Is life a test? Or a return to love?
“. . . events that happen in the moment belong to the moment. They don’t belong to you. They have nothing to do with you. You must stop defining yourself in relationship to them, and just let them come and go.”
—Michael A. Singer in The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
There’s always something, isn’t there? Just when you get all your ducks in a row, a fox bounds into the pond and scatters them all hither and thither. As you chase around after flapping ducks, you say: “Really? Are you kidding me? Is this some kind of a test?”
Life as a test is a popular notion with some. Rick Warren states it as a fact in his book The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? “Life on earth is a Test,” he writes. “God continually tests people’s character, faith, obedience, love, integrity and loyalty . . . God constantly watches your response to people, problems, success, conflict, illness, disappointment, and even the weather!”
Ugh. I find the image of a being—completely separate from me and the world—up there poking and prodding me to see how I react abhorrent.
A test implies that people either pass of fail. But what constitutes a pass? Who gets hurt when someone fails? And how does the word “test” make you feel? Intimidated? Scared? Paralyzed? Threatened? Overwhelmed? Under-prepared? Notice that none of those words have a positive vibe.
When contemplating why events happen the way they do and what I’m supposed to do about them, I prefer an idea that the singer Johnny Reid refers to in “A Place Called Love.” When he wrote the song, his grandmother had just died and his child had just been born. He asked himself, “Where did my grandmother go? Where did my daughter come from?”
His answer: a place called love. Sounds like as good an answer as any, and it is certainly much more reassuring than “A Place Called the Examination Centre.”
Scientific laws of the universe dictate that events we consider unpleasant or catastrophic must happen: cancers, tsunamis, wild fires. We have to accept the science, but we can choose to write our own story.
When that crafty fox leaps into our perfectly arranged row of ducks, don’t ask, “How do I pass this test?” Ask, “Who returns to love because of this?” Or “How do I help myself and others return to love?”
I like the image of real ducks all in a yellow fluffy row, so that how I wrote about them here. Another theory suggests that “ducks in a row” came from bowling. Early bowling pins were nicknamed “ducks,” and organizing them in their proper places before the next ball was thrown meant they were all “in a row.”