Photo courtesy of Patheos | Staff Writer Alex Hale discusses on the importance of reflection and silent retreats.
I am a big fan of silent retreats. You cannot run away from yourself, your fears or your insecurities. Yet, despite the terrifying prospect of facing these things head on, at the same time it is impossible to run away from the unrelenting love that completely surrounds you. For this reason, infinity seems to be loudest in the silence. Obviously, this sounds contradictory. How is it possible that anything could be loud in silence?
In many ways, every one of us remains like fish swimming constantly, without stopping to realize that water surrounds us everywhere we look. In this same way, the love that we have been given seems to be somehow unseen throughout our lives. We move along through the world saying we wish we didn’t have to go to a certain class, wishing the one annoying person who remains a part of our life would just go away or wishing that a certain individual wouldn’t write pretentious theological op-eds in the Newswire. Yet, with regard to the first two (the jury is still out on the last one), we find a way to overlook the beauty that comes from being in these situations.
I am just as guilty as anyone of overlooking the value of things in the world. I have treated people without considering the fact that they are each surrounded by love. Yet, despite our actions, at the end of the day, there is value to everything under the sun that exists, because God is in all things, guiding them, teaching them, and most importantly, loving them. It is from this love that each person was made. No one was asked to do anything to be given this gift.
I am aware that this comes off as incredibly naive. What about those whose parents don’t love them? What about those who have been born into homes with dysfunction, mental illness, addiction and abuse? All in all, how could God remain loving and let bad things happen to people who don’t deserve it? However, an important follow-up question might be “Why would God let the worst thing happen to the best person?” That person, to me, is Jesus Christ, who preached about God’s unconditional, unrelenting love. He gave up his life to demonstrate the depth of God’s love. It wasn’t easy, and it caused unimaginable pain, humiliation and abandonment. Yet, it was worth it.
This love does not give differently to certain people. It doesn’t care about where you have come from or what you have done. It simply wants you to live and know how loved and appreciated you are. In addition, everything can be viewed through a positive lens if you only try. If it starts raining while you are walking to class, rejoice that you can feel the water hit your face. If you are in that annoying class, think about how that instructor is spending their time trying to help you. If you see that annoying person, ask yourself what part of them is beautiful and worth celebrating.
We may never know the answer as to why all things exist the way they do, but we can at least believe that they exist to be appreciated the way they are. Yes, there are gifts in being born different. God doesn’t hate the LGBTQ community or transgender people. God didn’t make a mistake when it comes to those with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disabilities. God sees value in all of these people and loves each person affected by them, not in spite of these things but rather because of them. Each thing and person in the world was made the way it was because it is the way that God wanted it to be.
For it was he who came in the beginning, created something from nothing and broke an unbroken silence. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.
Alex Hale is a senior Philosophy, Politics and the Public major. He is a staff writer for the Newswire from Detroit.