Penitence

Day sixteen of the ‘Blogging from A-Z Challenge’. There is something almost penitential about what I have been doing over the last month. Trying to work with my unusual hand has been a way of denying myself. Life has basically been too easy as a right-hander and it is time to pay the piper. I need to atone for my sins if not for those of all mankind.

I would not regard myself as a religious person.  It is odd though in that what gave me the theme for the challenge was a book about religion, about a man trying to live in the way that a book tells him to, a book that has shaped the world in which I live much more deeply than I think that I have realised.

If asked I say I am secular, certainly agnostic and probably atheist yet I believe deeply in the value of the human spirit.  I feel that doing the right thing, fairness and equality contribute significantly to who I am.  My belief system is quasi-religious yet I don’t subscribe to any faith or kneel before anyone, God or man.

To me God fills the space beyond our comprehension.  It is a small word that fills a great void.  Every day we learn something new that pushes back the boundaries of His (Her, Its?) realm yet every day we come to realise that there is so much more to learn.

I have been living my life in ignorance.  I’ve been living a lie, carrying on as if the entire world is right-handed and that those who choose a different path are just being difficult.  Yet self-deception and false beliefs are the origins of the human mind.  I am trapped by my own history and perceptions.  I’ll become a better person on the back of my left-handed experiences.

Denial is a fundamental part of the human condition.  I don’t mean to deny as in disagreement or denouncement as in I deny that something exists but rather as in self-denial, to sacrifice our own wants or needs.  Self-denial allows us to show moral character and strength of purpose whether it is the ability to refrain from another cream cake or to take a vow of celibacy.  It lifts us from our base animal form to being higher, more sentient beings.  Those of high moral worth are able to refrain while those of lower standing give in to the desires of the flesh.

Denying myself the easy-handed option is a way of atoning for my sins and wrongdoings.  It allows me to reflect on my ways and be repentant and contrite.

Jesus said ‘If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  I’ll ignore the likelihood that the cross did not become a symbol of Christianity until after his death and instead focus on how this has been interpreted.  To reach our true fulfilment we need to reject the natural human inclination toward self.  Our own pleasures and happiness can no longer be primary goals and we should no longer pursue wrong desires.

I just hope everyone appreciates the effort.

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