Monday, March 10, 2008

You are what you are- not what you do (my and Tess' crappy health has me thinking a lot about this)

Today was another bad day for both of us, health wise.

We've been talking a lot about the way that one's occupation, health, etc., though we focus so much on them, really make up such a small part of what really matters in life.

Jobs come and go, so does health.  If we peg our entire view of ourselves on what we do instead of what we are, then such changes are catastrophic and we shatter.

These things are not the substance of our being, they're the expression of them.  This division between the innate nature of something and its external form or manifestation is called "substance vs. accidence"  in Aristotelian / Aquinan philosophy.

While generally I'm more fond of the Chinese philosophers than the Greeks... there is much truth here, and Tess and I have found it very helpful as our lives, vocations, and health have gone through so many transitions.

Just think about it this way- when water freezes... has it stopped being water?  When it evaporates, has it changed its chemical form or just its physical manifestation?

Likewise, when you stop having a job or your health... what makes you you hasn't changed, only the ways you [get to] express it.

I'm not saying this is easy for either one of us... I'm not saying we don't each have our moments when we want to- and do- scream at God over it.  But that's OK, God's a big boy, He can take it.

You are each you- not what you do, nor what you can't do.


SnarkAngel said...

Are you going back to the doctor???

Just Catie said...

The most horrible feeling in the world is to know what you are capable of doing on an intellectual and creative level, but to be unable to do that based on health, circumstances or other issues. If you had no hopes, no dreams and no creativity, you could be anyone and be oblivious to what you are missing. That we know we are destined for greater things but unable to move forward is painful, in and of itself.