Wednesday, January 19, 2005
There is a little known story that describes a woman walking through a meadow, meditating on Nature one day. While strolling about, she came upon a field of golden pumpkins. And in the corner of that field, stood a majestic, huge oak tree.
She sat under the oak tree musing on the strange twists in Nature which put tiny acorns on huge branches and huge pumpkins on tiny vines. She thought to herself, "God blundered with Creation! He should have put the small acorns on the tiny vines and the large pumpkins on the huge branches."
Nodding off, the woman stretched out under the oak tree for a nap. A few minutes after falling asleep she was awakened by a tiny acorn bouncing off her nose. Chuckling to herself, she rubbed her nose and thought, "Maybe God was right after all!"
Please don't get me wrong. I think that we as a collective life form and race have advanced quantum leaps from our distant homo sapien ancestors. We have come a long way in aiding and advancing the human condition, plus we have air conditioning and thinsulate. But at the same time, we are merely infants in our pursuits to aid and advance the human spirit. We have made dramatic strides in extending the physical human journey and yet we have not done as much to expand the breadth of the quality of that journey.
I remember in one of my first sociology classes as an undergraduate, the professor posed the question, "Why sociology? Why the study of man's interrelation with others? Why study the 'soft sciences' at all?" Of course, there was no response from the brimming class of young minds. The professor simply stated, "Hard sciences - physics, engineering, medicine, ect. - often focus on the possibility; the ability to alter or enhance what is already present in Nature and Life. Soft sciences, such as sociology, psychology, theology, must then focus on the responsibility; posing the question of what is the 'right' way or time to alter or enhance..."
Disease, natural catastrophes, death, etc. I'm not - nor will I ever be - sure of what the Grand Designer's purpose is in these elements of Life. But as for the design of a giraffe, an acorn on an oak tree, or the shine on my balding head, I would have to concur to some extent with the woman in the story: maybe God was right after all.
We have all, at one time or another, second-guessed aspects of Life and our own journey. We've sat in the Architect's seat and said, "I would have done it differently." But those comments come from the short-lived and limited mind of us humans.... it can be so tempting at times to "armchair quarterback" the Divine.
But consider this: A theologian at Marquette University whom befriended me a number of years ago reminded me, "As a scientist and researcher, it is your ultimate responsibility to find God in all things; in every molecule, every equation, every probability, every outcome. Find God and then celebrate Him in your research and advancements. Use that research and those advancements to enhance the Life that was put there in the first place..."
Perhaps by finding that God in all our research and daily interactions and journeys, we'll each better understand the pumpkins and acorns in our life as well.
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