Perhaps God has a sense of humor

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Posted 6/14/16 (Tue)

By John M. Andrist

So who is winning your wars?
I’ll bet you have a few of them going on inside of you. Hopefully not shooting wars.
I’m not thinking about skirmishes. You know, like whether to go to church or sleep late; steak or fish; make a donation or buy a new putter?
Okay, so what I’m thinking about is security versus freedom. They are both pretty important to us, and yet they always seem to be in conflict.
When we are born all we think about is security. We want to be held close, fed, pampered, snuggled. That desire sticks with us for 12 or 13 years. 
Then we are attacked by puberty, which lights a fire in the form of a sudden desire for independence -- freedom. War has been declared.
That’s because part of us still wants to be secure. Protected. And it fights with our new found desire to be free, to fly our own plane, to soar without inhibition.
For a few years there usually is a truce in the college years. Mom and dad aren’t watching as we freely make most of our own decisions, still secured by checks from home or bank loans.
From then on external conflicts challenge those dual precepts  within us for the rest of our lives.
The quest for freedom seems to have the edge for some of us. We tend to be Republicans or entrepreneurial thinkers. If that side is extra strong we may be Libertarians. 
That doesn’t mean we don’t want security, but we seem to find it internally so our insecurities are vested in something else. 
When our quest for freedom and independence is overtaken by our desire to be safe and secure, we’re more likely to be drawn to the Bernie Sanderses of our world, who promise to provide for all those needs which seem to be something beyond our means to obtain by ourselves.
Instinctively we seek both to be free and to be secure, each and every one of us. It’s a most personal war, but in a sense it has boiled over, out into the streets and cities of our whole country -- and world.
The greatest challenge for all of us is to try to figure out a way to be peacemakers in our new world of hardened Left and Right, rich and poor, haves and have nots. 
The journey must begin with self-examination. Why does my inner army of freedom and self-direction desire outweigh my other basic need for physical security?
Could it be I have been fortunate enough to have been created with stronger entrepreneurial instincts?
I’ve been beset by a multitude of fears, but none of them have been about going hungry or not having a job or not being able to provide for myself and my family.
In my own mind, for example, I’ve always been totally confident that come what may I simply would not have been unemployed. If I lost a job, I felt certain I could find some work, someplace.
Even if forced to apply for unemployment assistance I could and would find a way to solve my dilemma outside of the nagging of the agency providing my help.
On the other side I think that helps me better understand the person for whom these worries are a burden . .  . What to do if I lose my health insurance, how will I be able to handle a crop failure, if I skip this payment will somebody shut off my lights, how can I save when I have so much debt, who’s going to take care of me when I’m old?
Is it any wonder that such a person is attracted to a Bernie Sanders who promises a solution to all those problems, even while the rest of us are convinced those solutions can’t work?
My insecurities are fed more by is there really a God? If there is a God, what does he ask or expect of me? What can I do to strengthen my relationship with him or her or it?
It occurred to me at this moment I’m writing, perhaps he has an enormous sense of mischievous humor.
He decided a couple eons ago, now that I’ve created all this stuff and all these animals, I’m going to make some of them with a superior intellect and better tools to use that intellect, but nothing else -- just for fun, to see if they can learn to overcome those animal instincts and to learn prosperity and peacemaking by themselves before they kill each other and eradicate themselves, so I have to start over.
Frankly, I have to be grateful for the progress we’ve made. There has become a lot more of that “brother’s keeper” stuff in our lives than there was when we started.
And yet, we clearly are a work in progress, far from achieving what we should have been able to achieve by now.