Thursday, 27 January 2011
the things which motivate us
Yesterday, whilst sitting on a train or two for around five hours, I read a book that has been sitting, waiting to be tackled for several months - "The Reluctant Fundamentalist"
It has left me with some questions... regarding the things that motivate us, and indeed the things which provoke a response or supress our inclinations.
The book itself I disliked intently - the style was heavy and overly wordy (in my opinion!) I wasn't sure at the end what had happened nor indeed who the mysterious stranger was; it left me dissatisfied and uncomfortable.
The main character, Changez, had grown up, he had experienced unrequited love, he had had to face the contrast between the decadent West and the crumbling of his own Eastern world. And none of these are light subjects, unworthy of observation. If as a result of his experiences he had become a "terrorist" it would have been understandable in the context of the story - but he asserted that he had not; that his aim was to stop America's march over the world by means of education.
But to my mind, he never did answer his own questions; and all was so vague, so insubstantial that I was just irritated at the end.
So, now I try to find some parallels in MY world, that will inform my own reaction.
We observe the world; we witness various things that make us react - whether we acknowledge it or not.
Last night watching the news I observed the wife of a certain politician who has just begun a jail term say that he was in prison beacuse he had stood up for justice! Yet, he was sent to prison for perjury - the politics of the trial, the verdict, the whole ludicrous circus has done a disservice to real justice and has increasingly irked.
I observe the political party I have supported my entire adult life compromising and loosing its heart, all because of the lure of leadership - and instead of sticking to its values, it has sold out - no, it is not worth it!
I witness people in my parish, in my congregations, facing an uncertain future, their jobs are disappearing, and the future looks bleak. The recession is hard to bear for everyone.
I am saying goodbye; I am winding things up; I am preparing to move on, and to start over. So the "navel-gazing" is fairly deep just now! Maybe, it is just bad timing? Maybe if I had read this book at a different time it would have engendered a different reaction?
But, and for me this is the point: life is not predictable, and we all experience good and bad; positive and negative; to quote the Teacher "There is nothing new under the sun" it is not the experience that matters so much as what we do with it. We can allow the injustices of the world to knock us down and leave us flattened, or fire us up seeking vengeance; or we can remember that the Teacher observed all of the vagaries of the world and reached this conclusion:
"Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God, and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.
For God will bring every deed into judgement,
including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil"
It is not for us to take revenge, or retaliation into our own hands; we follow God, we answer his call, we serve Him, and only Him. Revering God is our foundation it is the root of wisdom and our fulfillment.