Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby sang in the movie “White Christmas” about counting your blessings when you are worried and can’t sleep.
Great idea, pretty much like my exercise of ending my day thinking of where I found God that day. Sometimes it is an encounter with beauty in nature, or a person I saw who made me smile, or things as diverse as a piece of art by a child or by a famous artist.
Unfortunately my mind drifts, and this has led to many thoughts about the existence of God, about who God is.
It is easy as my day ends and my pillow is soft to think of things that thrilled me that day — maybe it’s the magnificence of lightning and thunder, glorious sunsets, roaring surf. Maybe it’s gentle things like a baby’s smile, the sight of lovers holding hands as they walk in the park, the smell of lilacs.
Simple things and great things are all a reminder of the one who says in Genesis “it is good.”
Unfortunately it does not take long for my mind to move into things that are definitely not blessings.
What if God is not the God of good but a vengeful being? What does my God have to do with war and drunken driving and murder on the streets and children dying from hunger or cancer or neglect? Then I’m not only tired but also agonizing about the existence of evil.
I rationalize that people are not obliged to be good. Humans can choose to do bad things, nature cannot.
Lilacs may not refuse to bloom, thunder does not silence itself, nor can rivers stay in their banks after torrential rains. We can choose to embrace good things, to be moral, to try to stop the things that are wrong. Or we can opt to live an existence of crime or selfishness or to be blind to the suffering of others.
This is not a new thought. Job accepted bad things as his fate. The Babylonian captives sat by the rivers and longed for their homes. Disciples of Jesus were disheartened by his death.
There are refugees everywhere and have been for generations. We endure the bad things, write books about them, and continue to ask “Why?”
Some nights I can drift to sleep to thoughts of love expressed, sunlight observed, music enjoyed. Other times I lie awake worrying about how I can contribute to easing the evils of poverty or animosity among religions and races.
Eventually I sleep, knowing that none of my dark thoughts shake my beliefs. I choose to continue to have faith in a force we call God, in a being that Christians view as the Trinity of Creator, Savior and One Who Enlightens.
Faith Walker Mary Connaghan Danaher can be reached at email@example.com.