Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What is St. Valentine's Day to me?

I naturally find myself reflecting on the wonderful people in my life on this day. It is a happy day, and also a melancholic day. I realize how blessed I am, with people in my life who are so easy to love. I also realize how many people that I have met in all my years that I do not remember, but that are worth remembering. And what about all those who have no one to remember them?

And then I realize how unworthy I am. I realize how easy my life is, always being surrounded by genuine people. I am loved, not because of anything in me, but because I am surrounded by people who naturally pour out their love on those around them.

The Creator of all things that exist, loves me. It is one thing for a human being to love another human being, his equal, but an entirely different thing for an Infinite Being to love a human being, a tiny spec among all His creatures. And the only thing that gives me worth is the fact of being His creation, though it could not have been otherwise.

When I look and see that this is all the case, I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed for ever thinking I am justified for being upset. My pride automatically stops me from accepting this embarrassment, "Wait Martha, what about when you are upset about all the suffering in the world? Surely you are justified for moping about that!" But, thankfully the rational side of me is still intact, "Oh, give me a break Martha. How often does your thought really center on those suffering in this world? If you really thought about the real suffering of others rather than just your pathetic, pretend suffering, wouldn't you actually use your time productively? Wouldn't you be doing something about it, instead of idly being bored and looking for something to do for the 16 hours of the day you're not sleeping? You live in America for God's sake, there are endless possibilities within your grasp to end suffering in this world."

Then, my final realization. Though I so often point and wag my finger at God, blaming Him for the suffering in this world, I realize I can only point and wag my figure at myself and all my fellow Americans. I wonder at the inequality we have created amongst ourselves. I wonder at the cost of living for an American compared to a peasant Chinese. How many lives, just across an ocean, could comfortably be sustained, in my stead. Is it possible all this suffering was created by us?

My brother once pointed out shocking fact to me, though it should have been obvious. If everyone in the world used sex the way Christianity suggests it to be used, there would be no AIDS epidemic. STDs would not exist. All this death, that we created ourselves, because we claim we aren't hurting anyone else by exploiting and abusing our own copulatory organs.

As a philosophy major, and as a college student, I am surrounded by self proclaimed religion-mockers, and I observe a bleak hypocrisy. While their strongest argument against a benevolent God is the problem of evil, the irony is that countless research studies in psychology show that those with the most suffering, as we in first-world countries categorize it, all find their rest in God. It is as if we, whose greatest suffering is self-invented, point to them and say, "No, your solution to your own problem is wrong!" The irony is not even in that we have no justification for making that claim, but that we have no better alternative to offer them regardless.

How much suffering exists as a result of my own capacity to love left unused?

So what is St. Valentine's Day to me? It is a day of embarrassment. As I reflect on Love, it exposes how much I lack it. My hope is that this embarrassment will lead to enlightenment will lead to practice...

I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money and every other good of man, public as well as private. -Socrates

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