God is in Control, Part 1

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When a friend learned I was spending most of my time at home, he correctly assumed I would have an increased amount of “free time.” To help me use that time productively he generously offered to enroll me in something known as “MastersClass”. MastersClass  is online classes covering a wide assortment of subjects such as, cooking, acting, playing tennis, shooting a basketball, photography, comedy and others. The instructors are professionals who have excelled in their area of expertise. The program is billed as “Learn from the Best. Anytime. Anywhere.”As I reviewed the courses being offered, I realized the benefit I could derive from enrolling in many of the studies.  It was a “no brainier.”  I moved fast and accepted his kind offer. 

Next, I sorted through the classes to determine the best place for me to begin.  Finally, I decided to simultaneously register for 2 classes. The first featured Malcom Gladwell.  The second was led by James Patterson.  While each would be a worthy “stand alone,” I thought there would be crossover benefit in working through both.  You know, two different views of the same subject. Both men were presenting a series of informal lectures covering the art/science of writing.  I am slowly navigating my way through the courses. The instruction has been as advertised--thought-provoking, useful and motivating.  

Much of the subject matter discusses what you would expect to find in a writing course: Discovering a subject that interests you, developing your original idea, tips on how to outline a story, engaging the reader, creating connections between words, sentence structure, use of humor, developing a vibrant and interesting plot, and so on. When completed the lectures are a comprehensive summary of the overall writing process.  

As I advanced through both series something caught my attention. I noticed a reoccurring theme.  Repeatedly Gladwell and Patterson returned to the importance of solid research.  They emphasized the need to dig deep into the subject and the characters, then encouraged me to dig deeper. Do your homework. Conduct interviews.  Explore. When possible visit a physical location to awaken your imagination.  Is there something going on “behind the scenes” that needs to emerge through the writing? Strive, the best you can, to understand your subject as thoroughly as possible. Also, they spoke of the importance to anticipate and answer the readers’ questions.

All that caused me to examine how my own thoughts progress.  Gradually I began to recognize a thought pattern that I have developed.  I want answers to every problem. The longer I thought about it, I determined I am not unique. Everyone wants answers to the predicaments we encounter. We want life to make sense. Think with me. Every news correspondent assigned to cover a tragic story first supplies us the details of the tragedy and what happened, but then the reporting seems incomplete without a demand to know whythe event happened.  Who is to blame for this awful calamity? How can we stop this from ever happening again? What can we do to make things right?

But real life is complicated and does not lend itself to simple explanations. Circumstances and events aren’t always possible to reconcile with our sense of justice. The truth is, sometimes we might never know why things happen.  Why do people suffer? Why are there terrible, destructive natural disasters?  Why do people act in ways that are damaging not only to themselves, ruining their own life, but also ruining the lives of people around them they love?  The list of questions seems never-ending. Often these questions lead us to what is in fact our fundamental question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  Hey that would be a great book title. 

Be honest. Aren’t we really asking, “Why does God (if He exists) allow these calamities to happen?” Experience has taught me that fervently chasing and demanding an understandable resolution when there is none becomes very dangerous with grave consequences. Good news. There is a surefire way avoid these pitfalls.

To be continued next time.

“Talk” again soon.

Kyle Aulerich