4:26pm, December 3, 2013
I had just boarded a transport jet headed to Stanford University with Baby Cruz. I was looking out the window at the ambulance that had rushed us to the airport, thinking, “Can this really be happening?” It felt more like a dream than reality, and once I arrived in California and saw the night-and-day difference in the care he was receiving in comparison to the past couple weeks, it felt like I’d entered into an alternate universe. Only a couple days beforehand I had almost ended Cruz’s life upon doctors’ requests, and now I was being told, “We’re gonna get your boy home.”
It doesn’t happen very often, but I believe that every single one of us have moments in life – for me it’s only been maybe twice – where heaven meets earth and the impact it has completely alters our reality. A moment where, we’re on a most-certain trajectory, but then suddenly all the elements change (circumstances, information, absolutes, e v e r y t h i n g), and what was truth yesterday is no longer true at all. We determine what is real through our senses (what we see, hear, think) but “when truth is blurred by lies and misinformation, perception becomes reality and all is lost”. What we perceive is usually what we believe, however, when your messed-up world is suddenly turned right-side-up (or the other way around) it’s like we get a glimpse of an existence that’s beyond the normal limits of human perception. We get the smallest-of-the-smallest understanding that there’s more to this life than just a series of fortunate/unfortunate events. It’s in these transcendent out-of-body experiences that we start to acknowledge a few things about ourselves and the world we live in:
1️⃣ We realize we’re not in control of our life as much as we like to think we are.
2️⃣ We realize we can’t possibly know anything for certain – even the things we are absolutely certain about – but that’s where faith steps in.
3️⃣ We realize we’ve put our faith in the wrong things.
We think we’re making safe and calculated decisions, but nothing is safe in an imperfect world. We’ve put our faith in imperfect people, in imperfect places, even imperfect (borderline ridiculous) things…. because we naturally trust the tangible over intangible. If we perceive it to be real, then it’s real. If we cannot perceive it, we have a harder time believing it could be reality (just out of basic logic) i.e. You believe you’re financially secure because you perceive that your boss is a good person and the two of you have a close friendship, but in reality your company will be gone in 4.5 months, and you’ll be involved in a huge investigation concerning embezzlement, fraud, and illegal business practices. You were told you only have a couple weeks left to live, but there’s actually a simple fix to your “terminal” illness. You believe your spouse is trustworthy, but in reality she/he has been cheating on you with the same person-on-the-side for over 7 years. You’re contemplating giving up on your dreams today, but you’re only one day away from “your big break”. You believe your government isn’t corrupt, when they’re actually conspiring with terrorists to plan the next big event to take place in your country’s history. You were told at age 22 that you’re completely infertile, but now at 36 years old you’re sitting in the bathroom looking at a positive pregnancy test (were you really infertile all these years or were you just deceived into thinking so)? You have plans for early retirement, when in reality you’re only 2 hours away from a fatal car wreck. (what was the point of all that hard work if you were never going to reap the benefits?)
Does this make you feel insecure with your life? It shouldn’t.
These 3 realizations lead to 2 major changes that HOPEFULLY propel us into a lifestyle that some of us like to call “Kingdom living” ––
1️⃣ We begin to think and see dimensionally. We only understand what we can perceive, but when our narrow understanding suddenly widens, we gain a perspective that adds dimension to our lives, causing us to question our linear thinking. Once we’re enlightened to this new way of seeing the world, we get a glimpse of just how small we really are, despite the fact that we’ve made ourselves the center of our own universes! For example: In an ant’s world, they work hard, they have a mission, they are consumed with that mission and they are unaware of the dimension humans operate in above. They might see the side of our shoe as we’re fast approaching, but they have no way of comprehending that their world is within ours. Same goes for us. We need stop thinking we’re the end-all-be-all, because to think this inwardly is to be close-minded, narcissistic, ignorant, I’d go as far to say, it’s an anti-Christ way of thinking. We are not the creators of this universe. We are not gods, so let’s stop worshipping ourselves as though we are. At any point, someone could stomp on our metaphorical anthill, and everything we’ve lived/existed for could be obliterated. Does this make you feel insecure with your life? It shouldn’t. We are small, but we are not insignificant. This life is short, but we have an eternal purpose.
2️⃣ We begin to reprioritize. Our priorities as humans are pretty jacked-up. Are we really getting upset we only got a 2-day vacation? Do we REALLY think our new sofa is valuable? Does it really matter that your friend has 200K followers on IG and you have 200? Let’s take it even further…. do we really need to have the perfect job in order to experience contentment/fulfillment? Does it really matter that you just lost your house? Is your life really over because you were paralyzed in a career-ending sports injury? NO. Pretty much everything on this earth that we consider to be of value is actually meaningless unless it has eternal qualities – although – even the meaningless things have a reason for being. It’s when we lose perspective (this misalignment is gradual) that we mistakenly give importance to things that don’t matter. If you can get so excited to post your new outfit on Instagram that you forget your sister-in-law is in the middle of having a late-term miscarriage at the hospital, well I’m sorry to say that you’re worshiping self, your priorities are messed up, and you’ve lost sight of your purpose. For me, sadly, it took losing my son to see how far off I was in this regard. Ultimately, there’s nothing that matters to me anymore besides LOVE. IF I HAVE EVERYTHING THAT THIS WORLD HAS TO OFFER, BUT HAVE NOT LOVE, I AM NOTHING.
note: a good verse to fallback on when trying to assess our priorities is 1 Cor. 13:1-13
ps. notice how sin isn’t even mentioned in the following scripture, but rather, things that are actually not bad at all! Even good things can become sin if we become consumed with religion and ideologies, missing the heart of God altogether.
1 Corinthians 13 (ESV)
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am just a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.
Prophecies will pass away; tongues will cease; knowledge will pass away.
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then I saw face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
And finally, because James has become a book that I’ve turned to the most over the past few years, I’d like to conclude with this as we all go back to our realities tonight: “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” Ja 4:14
Love you all!