Life is a spiritual journey. Yes, I am on this journey. I search for God. I search for the Divine. At some time I feel the closeness of God. I feel it as close as I feel my own limbs and blood and heart. At other times, I feel distant and estranged from God. Too often I am deeply disturbed by what religious people say and do to each other and other, non religious people, the hateful and sometimes even violent actions taking in the name of God. And yet I wonder, why do so many people use religion and God for such destructive ends? I see the violence in the Middle East, the irrational and vengeful responses of mobs to a stupid, homemade film in this country. Why do people get so bent out of shape over such matters? Who knows. Why are Muslims and Christians so often the most violent religions in the world? We see the violence of fundamentalist Islam today; and yet we have only to look back at our own history to see the violence committed by fundamentalist Christians against others, Christians and non-Christians alike. “Love thy neighbor” is one the great commandments. And too few Christians seem to follow it. It seems so strange to me.
All I know is that I need a spiritual life. As I have mentioned many times here, when I have that life, my life is better. Prayer is a powerful source of strength for me in this world. I don’t seek God because I need a justification for hatred and violence. I seek God as a refuge from precisely those things, from the evil and hatred and suffering of the world. Yes, there is that thing called suffering, the biggest stumbling block of all when it comes to God. When we see images of the skeletal, starving survivors of Nazi concentration camps, the first question we ask it, where was God in all that suffering? How can these things happen, if there is a God. When I hear a news story of an entire family killed in a house fire on Christmas Eve, I ask myself, where was God during all this? Why suffering?
It is a question I have no answer for, except to say that the world is full of suffering, and for whatever reason, that is part of our lot, and always will be until the end of time.
This is why I find beauty such a comfort in a world too often filled with pain, anger, evil, violence, destruction and suffering. At least with beauty there is an immediate goodness, a pleasure to be enjoyed, whether in nature, art or human life in general. There is the beauty of the world, the mountains, the oceans, the streams and rivers and forests, there is the beauty of love and friendship and kindness, there is the beauty of sex and eroticism. All these things reflect the goodness of God, the bright illumination of the Divine, in a world too often filled with darkness.
I find a particular joy in feminine beauty. I am not sure why this is such a deep source of pleasure for me, the simple sight of a pretty girl, but it is. And so I enjoy posting such photos here.
The journey goes on. Life goes on. There has and is and always will be much violence and darkness in our world. All I can do in the midst of it is try to bring some goodness to others, in one way or another. Overcome evil with good, as St. Paul says. Amen.