Throughout the history of Christianity there have been moments when self-loathing and self-abuse have been popularly embraced under the guise that such an approach to being human is pleasing to God. What nonsense! God created everything and pronounced, “It is good.” In other words, it is enough! And we, the ones created, dare to reply “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” Yes life can be hard and painful as we struggle to grow from ignorance into awareness, from narcissism into generosity, from blindness into sight… But get over it! Learning requires the painfulness of stretching our consciousness! Just because life demands that we stretch ourselves does not mean that stretching is bad or that it is okay for us to try to avoid it!
Because we hold onto this crazy idea that life should never inconvenience us when it does we often try to deliberately distract ourselves! We sometimes try to keep painful feelings away by doing things that make us oblivious! Unfortunately such an approach does not lead to clarity in our lives. We needn’t go out of our way to insert pain into life, and yet pain is not all that life is about! It is also about those glorious moments when we are ambushed by understanding something that previously had been a wall over which our minds could not climb! Life is about the exhilaration of all of those moments when we discover that we CAN do what we had previously convinced ourselves we could not, those moments when we discover that “it is good”.
The “Painted Church” at Kealakekua is a good example. At some point a priest assigned to that little church looked at the confining boxiness of its interior and suddenly imagined how it could be bigger than itself! He covered all of the interior walls with murals that changed how the flat surface is perceived, most especially the apse area behind the little altar. As a result of his daring to push himself and those walls, the area behind the altar makes one feel that one is actually inside a vast cathedral! When I stood there staring at the apse wall the effect was so intense that I felt as if I was being pulled into that vast cathedral space!
So yes there is pain in life… but so what?! We need to grow up and stop our childish whining about life’s insistence that we grow up! Our journey through life would be better served were we to adopt the Hawaiian mindset of accepting that this day is good, that it is enough, that what it demands of me is what is needed and that every so often along the way it is also good that we throw a lūʻau for others!