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Tragedy and Glory

June 14
by
Justin Davis
in
Inspirational People
with
.

“My feelings about art and my feelings about the creator of the universe are inseparable… it means attempting to share the meaning of my life, what gives it, for me, its tragedy and its glory.” Madeleine L’Engle


So, what gives your life “its tragedy and glory?” For L’Engle, she ultimately desired to bring glory to the creator of the universe through the life she lived, but how did she do this? She wrote novels of fiction from her experiences and imagination, to allow people to simply enjoy and gain new perspective on what it means to be human. She took wisdom from her years of life, then transcended them into concepts that would impact readers, not just on the surface, but also on an existential level.

The quote that you first read, comes from one of her novels called “Walking on Water”, where she explains what it’s like to live a life of faith and pursue the extraordinary life of an artist. Now, in my own words, I will attempt to find my reason for what brings my life its tragedy and glory. Along the way, I hope you will find your answer as well.

There are two things that are essential to the tragedy and glory of my life; faith and myself.

What I mean by this, is that the faith I have in the creator of the universe, will bring His glory to my twisted tragedy that I live as a human being. That He will bring goodness and beauty to my sinful story. It’s that simple, and in this simplicity, there is a beautiful, chaotic sophistication about it. As I continue to walk in this life, I have found that there is beauty in simplicity, but there is also beauty in the chaos of sophistication. Sometimes the simplest of answers, will require you to discover the chaos and the cosmos that is held within.

As an artist, my desire is to discover these “simple” truths about the tragedy we live, so I can then share the freeing and glorifying knowledge of Christ with people who are chained to the shackles of life.

With this truth, I don’t want people to simply accept or reject these ideas, but rather I want them to test and approve this possible truth for themselves. Living with this desire as the forefront of my passion, consequently brings positive and negative ailments to my story. What I mean by this, is that the life I live, will be nothing like what I expect it to be.

Up until now, the majority of my life has been lived with Christ, and from this, I can safely say that living a life with Christ is far from the idea of ‘normal’. From the places I’ve seen, people I’ve met, lives that touched me, experiences I’ve faced; never would I have thought that my existence would look like this.

It’s a mystical, yet magnificent story that I have been called to live.

But now, you’re probably asking yourself the question of, “What possibly could be the “negative” ailments to your life?” Before I continue onto these proponents, I must say that the negative ailments I’ve faced are no more different than anyone else’s; we all experience pain and we all suffer, the most noticeable difference within this, is the type of pain and suffering that we experience and how we cope with it.

Up until the age of 16; the perspective of driven optimism marked my life. Nothing I had faced or experienced as a child or teen, was that of anything that would alter my perspective on how I would live day to day. I had walked through life with the mentality that God is good, living is easy, and I am here to make the most of it. Sure, I went through a typical teenage liveliness of getting into trouble and my parent’s grounding me, ‘break ups’ (they were never relationships, but each one ended like they were), broken bones; you get the picture. But on the night of July 20, 2012, my esprit of walking with God had changed forever. The Aurora Theatre shooting completely shattered my perspective on what it means to have a heart driven by optimism.

Everything I stood for and believed in, immediately came crashing down onto me. I was crushed by the weight of my own convictions.

Somehow I escaped from this crippling tenet and I ran. In this time of running, I chose to live my life the way I pleased, away from the One who wanted to do life with me. I ran to momentary pleasures that would allow me to escape the reality of my life, but that’s the calamity of it all, each pleasure was a momentary escape, never a cure.

After searching and falling short time and time again, I decided that I would end my life. The emotional, physical, and mental dilemmas that I was experiencing, were far too great of a feat for me to handle. I had thought that nothing on this earth could save me… and I was right, but someone who overcame the world could. As I was on my deathbed, contemplating the how of my life, with tears running down my face; God spoke to me. I knew it was He because of the simple, compassionate, and still small voice that spoke to me. He told me that my life could positively impact somebody one day, but out of my own freewill, I would have to make a choice on whether to live or die.

At the time, it didn’t seem very compassionate of God, the One who dearly loves me, to say that I had the choice about my life; I expected Him to swoop down and hold me in His arms, to let me know it would all be okay, but there is something that God has blessed us with called Freewill. It’s the phenomenon of making my own decisions in life and accepting whatever consequences (good or bad), that will follow. Up until this point of my history, I knew and had head knowledge of His most prominent characteristic being love, but I was lacking of this truth in my heart.

