Since last week was focused on Og Mandino’s Scroll 3, I liked Mark’s reminder to keep reading Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essay III on Compensation. Once again I was struck by the connection between his essay and my current Bible study in the Gospel of John, (5:28) where Jesus says that the dead will “come forth–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” Emerson saw a “legitimate inference” in the problem of the suffering (all work-no play) saints and the carefree sinners– “You sin now, we shall sin by and by; we would sin now, if we could; not being successful, we expect our revenge tomorrow.”
This was quite a challenge put forth in the first page of this essay, so it was really fun to read on to see what conclusions he found. And even better, to learn to see the world, even the universe, in a new yet familiar light. Something that we can observe all around us, the law of Polarity. “An inevitable dualism bisects nature, so that each thing is a half, and suggests another thing to make it whole; as spirit, matter; man, woman; odd, even; subjective, objective; in, out; upper, under; motion, rest; yea, nay.”
From this basis, Emerson expands to ideas like, “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something…and even “For every benefit you gain, a tax is levied…and we cannot return benefits to those from whom we received them — we must pass them on. Beware of too much good staying in your hand!”
Well, lots more thought-provoking ideas in these pages, but how do Emerson, Master Key Haanel, Mandino with his contrasts in Scroll 2, and Jesus of the Bible connect? I can see choices put forth by each — to believe how the universe works, to accept the duality in every aspect of life, to accept the truth when it jumps up and smacks you along side the head! When Jesus offers life, not condemnation, Mandino says “I welcome happiness…yet I endure sadness…”, Haanel links thought with love to become invincible, and Emerson (page 10) observes “Life invests itself with inevitable conditions, which the unwise seek to dodge…” I get the message loud and clear…again!
Years ago, I believed Jesus and chose life with Him, who is love and light, rather than death, which is simply existence without love and light. But, subconsciously I think I also chose to be “unwise” and have tried all these years to avoid the sadness/loss half of life’s wholeness, and have lived in a basically emotionless state for far too long.
It’s really a comfortable if very selfish, way to go, but I thank God (most of the time) that He has prodded me into this marvelous, challenging journey with a whole bunch of wonderful seekers to embrace all He wants to give us — the abundant life, with its joys and heartaches, to share with as many as we can reach. So, as you may be reminded of The Universe/God’s gift of love and joy and peace at this season, may you see the people in your world in a fresh and loving new way, and have a Joyous Merry Christmas!