Surprised by Meaning


I was biking and fell.  I’m scrapped up and bruised.  Beautiful view tho.

I’m reading Surprised By Meaning.  It’s good.  I’m at this point where most of the books I read are recommendations.  Next up would be Brothers Karamazov, but of course, that’s 37 hours on audiobook.  It’ll have to be for another day.

It’s been a while since I wrote on this blog.  I haven’t really thought about it until recently when I showed it to Charlie.  I don’t know.  I feel like whatever I write next must be forced out of me.  I’m also afraid of what it might mean to confront my thoughts head on.  Chief on my mind right now is Meredith.  She recently got back in contact with me, and I found myself thanking God for such an answer to prayer.  There hasn’t been a day that’s gone by that I haven’t whispered her name.

I went to a wedding today.  I thought about the kind of blessing that is, and the blessing I get to experience this community and the closeness of these relationships.  I wish she could share in that joy, instead of feeling sad, as she said she feels.

What do I say to that?  What can I say to that?  How can I help someone not feel sad when they’re 3000 miles away?  A text can only do so much, and even a voice such as mine is limited and cut short.  4 hours can pass without even thinking about it, but it feels like it’s not enough.  I don’t know what to do, and I feel helpless.

But there’s hope.  Recently she opened up about what she believes, about this universe and how it came to be.  There’s option 1, where everything is just random and chance, always here, no causer.  Or option 2, which says it’s not something that’s always been here, through sheer randomness and chance, for if it was, then we would observe a different sort of universe, without a fixed beginning, as Alexander Vilenkin proved it was.  So then the question that allows for options 2 is this: where did the beginning come from?  The whole reason people claimed the universe was eternal was so that they didn’t have to answer the question of who began the universe.  That gets us to option 2, where there’s a source, call it God or whatever you want to call it, and it set the world into motion.  I think that’s where she’s at now.  Not quite at the God of the Bible, but not quite the avoidance of such a God in the cold indifferent eternal universe.  The hope is that through option 2, she can reach option 3, the idea of one God, indwelling Christ as one man through whom all things were created.  The hope is to get to option 3.

But then there’s this guy.  Oh man I hate this guy.  At the same time, I can totally relate to being this guy.  In another life, perhaps we could’ve been friends.  She said he checked out Screwtape Letters after they had their fight.  I wonder if that means he’s on the same track I got onto, explored option 1, option 2, and one day he might come to the same conclusion I came to with option 3.  It’s still a work in progress, but I’m hoping he’s progressing towards my position, which is arguably the more reasonable one.  I don’t know.  I’m supposed to hate this guy, and yet I just feel sorry for him and wish he could see the error of his ways to be saved.

That gave me some hope.  That gave me some encouragement and a way to start the conversation on her grounds.  But days after, she seems cold and far away now, lost in sadness, tragic possibility and a wallowing desire to restore the old narrative.  It’s terrible.  I wish I could tell her what I see.  I wish she’d believe me.

Believe.  That’s an interesting thing.  She asked if I believed her, when she said he was amazing at creating.  Well duh.  Why wouldn’t I?  She would not have bought into the lie of the narrative if he wasn’t compelling for the story.  I’m sure he’s excellent at his craft.  Even the psychologist said so, that he was a genius.  but so what?  What good is genius if it led him to be violent towards those closest to him?  What good is the intellect when pride sours the brain?  I’d rather be dumb.

Alas, such is the problem though.  I’m not dumb.  So there’s always this risk of someone similar being someone I become.  He’s not someone I want to become.  Yet the hope is that he might become as I am, with enough humility to forgo what he thinks he knows, and humbly seek to learn more than what his eyes are limited to.

So that’s where I am, with her.  What’s the solution?  I don’t know.  I think it’s just gotta be risked.  I’ve risked it before, I’ve pushed too far, and gotten too religious, too much.  So the solution is not to go down that route.  It may be to reveal a bit of her own selfishness.  Why does she get to decide when we talk?  Or perhaps more accurately, why do we speak of her burdens and not my own?

Aside from the obvious, it might be a helpful lens that enables her to view her heart.  The complaints of a proud person who seeks to craft a life of her own, to order the universe around her needs as the God and master of her own fate.  I can only hope it’s not cruel to make her attempt known.  I hope she’d forgive me for showing her what I saw all along.  There I go again.  I wish I didn’t see it.  I’d rather be dumb.

But, as I am what I am, I gotta make do with this situation.  I prayed that she’d be well and that she’d find her way to you O Lord, somehow.  I certainly didn’t think you’d want to make that happen by bringing her back towards me and my ilk.  But such is the case.  So now I suppose the solution is to offer a different prayer, that I may find inroads for the gospel, to, as she puts it, weasel the love of God into her heart.  I hope she’ll take it better this time around.

And to address the elephant in the room, of course I like her.  She’s brilliant.  Far too smart not to believe in option 3 eventually.  The thing that’ll stop her will be her emotions, clouding her judgment and swaying her towards the narrative of a fairy tale, the genius savant and the fame-driven life.  How can I get her to where I’m at, to say that all human loves fall short of our deepest desires?  How can I get her to see where, though I like her, she is but dust in the wind as I strain to grasp the real thing besides?  What can I do to keep her from being deceived and devoted to such lies?

Well obviously, it’s not my job to succeed in this endeavor alone.  It’s the job of the Holy Spirit to convict people of their sins, and I leave it up to my sovereign God to be working in the background whether I know it or not.  I entrust her into the prayers I once prayed. and hey, it only took 4 years.  What’s another 4 more?

Alright, time to sleep.  I’ll be teaching Alex and Chris about the historical reliability of the Bible tomorrow.  I should get some rest.  May they be strengthened in their convictions through the material and find adequate reasons to believe.




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