In a short bit of writing on the subject of the Christian season of Lent Frederick Buechner asks the following questions. With no small amount of hesitation, trepidation and consternation I am going to attempt to honestly answer them:
If you had to bet everything you have on whether there is a God or whether there isn’t, which side would bet your money and why?
I would bet everything I have that there IS “a God” because I have met Him. Personally. Without speaking of one particularly supreme and meaningful moment I will simply say this: Behold the stars on a particularly dark and clear night – and the fireflies beneath them – and the feet you stand upon – and the raging fire of lava and brimstone that courses below them all. Then try to convince yourself that the very “consciousness” that perceives them is the result of some “random path of chance” that is allowing you to stand there breathing a simple molecule of oxygen while doing so.
If you can convince yourself of that then “more power to you” as the old saying goes – but I think the delusion you have constructed in order to do so is radically more far-fetched than the one that has a creator behind all you behold and experience. If that thought doesn’t help, then study quantum mechanics and the double slit experiment and then tell me you still don’t believe there is something far more going on than the “random” particles of light that meet your eye. https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a22280/double-slit-experiment-even-weirder/
When you look at your face in the mirror, what do you see in it that you most like and what do you see in it that you most deplore?
Ouch. The thing I see that I most like is that I appear (at least) to be healthy. This could, of course, change at any minute but at present my body is seemingly well armed and prepared for battle – against gravity, microbes, accidents, viruses and all the other stumbling blocks that the physical world can throw at us. So yes, the good news for me is that, so far (mostly), so good (mostly).
The thing that I see that is most deplorable is my built-in propensity to honor the self in lieu of others and (per the first question) the very God of creation who has breathed life into me. That can and does happen in any number of ways, but perhaps the most injurious and disgusting one is my tendency to judge others. It is the Achilles of humanity perhaps – and seeing it in myself so clearly, pierces the soul. (No less than a lie – which it, of course, is – that I am somehow more deserving than others.) I know full well I will never overcome it, apart from the grace, love and mercy of He who has allowed me to see the truth of who I am apart from Him.
If you had only one last message to leave to the handful of people who are most important to you, what would it be in twenty-five words or less?
I Love You All. Fully and completely – as I believe myself to be loved by the “sewer” of rocks and field and sky and fly . . .
Of all the things you have done in your life, which is the one you would most like to undo? Which is the one that makes you happiest to remember?
While at Disney World, as a young boy of 8 or so, my younger sister attempted to get my attention so that she could take my place in some interactive ping-pong like game I was playing with my brother. So taken with the thrill of the thing and feeling dominant and above her I turned and pushed her with great force to the ground. My mom witnessed the whole encounter and summarily sent me packing from the building / arcade and I knew I deserved a whole lot worse than that.
Lucky for me I immediately felt great remorse and that moment of “self first” has come to stand for every moment wherein the worldly has supplanted the heavenly vision God has for my life. There have been plenty of other less than honorable moments to be sure but that one somehow stands for them all. I am sorry Anne – I hope I can make it up to you one day – even if you may not remember it :).
The thing that makes me happiest to remember? Wow – that’s tough – most certainly the aforementioned “supreme and meaningful moment” but that’s for another day. Perhaps I should simply site that encounter as standing for all the other personal moments of real Love I have had with those who are closest to me – since they were all authored and informed by Him. I also once caught a very tough pass to win a very important (at the time) football game :). It’s nice to be successful when the “fate” of others is on the line as well. I suspect that’s far more often the case than we know.
Is there any person in the world or any cause that, if circumstances called for it, you would be willing to die for?
I would like to believe that in my best moments I would die for anyone and everyone – my Lord and Savior has taught me that – certainly for all whom I love and know and share my life with. In many ways it would be the greatest of honors to do so – to walk that path (hopefully in complete Trust) just as He did. As my former boss (and one of my favorite people) Joy Sylvester-Johnson advised me the day she hired me to work at The Rescue Mission: “You need to be prepared to pray, preach or drop dead at any moment . . .” It didn’t take long to figure out she wasn’t kidding. It turned out to be pretty good advice for life as well.
If this were the last day of your life, what would you do with it?
Hopefully what I am doing now – since ANY day can, of course, be that day. But if it were forecasted and I had some time to prepare, I would invite all of my family and friends over for a cookout and a campfire. There would be plenty of good food and drink and hopefully we would sing a lot with my friends John Walker and Big Al leading the songs on their guitars. My beloved wife Caroline would be close by my side, as would our children for the entire evening and then we would go to bed in no different a way than we might on any night. It would be hard to sleep of course – not really knowing when, where and if one might awake. But I have a deep and abiding peace that tells me I would – and that it would be with all of them again and the Master as well – each and every one of us living out of and into a Glory so very beyond our imagining . . .
So there. Those are my answers . . . What are yours?
Send them to me if you like.
Stuart Revercomb is the publisher of TheRoanokeStar.com and Shepherd of a small flock of seekers and believers that meet every Sunday at The Bent Mountain Bistro at 10 AM. He invites you to join them for what has generally been termed “a rather significantly laid back and conversational hour of reflection and worship.” https://www.facebook.com/firstchurchroanoke/