Again, another seeming paradox. In the last post I proposed that Watching cannot change anything… and now I’m telling you it changes the world.
Watching is a complex beast.
Both are true. Watching cannot possibly ‘fix’ our Loved One’s suffering. Nor can it redeem it in their eyes or in the eyes of others. Watching is not an answer to the ‘Problem of Pain’ and should never masquerade as one.
Does that mean Watching is unimportant? Useless? A waste of time? A period of life to be disregarded or belittled?
Not at all. A spoon is not pointless because it cannot cut my toast. It is merely being used for the wrong purpose.
The people we Watch are important
Watching is not an antidote to suffering, but it may be a balm. It may not fix the underlying problem, but it can soften the effects. And that is important. That is everything.
There’s a line in the Jewish Talmud that states that ‘to save one Jewish life is the same as saving the world entire’ (memorialized in “Schindler’s List”). That is an immense claim and has been used as the basis for great good and great evil. It is also a problematic claim, because it elevates the saving of a single life to such an extent that anything and everything becomes permissible. It raises questions such as: how do you choose who to save and who to discard? How far is too far? Is every life equal? Is saving a murderer the same as saving the world? What does it mean to save a life? Are we only talking about a physical life?
Despite these questions, the quote contains an important truth: every life is infinitely important. Each person is created by God, in the image of God, for a purpose and a reason. God cares deeply about each and every life – and so should we.
The act of Watching is important
C. S. Lewis touches on this when he describes us as having “immortal souls” (The Weight of Glory). We are creatures of eternity. As a result our lives are important. Not only our lives after death, but our lives before it too. Every second that we live on this earth is one of cosmic significance. Not because we are great but because we are greatly loved. Our Loved Ones have immortal souls.
Don’t mistake me. Being immortal does not necessary make you precious. Some of the most beautiful sunsets only last a fraction of a second. Does that make them any less special? No. And yet, God did not create us to be sunsets or withering flowers. He gave us eternal souls and in doing so demonstrated that in His eyes we are more important than Nature which passes swiftly away. He sacrificed Himself to have a relationship with the human race, despite the fact that we are undeserving of such love, again proving our importance in His eyes.
Our Loved Ones are not accidents or mistakes.
It is this careful creation and painstaking redemption that sanctifies every prosaic moment on earth. It is because of this that every smile, every phone call, every scrubbed kitchen floor has eternal consequences. As Watchers our role is important, because God has deemed it to be so. The huge sacrifices of time and money are important – and so are the tiny, speechless moments. The visible burdens are significant and so are the unseen ones. If God has said that washing the dishes is important, who are we to argue otherwise?
How we live is important
Let this encourage us. Nothing we do is pointless or banal. It makes a difference, even if we cannot see it. This life is important and precious. Every easing of pain, every soothing of tears, every sympathetic mumble or tight hug is important because it impacts one person – and that is enough.
We may not be able to solve their problems or even lessen their pain. Our endeavors to soothe may be useless and our attempts to help may prove futile. But standing by someone, and loving them, is enough. Living the life of a Watcher because we have no choice is enough.
God ordained it so. Each moment, each life, each situation is important. And so, Watching changes everything, because a life lived and sanctified by God – whatever it looks like – is everything.
Who are we to belittle what God has brought into being?
Small things matter.
// Do you believe your everyday life is important? Do you live like it is?
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