Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Atlas and the Weight of the World

The World’s Biggest Problem had just settled on my shoulders.

I felt at times like the old story of “Atlas” – where he is carrying the entire world across his back.

The Myth from ancient Greece goes as follows…
"Atlas was the son of Iapetus. Unlike his brothers Prometheus and Epimetheus, Atlas fought with the other Titans, supporting Cronus against Zeus. Due to Cronus's advance age, Atlas led the Titan's in battle. As a result, he was singled out by Zeus for a special punishment and was forced to hold up the world on his back."

What a history Zeus has! He is not the kindest God – or the most understanding. He treats people and other Gods that oppose his ideas and plans in cruel ways.

Now granted you need to read all the story in order to understand fully.

It seems that the idea and concept of Zeus has carried over to our present generation after all these years. We still view God as a powerful and as an “over lording being” that punishes us. We also take any weight that we carry in our lives as punishment for something we have done wrong. Pretty common to feel that way I am sure.

We have a phrase in English that describes it best – “He is carrying the weight of the world on his back.” That is a direct reference back to “Atlas” and his punishment.

First Step…
Yesterday I attended the “First Step” program at a local community run program that helps unemployed people begin looking for jobs. As I am eligible for E.I.(Employment Insurance) now Unemployment is part of my life… I was encouraged to attend.

(For those that are just reading or catching up for the first time in a while – I was laid off from our church because of a lack of funds)

As I entered the room, there were about 15 people sitting around the table. None of them were talking to each other. No one knew each other. All were there because of the fact they were without a job. All had lost their jobs for one reason or another. There was a heaviness to say the least.

I attempted to speak with one person. The reaction was very interesting – the person wanted to say nothing!

I realized very quickly that almost everyone in the room was hurting with the sting of losing a job…and their livelihood. Everyone either had rent or a mortgage to pay. Without a job we could lose it all.

The group’s leader, Barb, described what we were all feeling. “I know that losing a job after working so hard is depressing. We have all gone through this stage. I have lost my job in the past and know what you are going through.” That was it. The entire group was down – and “under the weight of the world” with the loss they had experienced. No one was going to talk or participate in any way because of what they were feeling.

There was little hope for any of us. We were all there to find some hope.

We had all been to the Government E.I. Office and had gone through the same thing – on a computer completing the 30 minute information and registration towards your application for E.I. When you were almost done the warning appeared on the screen – something about fraud and the severe warning that if you have scammed the Government – you were in BIG TROUBLE!

The guys at the Official Counter were kind but simply pointed you to the computers to fill out the registration. Then they informed me that I might get $413 dollars per week…but if I worked at any job the amount that I make will be deducted from the money that E.I. gives out…and Tax is deducted on top of that. Now I have worked for 39 years at this job and about 10 years before that…paying into E.I. every year… the full amount!

In the car that day as I was returning home – I cried deeply. I sobbed with a broken heart. I hate admitting this – but it happened. I had no hope left. Too old to do what I used to do – move to the other side of the country when one job is finished and another one is offered. That day in the car I broke down completely.

Now I can read and write. The man across the table yesterday – cannot. How did he ever do the Computer Thing at E.I.? How did he feel when he heard what the words on the screen said about fraud? No wonder he looked as if he was about to die. He said something about having three little kids and a huge amount of bills to pay…

Any Big Announcement is wonderful – but with it comes a new Weight of the World. I feel like Atlas for sure. And all you good people will already have noticed that the Photo of the Atlas Sculpture shown above – the dude is naked!

In this vulnerable position of “the Unemployed” you are naked spiritually and emotionally. In this state – you have nothing…not even Hope. “First Step” was designed to give Hope – or show you where you might find Hope.

But after preaching about God and what God does for people and how God intervenes for people who have No Hope… I am now listening to my own words. And the weight of the world is there.

An email… that came yesterday…stated in one part…
"Don't tell God how big your storm is, tell the storm how big your God is!!!!!"

Yes oh yes – oh yes – oh yes…!

~ Murray Lincoln ~


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Our Mailing Address is
Murray & Alida Lincoln,
925 Western Ave.,
Peterborough, Ontario, K9J 5W1.

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