Not As It Should Be

When I arrived at the law school this morning, I stopped, as I do not infrequently, at the office of my friend and colleague Mark Osler.  We caught up on the talks we’ve each given recently, and near the end of our conversation I relayed my experience of being in near total white-out conditions on my drive up to Duluth on Friday morning.  As it is mid-April, as I walked out the door, Mark observed, “that’s just not as it should be.”  And my comment to myself as I walked into the suite in which my office is located was “Yeah, a lot of things are not as they should be.”

My immediate next thought was: who says?  Who says there should not be weather in April that produces white-out conditions?  More generally, how do we decide what should and should not be?

Coincidentally (?) I looked up at that moment to something I have hanging next to my office door.  It is an excerpt from Brandon Bays book “Freedom Is.”  It says

Now what if you discovered that everything is as it is meant to be?  What if you realized that everything that is taking place is happening for a reason and a purpose that you can’t fully understand yet?…What if you were to fully, completely, and utterly just accept what’s here?…

What if it is entirely the will of grace and is out of your hands?…What if there is nothing you can do, should do or ought to do to fix it?…What if you finally felt what it what it feels like to completely and totally relax and accept that what is here is what is meant to be, in this moment?…

How would it feel to rest in an ocean of trust…just being…effortless being?…

Now, I can’t embrace fully what Bays is saying.  That is to say, there are many injustices in this world that I think we can and should work to change.  They do not reflect Kingdom and I do not think we should simply accept them.  And so there is a danger “everything is as it is meant to be” can become an excuse for complacency.

But I do think the comment is a reminder that not everything that is difficult, unpleasant, inconvenient is “not as it should be.”  Many things do happen “for a reason and a purpose [we] can’t fully understand yet.”  And we do need to develop a trust that, as God said to Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

The bottom line is that I think we need to be much more intentional and deliberate about what we label “not as it should be.”  There is real discernment required in distinguishing those things that require our action in the world from those that require our letting go.

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