Monday, October 26, 2015

Moth to a Flame

I have this really amazing friend.

She's much more like a sister who knows my soul like the back of her hand.

We live in different states and so the only real way that we catch up is over the phone.  And often when we do, we find ourselves in these "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey" type dialogues.  The other day, she was lamenting about a homily her priest delivered when she happened on the rare occasion to be worshiping in the house of God sans her kiddos.  His words gave the both of us pause.

The gist of the message went something like this...the human condition is such that we run toward that which is futile knowing that we'll never quite get what we want, but all the while, not being able to help ourselves from chasing that which we cannot fully have.

i.e. a moth to a flame.

In it's simplest version, I equate this concept with my constant internal dialogues regarding food and diets and losing weight.  They go something like this...tomorrow, I will begin consuming meal replacements for the rest of my life and I will be happy.  Which lasts for approximately two hours until someone comes home with a doughnut or I remember that I have a bag of chocolate chips in the freezer and then like a dog in heat, I shovel the sugar into my pie hole.  And then, tomorrow in the shower, I vow it all over again.

In the more complex version of the priest's message, we recognize that as human beings, fallible, broken and constantly tempted, we are drawn toward sin.

And we all know which ones are our favorites.  Maybe, you closet shop and keep the goods in the trunk of your car until after your better half has vacated the premises.  I am of course, not speaking from personal experience.  Maybe, you binge watch episodes of fill in the blank when you should be doing something else for the good of the household.  Maybe your temptations are more dicey.

Either way, the challenge as human beings is to decide to not chase that thing that will only send us spiraling into greater guilt, frustration or regret.

But how do we do it?  How do we get off the rat wheel?  How do we decide that all of life is not futile and that indeed habits can be broken, patterns can be changed and that even if the flame is bright and glittery, we will stay away?

The poet Rumi says (I'm paraphrasing)...

All of life is divine

All of life is a temptation

All of life lures you

While at the same time, keeping you stuck in your attachments

The key is to never long

For anything

Then, you'll be free

The problem, of course,

is that you are human.

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