M. Rockmore is a personal friend of mine and has agreed to allow me to share something he wrote with you. He has been a huge supporter of my efforts to improve my writing and is one of the most intelligent people I know. I am proud to call him a friend and I hope you find this post as thought-provoking and honest as I do. Enjoy!
If you would like to write a guest post for No Cubicle Required, please email me your idea at rob.vanasco at gmail.com.
I recently had a conversation with an acquaintance of mine. He doesn’t believe in a god. We were talking at a bar he works at about my beliefs. I was trying to sort through his conceptions of “Christian” beliefs and my faith. Since I was introduced to him as, “This is Rockmore, he’s a Christian.”, I felt a responsibility to express what I actually believe and follow. So we went back and forth through philosophy and psychology and humanities discussing the concept of god. In a low point in the conversation he asked me, “Why do you do it? Are you that stuck on heaven?”
He caught me off guard.
Of course my way of life is not just a means to get me out of hell and into heaven when I die. But this is what he presented. This was the impression he got from Christians (myself included). That we do what we do so that when we die we can go to heaven. So I want to put it out there, that I am not a follower of the Holy Spirit and Jesus and God so that I can get into heaven. And this is my best attempt at defending my life decisions.
Rest In Peace. The phrase conjures images of gravestones and funeral wreaths. Priests reciting last rites and family members mourning and eulogizing. It is a phrase we reserve for people who have died. We pray that they will rest in peace as if on this earth it was impossible, but hopefully whatever comes next will be peaceful for the departed. For me the phrase rest in peace is not just a blessing for a soul no longer with us, but a calling, a dream, a goal, a blessing for us at any moment in our lives. If we had the opportunity to rest in peace in each moment of our earthly lives why would we not? The Spirit of God has called me to do exactly this. And He has called you to do the same. Rest in peace.
I don’t have to convince you that this is not a peaceful place to live. The earth is seemingly perpetually in turmoil. I could point out the wars, dirty elections, murders, rapes, cold blooded attacks, child abductions, and robberies that happen every day; but I’m no trained journalist and your local newspapers need the money. So lets leave that be, and still we have earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, tidal waves, global warming, zombie uprisings, sinkholes to deal with. So I’ll put that aside for now also and say this: at base the human soul/mind complex is not a peaceful place to be. Living in your own skin is not peaceful, we have decisions to make, stressors to consider, relationships to maintain, appearances to keep up, needs to provide. It’s a busy place man. My mind on a Monday morning is no place to rest in peace. We find ourselves each morning with this outstanding, breathtaking planet to live on yet there is no rest in sight. Each day we must fight for ourselves, our families. We fight to get ahead at work, we fight to keep our homes, we fight to stop injustices in the world around us. And so, we hope that when we die, we will be able to finally rest, in peace.
Then God reveals Godself.
Jesus came so that there may be peace for humans (1 Timothy 2). So that humanity may share in the peace and love of eternity. So Jesus proclaims He is spreading life, and enabling people to live life more abundantly (John 10), and that it is available for all who will believe it (allowing that many will not). To hear this call is unbelievable, foolishness, to those who don’t/won’t believe. But for those who surrender, who give in, who relinquish the pursuit of earthly peace, their lives are filled with peace.
I think my acquaintance sees it as me giving up my life and trading it for heaven. I think a lot of Christians present it that way. But it’s not that way. I don’t give up doing what’s fun, what I enjoy, what fulfills me, my passions, desires and because I have lived piously I get to spend eternity in heaven. What it looks like for me is that when I relinquish my pursuits of earthly peace, I get to enjoy real peace. When I stop thinking, “If I can present myself this way…If I can get this job, this degree, this acceptance…If I can spin this story this way…If I can get this published…THEN I will have peace, I will be alright, safe, accepted.”
Life is not a trade. You’re existence is nothing to barter with. You are not in a preprogrammed If/Then statement. Peace is a gift, both in this part of life and the next. And you can’t experience the benefits of a gift if you’re still working for it. We experience real peace when we accept that we can’t achieve it, it must be given.
God, heaven, Jesus, the Spirit of God, are not my light at the end of the tunnel. They are the light that I have been graced with the privilege of journeying alongside while in the tunnel. The Spirit of God provides peace through every aspect of my life. When it’s a struggle to rest in peace, He arrives and provides the peace that I’ve been striving for. The peace that only comes when I know that no matter what situation I’m in right now I’m loved, that nothing can count against me (or for me), that I haven’t ruined it all (or achieved it all).
Eternal life starts now, not when you die. Rest in peace today.