I have decided that the website www.thehubbellpew.com. should go on a hiatus for a short while, and I thought in a letter I’d explain my reasoning. I constantly advocate that each of us go through a period of self examination. Lent is a perfect time because we are already engaged in sacrifice, prayer, meditation, and examination. Yet this year it is over, and I feel I have wasted a wonderful opportunity. I can’t explain it, it’s just a feeling.
C.S. Lewis in his radio addresses and subsequent books says that each of us knows the difference between right and wrong. I believe almost all faiths, including your Sufism, believe in a similar premise. It may be called a conscience, the soul, or God itself, and where I believe this knowledge may come from God and the soul he has given me, other faiths may believe in a different source or call it by a different name. Whatever it’s called, with that knowledge of right and wrong I easily know that no matter how hard I try I cannot always do right, and as a human I’m incapable of perfection. In my personal case, my failures are huge and ongoing. As a Christian, I believe that’s where Jesus comes in. Somehow, someway, his coming, death, and resurrection allows me to get out of jail. You’ll be interested to know, that I also believe his resurrection does the same for all human beings, there are no exceptions.
Which brings me to my obligation to God. In that same place where I know the difference between right and wrong; in that same place where I know God wraps his arms around me and says I love you despite all my failures; that same place tells me to love and serve him, and I’m to ask hard questions about everything I do. Those qustions include: am I doing this to serve God or myself, is what I’m doing self-serving rather than to serve others, and who am I trying to please — God or myself? That inquiry includes things that may have started for the right reason, but no longer serve God’s purpose or have completed their task. I don’t believe any of us are supposed to become stagnate, doing the same thing day after day without examining whether what may have been the right thing at the time, now serves a different or wrong purpose.
I think we all come to periods in our life where we seem adrift. I’ve had lots of occasions where circumstances have forced me in a certain direction, and I’ve had to make adjustments. Certainly needing a transplant and facing death was one of those, and I made adjustments. Included in those adjustments was a literary device called “Letters to Tom” and daily postings in the Hubbell Pew. Recently, I’ve realized that I need to be more proactive in finding ways to serve God given the gift of life I’ve been given, and that process needs to include how I spend my days with what few assets I have.
I hope this process doesn’t take another forty days. But that same voice that tells me the difference between right and wrong, also tells me the time is now to begin. Thank you for listening. It helps more than you can ever know. Webb
I applaud you for taking the time for the personal journey you’ve described. I’m also moved to share a couple thoughts about good and bad… as I’ve written in the past, was are all perfectly created to be imperfect. From Dr. Elisabeth Keesing’s book, “A Sufi Master Answers: On the Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan”, (and these are quotes from Khan): One (the advancing mystic) begins to see that the whole universe is a mechanism working towards a certain purpose. Therefore the right one and the wrong one, the good and the bad are all bringing about one desired result…. a result meant to be, which is the purpose of life.”
Also, “In order to find goodness one must find wickedness to compare it with. When we have found both, the both become clear; wickedness will show what goodness is. In order to find reality we must gather the knowledge of what is unreal.”
I don’t know if this is useful… but I do know I look forward to hearing more about your discoveries!