Reaching for some illogical hope

by Kristin on June 27, 2011

in Belief, doubt & hope

On Saturday evening—after a day that wasn’t too taxing, too stressful or too hot—I was exhausted. And it made me mad. Being exhausted is fine, of course, but not if there isn’t a clear, logical reason for it.

This sort of dependence on logic has plagued me most of my life. Rather than simply feeling exhausted (or sad or anxious) and accepting it for what it is, I’m compelled to deconstruct it until I can find the culprit (or culprits), and then point to them with a satisfying “Ah-ha!” Being able to explain what it is that is making me feel whatever I’m feeling doesn’t change the feeling itself, of course, but it does make me feel better about the bad feeling. There’s an explanation, so therefore it’s not mysterious—ie: it isn’t completely out of the realm of my control.

A love for logic is closely related to a love for control

Take the instance of my youngest daughter being away at camp last week (which I wrote about here). For the first 24 hours after I dropped her off at camp, I was in a fairly intense cycle of worry. There were many things that were clearly out of my control, in this situation (take the severe storms that rolled through that part of the state, for instance), but at least I had a logical grasp on the worry, itself.

Of course I was worried, I reasoned. She’s my youngest. She’s sensitive and a mama’s girl. She can be absent-minded and prone to forgetting things like sunscreen and drinking enough fluids. Plus I was following the weather channel and the severe storm warnings issued for that area. My concerns were justified!

After assuring myself of that, I proceeded to reason my way out of being worried (or at least quite so worried). I read an article that reminded me, in very rational ways, how healthy and important it is for kids to be exposed to discomfort and independence.

Going for trust and passion, over logic

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you there are numerous problems with living one’s life in this way. (I don’t always live like this, thankfully, but I am prone to it, so it’s something I have to intentionally fight.)

One of the most obvious problems is the stress and strain of living without trust. When it comes to my first example—being exhausted without good reason—I’m not trusting myself, my body and my instincts. In the second example—my daughter’s first adventure away at camp—I’m not trusting others, who have planned and trained and readied themselves to care for kids all summer, and I’m not trusting God, who has the whole world in his hand, including my daughter and all of the kids at camp with her.

Another problem with living like this hit me at church on Sunday, as I listened to one of our pastors teach. He was talking about the importance of nurturing our passions, and he said (I’m paraphrasing) “passion has to be founded in a hope that surpasses our understanding and intellect.” In other words, when we’re passionate about something, it doesn’t make sense. Sure, it might make sense that I like music, because I grew up with lots of it, or that I like my husband Jason, because we have a lot in common. But those rationale don’t explain why I’m passionate about those things.

The leap from “like” or “enjoy” to “passionate” correlates with the leap from “understanding” to “beyond our understanding.” It’s the difference between calming your worries by looking at a detailed weather forecast that says the storm warning has been lifted, and feeling a “peace that passes understanding,” even if the storm warning is still very much in effect.

Our pastor went on to suggest that if the hope we have is logical, it’s probably a sign that we need to push ourselves farther—out into the illogical unknown.

I dug around in my purse for a pencil, found a scrap of paper, and wrote this thought that popped into my head:

“There’s great power in things that don’t make sense.”

I’m not sure that statement makes perfect sense to me, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have to. It can still do its work in me.

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  • http://thealchemistblog.wordpress.com Genevieve

    This post came at the perfect time for me. I’ve been going through a huge transition/leap into the illogical, and I think I’ve pretty much been fighting it the whole way. I let a lot of that steam off when I went around my apartment breaking stuff (http://thealchemistblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/your-homestead-needs-a-breaking-shit-pile-or-that-was-the-funnest-breakdown-ive-ever-had/) on Friday, and for an act that was extremely illogical, unnecessary, and probably mildly insane, it felt amazing! Sometimes we know more than we know…y’know?

    Gen

  • stephanie

    Damn. You’re definitely on to something. This is a familiar battle to me, and I’ve been especially fighting it hard all spring around some issues with training for and playing roller derby (I know, that’s a whole separate post/comment!). I’ve been working on managing my expectations, but that still leaves me firmly in logic-world, and it’s really unsatisfying. Trust is hard for a logic addict like me, but when you connect it to passion, it becomes something powerful rather than blind, and I really like that. Trust as something active, rather than passive. Something’s been driving me lately to go skydiving… I went with some friends recently, and though it never appealed to me before then, it’s an idea that I can’t let go of now. I know, I know. It’s been hitting me in the face this whole time, taking a leap, enjoying the fall, trusting in EVERYTHING. :-)

  • http://rvreyes.com/RVR_designs/Welcome.html Raquel

    Separate at birth?

    So there with you in so many ways: the logic, the trust, the capped joy.

  • http://www.halfwaytonormal.com Kristin T.

    Genevieve, yes! I love how you put that: “Sometimes we know more than we know…” And we know what we need, and we have to be willing to follow our instincts more (and our instincts are pretty darn good at being illogical).

    stephanie, sometimes I write these posts and wonder if the rest of the world will think I’m a crazy person, so it’s good to know I have company! I can really relate to this: “I’ve been working on managing my expectations, but that still leaves me firmly in logic-world, and it’s really unsatisfying.” And thanks for reminding me about this: “Trust as something active, rather than passive.”

    Raquel, wow—”the capped joy.” Yes. Let’s uncap that, shall we?

  • http://themoderngal.com The Modern Gal

    I fall into this trap easily. I’m a bit of a control freak, so I want to know why everything is the way it is. Why does that person struggle with something? Why do I feel anxious? I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to give that up though.

  • http://www.halfwaytonormal.com Kristin T.

    The Modern Gal, I asked so many “why’s” out loud as a kid (I’m pretty sure that’s why I never liked math–because it was taught it a “just because that’s the way the formula works” way). Clearly I still long to understand why things are the way they are and why they turn out the way they do. We might not be able to change that part of who we are, but I bet we can challenge it a bit more often.