"Human life is a struggle, isn't it?"
So begins the 7th chapter of the book of Job, as rendered by Eugene Peterson in The Message. This verse caught my attention as I peaked ahead at tomorrow's reading for September 15 in The Daily Message (his "Through the Bible in One Year" edition that I have somehow been able to keep up with.)
It seems to me that the psychiatrist Scott Peck stated this truth from Job more softly when he began his best seller, The Road Less Travelled with the statement:
"Life is difficult."
Perhaps the best way to make the point is to quote from the theme song for TV's "CHEERS":
"Making your way in the world today takes everything you got!"
For me, this is where the rubber hits the road for spirituality. What helps someone when they are running on 'empty'? Actually, I think spirituality begins with the realization that life is not all "wine and roses." Indeed, historian Thomas Cahill observes that "the history of the world is written in blood." So when the dark side of reality turns your world upside down, what gives you the strength to go on?
It is helpful to think about this definition from freedictionary.com for the word "spirit":
"the vital principle or animating force within living beings"
What cultivates that animating force in you? Your spirituality. And that's why I chose the title "Patchwork Quilt Spirituality." Like a quilt that helps us make it through the night, if your spirituality is not comforting in the face of life's struggles, it is of no practical use unless it works for you. And your spirituality doesn't have to be pretty or "systematic" -- a simple "patchwork" is good enough if it helps you survive life's alligators.
NOTE: When I served as the Executive Director of a 7-county community services agency and worked in a 'political swamp', I had a poster that cheered me;
It's hard to remember that your original goal was to drain the swamp...
when you're up to your ass in alligators.