Friday, March 15, 2013
When I was serving in Strasbourg, I got really bad stomachaches that kept me inside all day. The apartment was shut down a few months after I left it because of mold- I'm sure our water fights in the apartment after hard days of proselytizing didn't help that situation. In any case, about once a month, I would spend the day in bed trying not to concentrate on the growling, persistent pain in my stomach. My companion at the time had brought (against the mission rules) this book:
I ended up reading the whole thing. Not much stuck with me, but I do remember in particular bits of the section on Taoism. I couldn't tell you much about the religion, but one principle in particular stood out to me: the principle of impermanence, the idea that life is in a constant state of flux. We are like rocks in a rushing stream being tossed and thrown; if we try to resist, we will be worn down and eroded away. However, by constantly adapting and going with the flow, we will not only avoid the wear and tear of the jostling of everyday life, the motion of the river will take us somewhere (where exactly, I'm not sure the book specified).
In any case, it's a principle that helped me on my mission and since. Change is the only permanent feature of life- we change jobs, lost contact with friends, gain new ones, find hobbies, grow disinterested in others, and so on. The cycle of birth, death, and rebirth within our lifetime is never-ending. That's not something we can change; if we fight it, it'll simply wear us down. Instead, we must do all that we can, trust in God, and enjoy the ride down the river.