8/30/2004

catastrophe, eucatastrophe, and a little parable

Over on his blog, Ebenezer presents a post on judging catastrophe and eucatastrophe as an answer to Brother Deneyer's comments about following spiritual promptings into catastrophe. (Eucatastrophe is a joyful antithesis of catastrophe, the term was coined by J.R.R. Tolkien, see this page for more details.)

I think Ebenezer is dead on. We often forget that God has a different perspective than our own, "my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord" (Isaiah 55:8). A couple of years ago, I had an experience that became a parable in our family (we collect a lot of these, I don't know why.)

As a family, we were staying in a hotel on a Sunday. As we were trying to get ready for church, my daughter couldn't find her dress shoes. She and I were standing on opposite ends of a largish closet. We had both partially opened the sliding door from our end (creating an open space, then the overlapping doors, then another open space) and were looking into the closet when she asked if I knew where her shoes were. I glanced down at the floor of the closet and saw them sitting there.

When I told her where they were, she said she couldn't see them. I told her just to trust me and reach into the closet. I had a perspective that let me see the shoes that she couldn't. As we drove to church, we talked about what had happened and realized that it was a nice little illustration of how we sometimes need to let go of our point of view and trust the Lord to achieve the end He has in mind.

6 comments:

Ebenezer Orthodoxy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
pate said...

Ebenezer,
I'm not a dreamer (well, I don't remember my dreams after I wake up), so I never thought much about that angle. But I think you're absolutely right, revelational dreams are worthy of recording.

My wife and mother-in-law are both dreamers and have received a great deal of inspiration through this channel. Stories of these dreams and how they shaped decisions have entered our family's oral history, but I'm not sure how many of them have been recorded in journals. Time to go back and do some reading.

-pate

Ebenezer Orthodoxy said...

Oops. I didn't mean to remove my previous comment. You obviously saw it before it was removed. Anyway, to repeat in brief...

I'd never thought about the idea of "Family Parables" and I suggested that it would be a good thing to collect and record them in a journal for family history. Additionally I thought collecting and recording important dreams, like the one I mention over at my blog, in a journal for family history would be a good idea.

john f. said...

I really like the idea of recording family parables, or at least stories and experiences that can be of value later on, both for the participants and for subsequent generations.

As to your closet story, here's another parable that expresses a similar idea. When I was a kid, my friend and his brother were subject to joint custody and spent most of their time at their father's house but went to their mother's house every other weekend or so. Both houses were within a bike-ride's distance from each other. One time, I was with my friend at his mother's house and my own brother and my friend's brother wanted us to come over to their father's house and play Axis and Allies. They called us on the phone and told us to ride our bikes over there. We said that we didn't want to because it was raining outside. My friend's brother was incredulous and insisted it was just because we were lazy, because he said that it wasn't raining at his father's house, where he was at the time, and so it couldn't be raining over where we were at this mother's house because they were relatively close in proximity. It really was raining that day at the mother's house--it must have been a very localized cloudburst, but that is not unheard of in Dallas. Yet, my friend's brother refused to believe it since he couldn't see it with his own eyes. It was a learning experience for me about faith, even though I was only a kid.

john f. said...

By the way, check out Ebenezer Orthodoxy--I've put some ideas about Amulek and his family and the destruction of the believers in Ammonihah in a few comments over there.

pate said...

John,
I did see your comments on Alma and Amulek. Thanks for pointing them out.

Thanks for sharing your story about the localized cloudburst here. I think we experience a lot more of thee little teaching/learning moments than we sometimes realize.

-pate