Day eighteen of a daily meditation, a practice of free writing on words of Advent this season...
One of my oldest friends and I were chatting this evening over the phone about growing older. Here we are in our early thirties and looking back ten years ago, we see faces of optimism and youthful zeal, now weathered and worn. How hard it can be, barely in our third decades of life, to resist the onslaught of cynicism. The jadedness. Yes, it hasn't taken us that long to figure it out, that life is more pain than it is ease, but how, to live in this realization without our shoulders stooping forward crooked?
I look and see him, and I marvel, at a line worn deep in his face.
All of God in a man's body, full divinity meshed with full humanity. He started off in innocence, as we all do, and he grew into a man and died in innocence. In his brief life, there is much that has not been written, but we do know this - that he has experienced every temptation known to man, yet did not succumb to a single one. He suffered injustice, experienced gnawing hunger and parched thirst and exhaustion, knew betrayal and false accusation and humiliation and physical torture, lost people that he loved to death, watched his mother suffer while he died, was crushed in spirit and maimed in body by the sins of all humanity, knew fear and torment and dread, and felt the agony of total separation from his Father. He ventured straight into the jaws of evil, the darkest corners of humanity - and emerged alive and whole.
He lived all this and still he died without cynicism.
He knew all, as God, and experienced all, as man, and still remained innocent.
He lived and died with his heart wide open.
On the phone with my friend today, I wondered aloud if perhaps the goal in life is not to hold fast to youthful zeal and optimism through the years, but to cling tenaciously to whatever shred of childlike innocence that we can in the face of all we know. In opposition to what we see and feel and experience, a stubborn refusal to succumb.