This is how it looks in my life. I size up a situation – a challenge one of my kids faces, a work project, the umpteenth effort to fix a leaky radiator – and my mind suggests, “For x, y, z reasons, this is not going to work. Don’t look there right now.”
I don’t want to be stuck, but what can I do. Simple logic tells me I am.
The Greeks prized human logic and analysis. They conquered the world and accomplished great feats by asking “What seems logical?” They were driven to find what is good, what is beauty, what is wisdom – all according to man’s logic and reason. Anything that didn’t fit was unwelcome.
Then come the Jews whose entire being revolves around a relationship with an unseen force. To the Greeks, this relationship and the commandments that informed it did not compute.
What’s the logic behind Shabbat - down time? Let me choose when and where I need down time. And certainly don’t tell me it requires I not turn on light switches.
What’s the logic behind circumcision - health? What if I feel the benefits don’t outweigh the risks?
What’s this unseen force? I see human effort and ingenuity.
Relationships, as my wife often reminds me, don’t thrive on logic alone. Whereas logic alone fills my drive to experience me, a relationship fills my drive to experience connection to something beyond me. One drive aborts the other.
I am blessed to be married to a special woman with whom I share much and who desires to know me, yet still inhabits a distinct world. Through logic alone, she will often look unreasonable, unreachable. While I sometimes enjoy drawing those conclusions (that I’m right and she’s wrong), they prevent my finding her. Remembering my drive and desire for relationship, I see the limits of my logic, my wife feels closer, and lo and behold my desire for relationship moves me closer to her.
There is a real and living Source behind life that wants to know me, but at times seems distant. Through logic alone, that Source seems unreachable and my life unnavigable. And here, too, despite the frustration it brings, there is something satisfying about my “rightness” (“see,” I say, “it is miserable”) but I remain alone. Remembering the limits of analysis, I awaken to a profound desire to connect. The world feels more hopeful and the Source seems near.
There was nothing purely logical about the Jews going to war. The Greeks had all the might, organization, weaponry. But the Jews’ desire to connect reminded them that there is something to connect to. Both we and our Source desire to connect. Both a husband and wife desire to connect. Both a parent and child desire to connect. We are not alone. The world is filled with connection when we don’t let our logic and analysis get in the way.