The first time I saw the words I was taken completely by surprise. I’d just had coffee with a sweet friend and before we went out separate ways, we stopped at this little souvenir shop next door. I was looking at coffee mug—which is normal for me—and there they were….
“No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
I was stunned.
It was exactly what I needed at that time in my life. An affirmation. It told me I was going in the right direction. And some people might think my ways are silly, but I did believe it.
I had to tell my friend John.
“Oh,” he said. “That’s the Desiderata.”
“Huh?” I asked,
“It’s a poem?” he told me.
A poem, I wondered.
So I looked it up.
And if that one line moved me, the rest of the poem blew me away.
The poem was all about life, and God, and where we come from and where we are going. It’s about our connection to God and to each other and the Universe. It’s all about purpose and our place in the Universe. It’s all about what I had come to believe over fifty years of life. It was like I was reading the words on my heart. It was unconditional, non-judgmental, and loving. It was Spirit rather than RELIGION.
I had to share it with my mother.
Who was not near as excited about it as I was.
“It concerns me,” she said. “It’s so…humanist.”
Humanist? I wondered. Well that sounded good to me. I looked that word up. It sounded like it mean something about being human, which I think is a pretty amazing thing to be,
This is what Dictionary.com says about a humanist….
1. a person having a strong interest in or concern for human welfare, values, and dignity.
2. a person devoted to or versed in the humanities.
3. a student of human nature or affairs.
4. a classical scholar.
5. (sometimes initial capital letter) any one of the scholars of the Renaissance who pursued and disseminated the study and understanding of the cultures of ancient Rome and Greece, and emphasized secular, individualistic, and critical thought.
6. (sometimes initial capital letter) a person who follows a form of scientific or philosophical humanism.
And that was something my mother was concerned about???
So I decided to look up the term on a Christian website. And, oh. Now I got it. Why she would be concerned. *sigh*
Here is what the site Abounding Joy says….
“We live in a day when there is a great war going on in the society in which we live. There are many battlefronts and aspects to the war, but the primary war in our day is between Christianity and secular humanism… …Secular humanism is a religion and a philosophy of life which views man as the supreme being of the universe. It rejects the existence of God and the supernatural. It sees moral values as relative and changing and varying from person to person… ….It is important for every Christian to know the subtle ways that secular humanism is manifesting itself all around us. It is important for us to make decisions on a daily basis that demonstrate that we have not been captured, to any degree, by this intoxicating and persuasive philosophy and religion.”
Well that doesn’t sound good!
The online dictionary didn’t say anything about humanists not believing in God.
And anyone who reads this blog knows—or my books or my Facebook posts or talks to be personally or knows how important church is to me knows—I most certainly believe in God! I juts define my God differently. As I said the other day, “My God transcends and refuses to be contained in any box/religion of men. My God is agape.”
The online dictionary definition does sound pretty “intoxicating and persuasive.” But the Abounding Joy description? Not so much.
Could it be that Chritains, or at least those, don’t understand?
Because I do know that many Christians consider “god” as something “other than.” Something separate. Above. Removed. On high. Whereas we are also “other,” separate, below, away from, down on the ground….
That I don’t believe.
I believe that God is in us and we are in God and we are made of God.
We are drops of water in the Ocean. We are not the Ocean, but everything we are reflects that Ocean, and the Ocean is in us, and we are in the Ocean.
I believe that I am in God and God is in me.
For 364 days I have ended my posts (or most of them) with the word, “Namasté.” That word has several definitions because it is hard to translate Eastern thought into Western words.
But the definition I like best goes like this….
“The Divine in Me sees and honors the Divine in You.”
Or as Valentine Michael Smith says in Stranger in a Strange Land, “Thou art God.”
That means everyone. The people I love. And the people I…well, not so much. That includes me, you, my husband, my friends, and even The Evil Team Leader.
Maybe that’s what I’m supposed to learn through my near decade with him? That I must practice what I preach? And know if I am going to believe in Namasté, I just believe it even in him?
It’s food for thought.
But in the meantime I leave you with this poem in my next to last day of 365 Days of Silver. I hope that if today’s ramblings mean nothing, that this poem does….
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
© Max Ehrmann 1927