It’s Time to move on in life…before life moves on from you
I remember a famous political campaign slogan from 1972 in Australia: “It’s time!” It was when the Labour party successfully wrested power from the Liberals after 23 years.
Jesus might have approved of it if He’d been registered to vote! Advent invites us to say:
“It’s Time!” we ask: “what do I really want in life?”
“It’s Time!” we ask: “what is missing in my life?”
“It’s Time!” we moved on: and “give up our rivalry and jealousy.”
I recall reading a great short book called, “Who Moved My Cheese” by Dr Spencer Johnson.
In brief, it tells the story of four characters who live inside the head of every person: each character having a different level of influence in each person, depending on our experiences, training, discipline, etc. (Mini-movie = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Txy6DwbwZ9g)
In the beginning the four characters are all looking for cheese to sustain themselves = what makes us happy. They eventually find a huge stockpile of cheese that lasts for a few years. No one thought it would run out. But eventually, it was finished and two characters just went looking for more while two characters “hemmed and hawed” alternating between “anger that the stockpile had finished” and “wondering what to do.”
Eventually, one character says to another: “We keep doing the same things over and over and wonder why things don’t get better… it’s time to move on!”
So, my question this week is similar: are we just doing the same things over and over and nothing seems to improve? Properly entered into, Advent gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect why my life is the same boring, same-o-same-o. Comfortable but meaning-less?
The words of the First Reading echo within each of us: in the sense that we all want what’s best for ourselves and, hopefully, our community: as along as it doesn’t cost me too much! Ha, ha.
Going up the mountain of God is literally the desire to improve ourselves and learn the “secrets” of life. Let’s dissect the Gospel a little and make it more real for today:
- People eating and drinking, marrying = normal life.
- “Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left” = the end of normal life is not related so much to the environment OUTSIDE us, but our INNER life.
- Sudden, dramatic changes in our lives will not (usually), give us an advance greeting; OR, even if we receive it, we often won’t believe it!
I would like to suggest that one of the primary causes of dissatisfaction with life is our increasing individualism: the search for MY freedom, doing things by MYself, busy working to make more money (so I can enjoy MYself), etc.
While there is a lot of good in individualism (self-reliance, healthy pride, performance orientated = productive); we must always keep an equal measure, at least, of community; if we don’t want our lives to suddenly end in a disaster. I smiled as I read the following:
Nothing is sweet or easy about community. Community is a fellowship of people who do not hide their joys and sorrows but make them visible to each other as a gesture of hope… Community is like a large mosaic. Each little piece seems so insignificant.
Henri Nouwen (26-Nov, 2019 – Daily Meditation):
And, yet, each piece of the mosaic of community life does something good to us: even the so called “bad” people help us maintain the right path, by seeing the negatives of bad behaviour.
It is in, and through, our participation in community life that we find HOPE. And, at Christmas, we look forward to the greatest HOPE for each of us: that God will reveal HIMSELF (or is it HERSELF?), to encourage us in our journey.
When Jesus came, God did not do everything for us – it would have made us dependent puppets – but instead, showed us how to get involved, and invited us to be part of the solution in life.
That approach is challenging for us, but also very rewarding: God wants to be dependent on us! Isn’t that amazing? It should give us a great sense of our potential and importance.
The challenge, during Advent, is to allow ourselves to cooperate with God through our Community: true joy and meaning in life comes only after:
we make more time for family life, and participate in community events.
Finally, let’s also pray for those men and women who struggle to find enough to sustain their families, even as work hard in difficult circumstances.
By Gerard Conlan, OMI