No cure for being human
“No cure for being human!”
These are not my words, but the title of a new book just released by the brilliant Kate Bowler. She is a New York Times bestselling author, professor of Christianity in America at Duke Divinity School, and currently living with Stage 4 cancer.
There is no cure for being human. Sorry! Fasten your seatbelt. It’s going to be hard here on earth. We are going to suffer. We are going to get our hearts broken. We are going to age. We are going to be painfully disappointed by fellow human beings, nature, human-governed institutions, even—God.
To be human is also the most exquisite, magical, transcendent experience imaginable. Marvelous it is to wear the sacred cloak of flesh containing a mysterious and wondrous spirit. By divine design, we can take our fill of beauty in nature, in art, in relationships. To be human is to be curious, creative and intelligent. We even get to experience a bit of heaven when love is expressed and received. If only we could opt out of the pain, fear, and even the despair that is wrapped up into the bliss of being human.
We are finite. We have a little swath of time to live an unforgettable life of both joys and sorrows, heroic displays and deafening defeats, paralyzing fear and supernatural peace.
Kate Bowler says, “no one seems to understand that everyone’s life hangs by a thread.” Anyone who has experienced the rug pulled out from under them, or worse, endured a wrecking ball to everything they have built knows the art of being human is a fragile enterprise. Jesus knew this all too well. He became one of us and endured the brutal and the beautiful to show us the mission is healing— not the curing of being human. We are meant to fully embody the whole of it!
What does it mean to be healed? I have spent the last fifteen years of my professional and academic life trying to answer that question. It hurts me to see people in pain. Healing has infinite and evolving meanings across the seasons of our lives. To feel good in your body, mind and spirit is tangible healing, but Jesus was always hoping we would push for more. Figuring out how to cultivate and maintain inner calm and deep hope in the unpredictable, the mean, the sad, the unmerciful is what we must seek. Finding the courage to keep stepping forward no matter how uncertain and dark and painful the present circumstance is the harbinger of healing. Healing is learning how to hold suffering and joy in us at the same time.
We cannot be cured of being human. But we can pray for “Lazarus healing” which I define as regular risings from loss, disappointment, defeats—any kind of experience of suffering that threatens to take us down before the final curtain call.
Next week I am going to speak on the importance of having “Transcendent” moments in the ordinariness of our daily lives! Moments when we literally feel like the light changes and maybe heaven has broken through. These remind our spirits that God is invested in eternal healing always.
Dum spiro spero
While I breathe, I hope!
Live in Hope,