The Most Important Lesson of All to Learn from Today’s Adversities

No one can deny that we are living through some deep adversities at this pivotal moment in human and planetary history.  Is the universe trying to tell us something important that we may have forgotten in our agendas of taking over the planet, amassing untold weapons of mass destruction, denuding the earth of much of its forests and soil, dumping plastics and much else into the oceans, poisoning of our rivers and lakes, rendering extinct millions of other species? 

Heavy Canadian crude oil pouring from a defective Exxon pipeline into Mayflower, Arkansas, 3/29/13. Six years later, residents still experience health impacts – and the National Environmental Protection Act, designed to prevent such disasters, was rolled back in July 2020. Interpretation of the rollback is up to the courts. Photo: EPA

Bringing on a climate change that make seas warmer, bringing ever more intense hurricanes and wildfires, droughts and higher temperatures, and melting of sources of our water such as glaciers and creating mass migrations of human beings?  At the same time we witness the melting down of our political systems and anticipate the coming of more and more deadly viruses. 

I think the single most important lesson we can learn from all this chaos and loss around us is this: Not to take for granted.

Friendly wild whisky jacks, Strathcona-Westmin Provincial Park, Comox-Strathcona D, Canada. Photo by Joel Cross on Unsplash

When humans learn not to take for granted, they are becoming mystics again.  They are waking up to wonder and awe, gratitude and reverence.  The via positiva becomes real—and with it the energy to let go and do things differently.  Indeed, we learn not to take the via positiva for granted.

Following is a short list of things we are learning not to take for granted:

  • Healthy air (and with it blue skies)—both are in short supply when wild fires rage, spawning grey and smoky skies that are both a danger to breathe and ugly to behold.
“Humpback Whale Breaching” Image by skeeze from Pixabay
  • Clean, healthy water.  Being able to trust the water we drink is a great joy that our bodies respond gratefully to.
  • Wonderful animals and birds that sing, fishes in the waters, wild beasts and great whales, insects, bees and so much else that make for a happy, bountiful, and beautiful planet.
Pristine mountain stream. Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash
  • Thriving trees, plants and flowers provide a welcome home to birds and other critters while processing the air for us, delighting us with their beauty and diversity.
  • Forests that are communities for varieties of trees, plants, and sundry other creatures.
  • River, lakes and oceans that provide opportunities for multiple species to flourish and boast their beauty and swim and dance and enjoy life.
  • The holiness of all the living creatures of the planet.  Thomas Merton says “every non two-legged creature is a saint.”  Thus, we learn not to take for granted this company and communion of saints, this ecosystem into which humans have been invited after 13.8 billion years of unfolding and begetting and delighting in being alive.
The stars of Hamilton urge voters young and old to participate in the 2020 election. REGISTER TO VOTE NOW: Uploaded to YouTube by Hamilton.
  • Democracy can easily be taken for granted.  With the current political goings on, we learn that we can no longer take democracy for granted, but are called to preserve it by voting, critical thinking and much more.

All these wonderful lessons greet us in the midst of chaos and adversities.  Are we up to the task?  Future generations hope so.

See Matthew Fox, Original Blessing, pp. 31-172

Also see Matthew Fox, Passion For Creation: Meister Eckhart’s Earth-Honoring Spirituality, pp. 56-165.

Banner Image: “Stormy Waves.” Photo by Andrew Bennett on Flickr.

Do you find yourself learning to not take for granted amidst the death and loss and destruction all around us?  What follows from that?  How important are these lessons of not taking the via positiva for granted?

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2 thoughts on “The Most Important Lesson of All to Learn from Today’s Adversities”

  1. Avatar
    Clarity C Carlton-Martin

    Grace Grants Gratitude and begets our Sense* of the Beauty that surrounds us. I was reminded of this mass extinction in my yard .Many trees gone next lot over. Home to millions ants aphids wasps, now just concrete. To house automobiles.

    Yes we are losing our relatives in massive bites. In our lifetimes so many biomes gone.


  2. Avatar

    We can only hope that people learn from the wonderful lessons.
    Trust one another.
    Realize our spiritual essence.
    Understand our shortcomings.
    Mend our ways of behavior.
    Praise those who do all of these.
    TRUMP doesn’t do any of them.

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