There is a distinct difference between knowing and believing; I, was on the side of simple belief, but not on the side of arduous faith.

Because of this head knowledge, I knew that no matter what I would choose to do, He would still love me. Whether I chose death or life, His devotion for me would never change (but that is no excuse to begin living a life of sin). By now, you can probably guess which path of existence I chose. My reason for this option, was because my time on this earth hadn’t had meaning except for what I thought was to suffer, but now knowing that my traumatic season could impact somebody one day, to have a purpose; that was enough of a reason for me to continue on through the pain.

In the years that I was absent in my relationship with God; I gained insight on things that I could never have learned if I were still with Him. My time away from the light, taught me what it was like to live in the darkness. The amazing thing is, as I thought I was running away from God, He was actually running after me. He sought after my heart, wanting to restore the brokenness and help pick up the pieces, to put me back together. After a grueling four years through all of this, I had finally decided to let God back in.

In my brokenness, I found humility and In my humility, I found strength. I discovered that I cannot walk this meaningful tragedy alone.

Since then, in times of introspection, I now understand the darkness and appreciate the light much more because of it. Like I said, my purpose in the days that I’m given on this earth, is to bring the light of truth to the lies of darkness. I went from a cave, living as a shadow in the dark, hiding from people who wanted good things for me, to a now, bright lighthouse on a hill, desiring to bring the light of truth to those who are caught in the fog of life. In other words, God has brought His glory to the tragedy of my story. My faith in the creator of the universe did exactly what I had hoped He would do.

Now a new question arises, “I thought you just said you didn’t want to be with God?” You’re right, I didn’t, but apart of me wanted to be with Him. My flesh of sin wanted to resist God, but my spirit of truth wanted to be with Him. Confusing, right? Paul, a traveling evangelist writes, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” What Paul is getting at, is this idea that we are sinners, yet we are saints. Why do I do the things I know I shant do?

This is the tragedy and glory: the tragedy of knowing the beautifully, sophisticated paradox that I am.

How do I solve the problem of self? Who am I? These questions lay dormant in the story that I live out day to day; in the scripts I write, films I create, words I choose to use. It’s the chaos within the cosmos; the wisdom to know that which I fully am and the strength to accept that fact of my enigmatic ways. David, the once King of Israel wrote, “For the inward mind and heart of a man are deep.” We, I, are Homo sapiens; man who ponders thought. The One who created thought, knitted the fabric of our very souls in the wombs of our mother’s. By the breath of His lungs and the fire of His spirit, He forged man and woman with the essence of His love.

The last part of tragedy is this: to know that we were meant for so much more in life, but our beautifully sophisticated, paradoxical selves chose (out of our own freewill) to live within not just the cosmos anymore, but also in the chaos. As humans, we were never supposed to endure the pains and sufferings of the lives that we now live in the chaos. We were called to live a life with the Creator of the universe in the cosmos. Now, there are bits and pieces of both beautiful divines that we experience day to day.

Faith and myself, the tragedy and glory. To know the meaning of my existence; the why for my sufferings, and the wisdom to understand that who I was, am, and will be, is precisely the way I should be. I am a conscious, yet beautifully sophisticated paradox that chooses to live within the chaos and the cosmos, to bring glory to my Creator, and tragedy to self.

For me to live is Christ, to die is gain. To live for Christ, means to die to self, so that He may bring His glory to my paradoxical tragedy.

This is my story, this is who I am. A conscious child of God, who is beautiful, sophisticated, and paradoxical; called to live my life in an intimate relationship with Him, so that He may use the tragedy of my life, to bring glory to Him so that all may see, so that all may know, who they too, are; a beautifully sophisticated paradox, living amongst the chaos and the cosmos, in need of a Savior, who brings glory to their tragedy.


So, I leave you with this, “Sooner or later we must distinguish between what we are not and what we are. We must accept the fact that we are not what we would like to be. We must cast off our false, exterior self like the cheap and showy garment that it is. We must find our real self, in all its elemental poverty, but also in the its great and very simple dignity: created to be the child of God, and capable of loving something of God’s own sincerity and his unselfishness.” Thomas Merton


I now challenge you to go out and discover for yourself, the truth and meaning to your life.

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