Why do we hold so tightly onto things? I know my realism has a habit of turning into pessimism… but it can tend toward stoicism too! The idea of holding things loosely just makes so much more sense to me. There is just too much potential for crap to happen in life. I don’t say that in a downer, “woe is me” way… i say it in a factual “you don’t have to look too far” kind of way. I am currently so encouraged by my current read, The Consolations of Philosophy. I won’t tell you who it’s by, because you probably already know. It is just so refreshing to wonderful to see how age-old philosophers can still be so incredibly relevant and helpful to us today.
“Never did I trust Fortune, even when she seemed to be offering peace. All those blessings which she kindly bestowed on me, I relegated to a place which she could take them back without disturbing me. Between them and me, I have kept a wide gap, and so she has merely taken them, not torn them from me” – the philosopher Seneca, during exile in Corsica, AD 41
I appreciate this concept of Seneca’s because it doesn’t judge fortune. We don’t have to feel unending guilt if we are fortunate. Sometimes, God blesses us with things and situations, and that’s awesome. We just have to be careful, and hold loosely – we have to be perpetually ready to share and be generous. As long as we can take these things, but still “keep a wide gap”, then we’re golden. It’s just like Job – he (however barely) didn’t crumble under the weight of unthinkable disaster, because his worldview was bigger than himself. He was faithful, both in being blessed and in being crushed. Thank goodness for examples like Job… and Seneca.