Higher Living Reflections

The Greatest of These

Tis Solstice Eve I am writing this, for me a time for reflection mixed with anticipation. By social-political measures, I ought to be dreading the next year with foreboding, yet I am unable to. I am no Pollyanna type who sees gold in every rock or a pony under a heap of pony doo-doo, but I refuse to cave to fear. In fact, I cannot. Hope is an integral part of my psychic primal nature. I even hold it for my beloved, woe-begotten Broncos.

For all its majestic, awe-inspiring beauty and power, Earth is not the place for an idyllic realm, though it’s not her fault. She happens to be overrun by frail creatures who have one ultimate goal: Survival. Rather than a dog-eat-dog world—an idiomatic phrase I find most distasteful—it is a lion-eat-pronghorn one. And at times, a lion-eat-lion world, an animal behavior too often mimicked in human affairs.

I have a friend from boyhood who once told me with measured sardonicism that he is the dark cloud in front of the silver lining. I am not sure if he is more a skeptic or a cynic, but he falls decidedly into the clear-eyed, realistic view of human nature. He will objectively detail for you that while we have accomplished marvelous feats over the millennia, we have and continue to commit some pretty outrageous stuff.

To be sure, I am not a silver lining behind a dark cloud, dewy-eyed doppelganger of my dark-cloud friend. Life has molded me into a hardnosed realist about human behavior. Still, it remains my wont to dig for the good in a person, though at times all I find is the bad. But I understand that doesn’t necessarily make them evil, although I do allow for sub-human cretins. Rather, it means they are over-fraught with human shortcomings that with work can be negated. That is, after all, the substantive core of Christian dogma: Redemption.

In I Corinthians 15:10 (KJV), Paul (we assume) wrote, “By the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain.” Nineteen hundred years later, Popeye would echo similar: “I yam what I yam.” Generally, one being who they yam is just fine. Diversity is one of the beauties of humanity. We are as different from one another as there are pica dots on the light spectrum with its infinite hues. But that doesn’t mean one should not be genuinely self-reflective and work on improving their character. Because just because I might think I am not being or acting like an ass, it doesn’t mean others agree.

There is a difference between being comfortable in one’s skin and being stuck on oneself. Consider how much you enjoy being next to someone who prattles endlessly on themself. Which prompts the question: Is it better to live a life of self-delusion or one of brutal self-honesty? My friend would say too many prefer the former.  

In his most uplifting piece of writing, I Corinthians 13, Paul waxed about charity, love. In verse four, he wrote, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.” In modern lingo, he might put it this way: “Get over yourself and think of others.” In psychological jargon, it’s called repressing the ego and showing empathy.   

There’s much I disagree with Paul on, especially his homophobic, sexist pontifications, but I continue to find inspiration in I Corinthians 13. Except for the last verse: “And abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

Au contraire. Charity/love is not the greatest of virtues. It is hope. For without hope for a better day, why live for or look forward to another tomorrow?

A new year, a new beginning ariseth.

Blessings and Happy Winter Solstice!

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  • Mark Palko
    December 21, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    Your boyhood friend seems wise beyond his years. OOPS! I forgot, he’s an old man now.

    • Jerry Fabyanic
      December 22, 2021 at 12:37 am

      Amazingly, wiser than his years.

  • Dawn Janov
    December 22, 2021 at 8:36 pm

    Jim Carry giving a graduation speech.
    “As far as I can tell, it’s just about letting the universe know what you want and working toward it while letting go of how it comes to pass.

    ‘Jim Carrey : (23:32)
    Your job is not to figure out how it’s going to happen for you, but to open the door in your head. And when the door opens in real life, just walk through it. And don’t worry if you miss your cue because there’s always doors opening. They keep opening. And when I say, “Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.” I really don’t know if that’s true. I’m just making a conscious choice to perceive challenges as something beneficial so that I can deal with them in the most productive way. You’ll come up with your own style. That’s part of the fun.

    ‘Jim Carrey : (24:23)
    Oh, and why not take a chance on faith as well? Take a chance on faith, not religion, but faith. Not hope, but faith. I don’t believe in hope. Hope is a beggar. Hope walks through the fire and faith leaps over it. You are ready and able to do beautiful things in this world. And after you walk through those doors today, you will only ever have two choices, love or fear. Choose love, and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart.”

  • ML Secor
    December 27, 2021 at 4:37 am

    I just discovered this while perusing “things” on my I-pad. It is a blessing that SNF is so boring tonight or I never would have found this treasure- you and your writing, musings, insights, spirit! Why did we never have these conversations at AHMS instead of just the trivial warnings to “keep that nasty thing away from me”. “So we beat on, boats against the current, …..”

    • Jerry Fabyanic
      December 27, 2021 at 1:34 pm

      The treasure lay deeply hidden beneath a heap of pony dung waiting to be unearthed when the moon got to the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars. We’ve made it the Age of Aquarius, though it’s looking like it’s not all it was cracked up to be. And Johnny Tremain lives on in infamy. 🙂