"...And even though
it all went wrong,
I'll stand before the Lord of Song,
with nothing on my tongue
My friend Missy's young son, Sam, recorded Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" recently, and listening to it reminded me of how much I love it. Beyond the lyrical message, there is a pure sound of pathos...self-knowledge, repentance, grace -- and divine mercy...buried in the chords and notes that fill the air.
I love that young Sam would choose this very complex piece of spiritual poetry. His compelling vocals speak to the heart, much as the young shepherd, David, used his harp to soothe King Saul's fevered breast.
So why this song...and why now?
Because there are nights when the demons of the past are relentless. They hiss, "You will never be able to make it right. You are defined by your own mistakes, and the mistakes of others."
For such a long time, I thought the goal was to be mistake-free. If I were alert, effectively praying, and listening all the time for spiritual direction, I would always do, and say, the "right" thing. I would go through life without ever coming to the conclusion that 2 + 2 = 5.
But even though I began each day with spiritual study, prayer, and treatment...a practice that continues all day, every day...once I left the cloistered space of my "office," to navigate relationships, errands, and life choices, I often made mistakes. I said the wrong thing, I was late, I forgot an appointment, and lost my keys...or my temper.
I felt so "not spiritual," and each night, when I looked over the landscape of my day, for the simple purpose of reclaiming those moments for God...I was left with a sense of regret.
That was until I read this quote by, noted scientist, Albert Einstein:
"Anyone who has never made a mistake
has never tried anything new."
Oh my goodness...I had forgotten, this is a science. A science. And a scientist doesn't always get it right...a scientist has the courage to make mistakes in order to probe the reliability of a law or principle.
In fact, I have long loved this quote by Jules Verne:
"Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes,
but they are mistakes which it is useful to make,
because they lead little by little to the truth."
How many times did my young daughters need to rewrite, or practice, their math facts before they had memorized 2 + 2 = 4 ? But once they did...it was a law. Knowing the reliability of that principle allowed my daughters to master higher math equations...equations that relied on knowing the sum of 2 + 2...with confidence.
Mary Baker Eddy refers to:
"...perfect God and perfect man [as] the basis of thought and demonstration."
She doesn't say anything about perfect marriages, perfect parenting, perfect houses, perfect choices, perfect tests, perfect decisions...perfect body.
The definition of perfect that I love so much is from Webster:
"complete, wanting nothing"
I exist in a state of completeness, I "want"...am missing...nothing. I am fully intelligent, loving, beautiful, wise, honest, orderly, animated, conscious. I have a fully equipped inner tool chest to bring with me into the laboratory. And I bring this spiritual pefect-ness to bear on every equation I am presented with by the great Professor.
I want to grow in my confidence that this science of being Christian...being loving, forgiving, compassionate, humble, meek, peaceful, merciful, temperate...is practical and reliable.
So bring on the equations. I'm a scientist. I am not afraid to make mistakes. I will learn from them.
Eddy goes on to say elsewhere in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany:
"No mortal is infallible,
hence the scripture,
'Judge no man.'"
Oh my goodness, I can be humanly fallible, without being a spiritual failure...sigh. What a compassionate woman.
And thanks Sam...sometimes the best reminders come from the songs of a young man...like the boy King, David...and you.
Tonight I will sing, "Hallelujah...
Kate Robertson, CS