The purpose of this series has been to take the ordinary time of Pentecost, so called because there are no large religious feasts during this season of the liturgical calendar, and discuss how we can live it in an extraordinary manner. Pentecost is a long season on the religious calendar so I had no illusions about it being easy or even if it was possible to capture the reader’s attention for all one hundred and ninety-days which Pentecost 2016 will encompass.
What I did not expect, however, was to be challenged about the core of this series – doing good and making good better. Every week or so I get asked why. Not why am I writing this blog but why did I ever undertake such a topic as “living better”. Retired Episcopal bishop Steven Charleston, a Choctaw Indian and descendant of the Indians forcibly removed from their homes in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama in what is known as the Trail of Tears, explains it much better than I: “I hold what I believe as central to my life and respect the right of others to do the same. I take my faith seriously but never fail to see the humor in it. I am guided by the ethics of my faith in how I vote but keep the explosive mix of politics and religion separate in my mind. I try to practice what I preach but make it a practice not to preach when I should be listening. I study the words that form my faith and never imagine I have nothing left to learn. I hold myself accountable for the choices I make but strive not to judge others. I love as I hope to be loved.”
Why do any of us do what we do? Is there conscious thought behind our actions? I certainly hope so. Friedrich Nietzsche once said “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” What is the purpose of going about our daily living is there is no “why”? Discovering our personal “why” gives us direction. More importantly, it gives us definition.
Vera Nazarian, in her “Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration” explains the irony and answer of the importance of “why” quite simply. “For as long as there’s anyone to ask ‘Why?’, the answer will always be ‘Why not?’” It may seem like a great way to avoid answering the question of “why?” and yet, it really is an answer.
Montgomery Alabama Native and young adult author Libba Bray explains it this way: “There is much asked and only so much I think I can or should answer, and so, in this post I would like to give a few thoughts on what seemed to be the overwhelming question: “WHY?” And here is the best answer I can give: Because. Because sometimes, life is damned unfair. Because sometimes, we lose people we love and it hurts deeply. Because sometimes, as the writer, you have to put your characters in harm’s way and be willing to go there if it is the right thing for your book, even if it grieves you to do it. Because sometimes there aren’t really answers to our questions except for what we discover, the meaning we assign them over time. Because acceptance is yet another of life’s “here’s a side of hurt” lessons and it is never truly acceptance unless it has cost us something to arrive there. Why, you ask? Because, I answer. Inadequate yet true.”
We are exploring ways to make the ordinary extraordinary because I believe. I believe in the world, in most if not all faiths. I believe in me and more importantly, I believe in you. Why? Because. Why? Why not? Why? Because we are here, living and I think we are worth the effort.