Life is competitive. This has been grilled into my heart, mind, and soul. I doubt my parents intentionally focused on this. With three sons and a constant struggle to pay the bills, they understood the realities of an unforgiving and competitive world. While I still accept the premise that life is competitive, I no longer believe only a few (one) can win.
I woke up this morning to a warm Abu Dhabi summer day. The first picture in my mind was from an April Sunday afternoon in Cluj-Napoca Romania. I was on a quest to find a store. As I walked with my eyes focused on my mobile GPS screen, I was slapped across my cheeks by a branch from a cherry tree. My obsessive stride interrupted by a wonderfully beautiful gift of nature. The sharp edges of the branches offset by the soft blossom pedals and smells of heaven.
At that moment, I was acutely aware of the indiscriminate ways we are touched by life. I am not sure I deserved the reprimand to be in the moment or the gifts of beauty and wonder which followed. I do know that it was as universal as it was personal. Anyone could have walked into the branch. Anyone could, but I did.
Life’s creative gifts are universal. Beauty, wonder, and awe are universally available. There is a small catch – one must notice the gifts of life to receive them. Even when personalised, it still requires action on our part. Remember “that famous promise God gave Abraham – that he and his children would possess the earth – was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God’s decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed.” (Romans 4.13)
Life’s competition was never between me and the rest of humanity. The competition is the choice within me of “I” versus “community”, “me” versus “we”. I believe everyone can win. Divinity is big, bold, and brave enough to deal with evil. What follows is up to me.