Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Sunset in Hawaii
Anyone remember the Saturday Night Live skit of that name?
I went for a walk to the beach today. I'm back in Chicago so this is Lake Michigan not a "real" beach. It still has a lot of the charm of the ocean, minus the salt air. I figured today was one of my last chances to get out there before spring. It was sunny but only in the 40's so I had my doubts about going but it turned out to be a good choice. The lake was calm and the air was well-warmed by the sun. I considered taking my coat off but didn't quite get there.
The beach is very calming to me. It brings back my childhood trips to the beaches near Seattle and I enjoy the chance to be relatively alone and untroubled by other people. No offense "other people" but sometimes solitude in required. For better or for worse, while I walk on the beach I tend to think a lot. I'm not sure why, but I do. Maybe I'm processing the week kind of like a dream does. Maybe it is the relative sensory calm of the waves washing, the quiet breeze and the lack of human chatter. Sometimes this becomes burdensome as I find myself pondering something difficult from my past or present but it seems to be out of my control. The beach just makes me free associate.
Today I wound up thinking for a bit about the philosophical or spiritual questions that come up often in my work and lately in my personal life, namely: why do bad things happen to good people, where is the justice in the world and so on. These questions came up twice just yesterday at work and as my two year old nephew heads into surgery this week for his cancer treatment it comes up in a more personal way too. I don't claim to be in possession of the answers to these questions but I do try to ease the pain of unknowing.
In terms of human caused injustice, my thoughts roamed to the question of good vs. evil. I believe in free will which means to me that as people we need to be free to do ill in order for us to be able to choose to do good.
As I pondered good vs. evil I spied a rock that looked interesting and picked it up. I turned it over and got a message from a most unusual place.
To my eye, this rock has a peace sign on it. I chose to take it as a message. Not directly from G-d or anything like that, but being reminded to be at peace felt pretty special. Take it as you will, but it really happened that way.