Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Existence

This is the sixth post in my This I Believe series.

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Amidst all of the scurrying and hurrying that the holiday season inevitably brings, I’ve found myself thinking about this next entry a few times lately. For a couple of reasons, I’ve decided to choose “existence” as my next topic. I tried to choose one that rather aptly ties in with this miraculous season in the Christian calendar, but none of the remaining 10 topics screamed “Christmas.” However, while thinking about which one to write about, “existence” kept coming to mind, and then I realized that this fits perfectly.

I was standing at the sink in my kitchen the other day lamenting to myself about the bothersome and persistent pain of a cut on my right index finger. In the winter, my hands, like so many other peoples’, are prone to getting overly dry, especially around the knuckles, and the skin tends to crack easily. I have a particularly annoying crack on the aforementioned index finger, which being the dominant finger on my dominant hand, this gets bumped, jostled, and scraped a lot. I was standing there trying to do whatever I was doing without hurting it, and some vague, wispy memory came to mind about pain. Can it exist if we don’t allow it to exist? I’m thinking that it’s some reference to a movie, maybe Denzel Washington? Maybe The Hurricane? But, would pain disappear if we refused to acknowledge its existence? Pain is a pretty powerful and motivational force in our world as well as each of our individual lives. What kind of mental temerity and strength would we have to possess individually in order to distance our belief of what pain is from everything we have previously experienced and been taught about before? Is it possible?

Yet faith is no more tangible than pain. It is equally invisible, elusive, and powerful. This is the perfect time of the year to exemplify this point. What better time than Christmas is there to demonstrate faith, at least from a Christian belief? We collectively proclaim our faith in this newborn child, a seemingly ridiculous act. People re-affirm their intrinsic belief that Christ existed in human form and in so doing has established an eternal existence.

I very distinctly remember the uncanny feeling throughout the first trimester of my pregnancy when I knew that I was pregnant but had nothing outwardly physical to show or touch in order to confirm this other growing being; day to day, I had nothing more than a basic faith that there was another being who was existing. Conversely, I (again) vaguely remember watching a movie or television show where the evil villain was eventually destroyed because collectively, the people he was fighting against turned their back on him and forgot about him, thus destroying any belief in his existence. Ultimately, I believe that we are not inherently born with the ability to forget existence. Maybe collectively is the only way that we are strong enough to both destroy or nurture it.

1 comment:

Crystal said...

I like your thoughts. I once heard that sacred texts are made sacred by the collective community belief in them. That each re-telling of the sacred text weaves a stronger tapestry of belief in those words and in the lesson. I like the idea, and now when I read things that are not considered sacred text, ideas in a novel or a quote in a newspaper, that really speak to me I wonder what would happen if those very words would be repeated, woven into belief stories, shared with others in the community for centuries and centuries-carried forward across generations. Would that phrase or story become a sacred text or parable? It seems a similar idea to what you are saying, that belief (and even more so a belief held by many in a community) in the very existence of someone or something strengthens its existence.