Monday, July 22, 2019

Tending Toward Healing

Humanity has invested a lot in its science, particularly when it comes to telling us how to live our best life. I'm not really talking about technology and innovation, although that seems to dominate some of our discussion about such things; rather, I'm looking at more of the core sciences like physics, our understandings of how things exist.

One of the things we're told is that we have to do whatever we can to hold our world together. That, without our intervention and deliberate action to the contrary, things left to their own will move toward chaos. To see this, you need to look no further than the rapidly-expanding universe, becoming less and less of a tight system, or the aging human being. Like broken glass, things in our experience shatter and then just lie there until they get kicked and blown around and spread out all the more until there's no hope of even finding all of the pieces, let alone putting them back together. So we invest ourselves in holding the world together to the best of our ability because if we don't, life as we know it will disappear.

Except that what science doesn't readily tell us, what it is slower to admit if it ever admits it at all, is that life itself is the exception to everything we think we know about disorder and chaos in our universe. Life doesn't tend toward chaos; it tends toward healing.

Think about it. When you break a bone, it doesn't just shatter and start spreading out, taking more and more of the bone structure with it; it does everything it can to build bridges between its broken pieces and become whole again. Deformed, perhaps, without help, but it's working to become hole.

Or look at a tree that's been cut down to its stump. It doesn't take long before a new shoot appears, right out of the middle of the stump, reaching toward heaven and growing leaves again. The tree is tending toward life, regenerating itself to live again.

How many times have you cut your grass this year? And last year? And the year before that. We chop off a huge chunk of our lawns, and it finds a way to grow back. It doesn't just take the hit and start destroying itself; it always, always tries to come back.

Look at the ways that life in our universe heals, that it always works toward living again, no matter the odds. Science doesn't talk about that. Science doesn't tell us that. Science tells us that unless we hold ourselves together, we'll die.

Spoiler alert: we're going to die anyway. But that's what makes life all the more amazing. In a world that's tending toward death, that is on a path toward death, life pushes through and tends toward life anyway. It tends toward healing anyway. Even knowing it will one day die, it does everything that it can to live.

Not only is that breathtaking and not only should it lead us to wonder what it is about life that is so persistent, so resilient, so contrary to what we think we know about the universe, but it ought to lead us to ask questions about our universe itself. The greatest of these questions is this: what in our universe is truly inanimate? And what is alive?

For if there is the breath of life in the universe itself, then its rapid expansion isn't degeneration into chaos; it's a tendency toward healing and wholeness. We're not getting further from our center; we're getting closer to our place. Is the universe stagnant and stale and inanimate...or is it alive?

It could change the entire way we look at science.

It should change the entire way we look at life.

We don't have to hold it all together; we don't even have to hold ourselves together. We are living in dying bodies, but we tend toward life. We tend toward healing. At every turn, we are working by the innate wisdom of God in His creation to live, and to live abundantly.

Most often, we just have to learn to stop working against it. 

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