“But doesn’t that contradict what you wrote yesterday?” No, and here is why. While there is indeed a “problem of evil” in our world, the larger “problem” it seems to me is that of goodness. Why is it that soldiers tell jokes in the midst of battle, and show pictures of sweethearts while in the trenches? Why is it that even in the times surrounding funerals, we cannot resist telling stories that evoke laughter, even about the deceased, or enjoying good food and drink? It is because somehow, we believe deep down that the good is somehow more enduring and real than evil, that life somehow prevails over death and that with all the evil we see, we live in a world shot through with goodness.
So much of that goodness comes in the ordinary warp and woof of life. Sometimes it is the amazing feeling of refreshment after sleeping in after a good night’s sleep. Sometimes it is that first sip from the first cup of coffee in the morning. Sometimes it is in the first hug and first “I love you” of the day. There are all the shared moments and shared memories that weave the tapestry of a family’s life together.
Then there is the work of our days. Some is around our home and particularly the making of a place of welcome together. I also work in an amazing organization filled with gifted people of every ethnicity using their gifts to pursue the glory of God in the university world. I’m often amazed to be counted among them and to have been blessed to share in this work for 38 years. I work alongside amazing students and faculty, brilliant people of character pursuing their work with God-honoring excellence.
I often find myself giving thanks and rejoicing in the beauties of artistic expression, poor imitations at best of the work of our Creator. This past Tuesday in our Capriccio Columbus rehearsal, the men sat and listened to a number of our women sing a beautiful piece as our director tried to figure out who should have the solo. What struck me was all the different ways our women sang this so beautifully. While they sang the same notes and words, nuances of emphasis and varying timbres of voice reminded me that goodness and beauty have so many expressions.
I don’t think days like Thanksgiving are an escape but rather a celebration that affirms the deep sense we have that goodness, truth, and beauty will prevail in the end. And it is a day to gives thanks both to and for those who mean so much to us, and for those who believe that all this goodness comes from a good Creator, to offer that thanks to Him. And so I eagerly look forward to our family gathering today when we may do all of these things.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I also want to thank all those who read and especially who comment on this blog. Much of the joy of writing it has been in learning of the joy or insight it gives another and the thoughts it provokes that you share, which often enlighten me as well. Happy Thanksgiving!