural, all-powerful, and reigns supreme.
Instead of fighting against it – let us embrace it. Let us be thankful for the circle of life. It is transitions. It’s rest, it’s peace, and it is precious new beginnings. Leaves sprout, grow, fall, and die. It is beautiful, it’s life, it’s death, it’s a natural cycle of our existence and the existence of the world around us. This means it matters even more that we make the most out of our moments. They are limited. We never know exactly how much time we have, but we can control what we do it that time.
Will help others during our time? Will we hurt others? Will we make it a priority to enjoy ourselves while here? Will we make a conscious or unconscious decision to work ourselves to death so someone else can live the life they want at our expense?
Let us cherish every moment. Ask any parent who has lost a child – what the “silver lining” was. Ask a spouse who’s lost a partner. Ask a woman who’s being human trafficked. Ask a someone who’s been abused what the silver lining was. Sometimes, the Silver Lining is a myth.
What some may consider as silver livings really are not. What they really want is their loved ones life back. Or their own lives back. Life is precious. No amount of money, no amount of jail time can compensate for the loss of our lives or the lives of others. What we really want is our loved one back. What we really want is to have our memories of abuse completely erased so we can feel normal again. We want our nightmares to stop. We want to hold our child again.
Screw the silver lining. Good things do not always come out of bad things.
This does not mean when bad things happen, we have permission to wallow in our sorrow. No. To the contrary our values and inner moral guides call us to embrace the truth of our realities. Calls us to discern events and circumstances of our lives – make meaning and take action. These values and inner moral guides I am referring to are what we call our 8 Principles of Unitarian Universalism. Today we are specifically pondering on The 4th Principle which is A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
In practices under the circumstances, we’re talking about today, it may look like this:
I am hurt. I am in pain. This is my truth, my reality. I was not created into this world to suffer. My ancestors and those who love me do not want me to suffer. The world needs my gifts. My loved ones need my love.
The meaning I make from this is that – I cannot wallow in sorrow because I am my ancestor’s dreams. There are people I care about and a world I care about who need me.
How might I demonstrate self-care? Am I able to care for myself alone or do I need help? Can I come up with a plan or do I need a therapist or other help to support me in that?
Self-care is a spiritual practice. Screw the silver lining, but do not wallow in your sorrow. Pain is a part of life. Suffering is a choice.
How do you think the universe works? Do you think everything happens for a good reason? How do you find truth and meaning during severe hardships? Are you taking good care of yourself?
Amen; the Blessed Radiance thrives in each of us.
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