• Eve of Destruction at the edge of the abyss

Eve of Destruction at the Edge of the Abyss

I thought I would write a light and cheery article to put everyone in a good mood. Hmm, do you think my featured image and title are too somber? The lady in the picture reminds me of Dante’s Beatrice. His work was considered a Divine Comedy but was far from light or cheery. Indeed, it begins near the eve of destruction at the edge of an abyss. Perhaps my sarcasm has confused you. No, this is not a light and cheery tale. My struggle is because I am a glass-half-empty kind of person. I write this to myself and others who believe the eve of destruction is near, and the edge of the abyss is closer. But like Dante, I hope to cheer you up and show you that things will improve someday.

I found a photo of a wood carving that was supposed to express a dire situation. The trees have no leaves, and the damsel has no safe way forward. A raven is near her. Despite this symbolism of an abysmal situation, I darkened the image and gave it an orange and red appearance to make the mood more bleak. I wanted to create an atmosphere closer to how I often feel. My goal is not to make you feel bad. I am not trying to warn you to change course like usual. Instead, I want to equip you to get through the bleak times.

Change our focus

I get depressed when I issue a warning but receive little or no reaction. I must remind myself of John Quincy Adams, who said: duty is ours, results are God’s. As I said, my goal is to equip you to get through the bleak times. It is important to change our focus. As Robert J. Morgan wrote, “Realize that God means for you to be where you are.” Even if you are in a difficult place, God may have put you there or allowed you to be there. God told Moses to place the Israelites where they would be trapped between a mountain, the desert, and the sea. Then, the Egyptian army rushed towards them. Yet, God provided a way for the Israelites’ salvation from the Egyptians.

I recently watched Shawn Ryan’s YouTube interview with Christian Craighead.  At the 7-minute thirty-eight-second mark, Christian describes his childhood. This great hero, who played a crucial role in the saving of 700 hostages in Nairobi, Kenya, believes his difficult childhood helped equip him to save those lives years later. I realized we don’t all have to be highly trained military officers who have overcome treacherous situations like Christian Craighead. Nor do we have to be heroes like Moses or John Quincy Adams. Just remember, when you think you are at the eve of destruction and the edge of an abyss, be more concerned for God’s glory than your relief.

Finding Our Purpose

Thank God for those heroes. Thank God for people who find their purpose and survive the eve of destruction at the edge of the abyss. I can’t tell you how to find your purpose. Judging from the people I’ve mentioned, it is a painful process. I also believe it is a divine process.

This brings my thoughts back to the author of The Divine Comedy. Dante was a political exile. He lived in Medieval Times and was aware of many evil things. Dante remembered a neighbor girl from his youth. Her name was Beatrice. He made her the main character and hero who, from Heaven, commands the spirit of the philosopher Virgil to lead Dante from Earth through Hell and then through Purgatory until Dante reaches her at the edge of Heaven. Is it a true story? Of course not! But it is an excellent story of a man who lost his purpose and finally found it. May we all find our purpose.

Here are some lines from Dante that inspire me.

Dante’s Paradise, translated by Anthony Esolen

Canto One – Dante and Beatrice are at the threshold of Heaven. She explains to him that it is the nature of the human soul to rise. Here are the first 12 lines of this beautiful poem.

The Glory of the One who moves all things

penetrates the universe with light,

more radiant in one part and elsewhere less:

I have been in that heaven he makes most bright,

and seen things neither mind can hold or tongue

utter, when one descends from such great height,

For as we near the One for whom we long,

Our intellects so plunge into the deep,

memory cannot follow where we go.

Nevertheless what small part I can keep

of that holy kingdom treasured in my heart

will now become the matter of my song.