Just got home yesterday from our 49th wedding anniversary celebration, a cruise to our 49th State of Alaska. Long before its statehood, of course, Alaska was purchased by the United States back in the year 1867. Russia needed money to supply its Army in the Crimean War, so we got a big discount!!! Sue and I were married in 1967, on May 27th of that year, and had saved our money for this trip that would include a helicopter ride to walk for about an hour, 30 minutes longer than our actual wedding had been, on Alaska’s Meade Glacier last week. On May 27th. Meade Glacier is itself a place of extraordinary beauty which, if on anyone else’s bucket list, must be visited within the next 49 years….assuming it is then even large enough to land a helicopter on https://glacierchange.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/meade-glacier-rapid-retreat-1986-2014-alaska/.
An Alaskan cruise, I will now testify, is an experience for the body-mind-soul Trinity in which we are made in that same image as God’s body (Jesus)- mind (Father)-soul (Holy Spirit). Some of you know for yourself that cruise ships supply a great many bodily temptations when it comes to food. Food cravings within our bodies can, upon a cruise ship, drive the mind to choose foods such as ice-cream now rather than later for dessert. Which is when you can then choose the pie and cake to go along with that additional ice cream. Instant gratification is the norm on a cruise ship. If the sight and smell of pizza, or anything else, should trigger a craving, the temptation is to eat it now. Anytime. Twenty four hours a day one can get another slice of pizza or another dip of ice cream on Carnival’s “fun ships.”
In my own experience, food was often on my mind last week as my body’s cravings drove me to choose instant gratification daily. It was, for me, a time of Temptation on Steroids.
At the same time, my mind was quite aware of a very different reality. This one was coming from my soul. Offering me a very different option, mostly involving the learning about glacial carvings. That’s right. Carvings. The appreciation of how in God’s creation by means of evolution glaciers of ice are used to carve mountains and fjords and canyons and to produce rivers, beautiful waterfalls and such over a period of many years. Delayed gratification.
All this beauty to be experienced as a result of carvings.
Glacial ice doing its evolutionary miracle over many millions of years. Wow!!!!!! It was as if all that lay beyond the cruise ship itself was drawing me to the postponed gratification of carvings. Not driving me as my body’s food cravings did. Not shouting at me with the word “now” but rather whispering to me with the word “then.” Not my body seeking to take control over my mind, but my soul offering to give influence within my mind. Not my own cravings, but God’s carvings.
And so in my mind there was this question to ponder. Should I choose to be driven in this life by my body’s cravings or drawn by my soul’s carvings? Should I make my decisions based on the body’s information or my soul’s extremely different information? Shall I choose instant or delayed gratification?
For me this wasn’t just a mental choice between the ship’s buffet line vs. the theater where a naturalist was teaching about the glaciers beyond the ship. This was a choice between what the Bible itself refers to as man’s ways vs. God’s ways. Perhaps you are familiar with such verses as Isaiah 55:8 that read: “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.” Or this one from Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” And then from I Corinthians 3:19, we read, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”
So I began to think about the words of a former Alaskan governor, “Drill, baby, drill!!” About the instant gratification that comes from drilling for oil in order to turn a profit in the fossil fuel industry. We can meet this quarter’s projections for shareholder profits is we just apply more fracking, more drilling, more mining for coal or whatever. After all, fossil fuels are like a ship’s buffet line waiting to be exploited. Now!!! Cravings that drive us. Cravings that lie to our minds about cause and effect. Cravings that question what difference it makes anyway if the heart attack comes 10 years earlier or the glacier melts 1000 years earlier than otherwise. That’s a long way off. Who cares?
Again, in my own mind, there is this question to ponder. Should I choose to be driven in this life by my body’s cravings or drawn by my soul’s carvings? Instant or delayed gratification? Look out for me, me, me, or for those who will want to see these glaciers in future generations? Our ways or God’s ways. Cravings or carvings?
Death or life?
It’s my decision to make as I journey through this world. And it’s your decision as well. It’s the work of the human mind in relation to our body that drives and our soul that draws. One informs in shouts and the other informs in whispers. Our minds must make our choices that determine our consequences. It’s what happens along our cruise through this life.