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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Do Tragedies Really Come In Threes?

Our culture infiltrates our spirituality more than the other way around, I suspect.
After hearing a friend cite the phenomenon of recent challenges as “first,” “second,” and “third” I found myself thinking that way, too. After all, bad things happen in threes, don’t they?
Then the Holy Spirit goaded me back from such useless speculation into a more logical frame of mind. A superstition—almost by definition—is a fanciful wish or fear that has no basis in truth. It’s accommodated by an extravagant imagination. (We all have one of those.)
So, why would we allow our lucky-dip mentality to influence us?
The point is, we do. We are often unwarily duped in the subtleties of this very phenomenon—believing in fate, when there is no such thing in the Court of Truth.
The tragedy of the threes is a travesty. It’s a sham we are lulled into believing when we hear people relay their bad fortune, or when we choose a pessimistic outlook.
Choosing a Reflectful Present
Rather than bothering about the concerns of our recent past—the things in our past week or so that haven’t gone well—we are better off just reflecting within our present moments.
When we have disconnected the extraneous connections of our imaginations, we are much better placed to accept events as they occur simply as events that occur.
Whilst there are always situations where coincidence may be apparent, there are just as many situations that appear as completely random. Why do we search for the pattern in things and make more out of something than there needs to be? Sure, if there is a clear pattern by way of the evidence we would be foolish not to take heed. We have to be objective.
But comparatively rarely is there a pattern. Or, if there is a pattern it may not be a very important pattern. But, then again, we ought to give good credence to the significant patterns we need to heed.
Being Accountable to the Truth
This is our Gospel opportunity: to be accountable to the truth.
If we are ready to present before the Court of Truth at any time, and within any circumstance, we will judge coincidence and fate and the tragedies of threes for what they are. If they have basis we work with them. If they have no true basis or connection we reject them.
***
Believing in the tragedies of threes—“bad things happen in threes”—as well as other superstitions—undermines our faith, which needs to be based in the truth. Bad fortune doesn’t happen in threes. But perhaps we want to see the pattern of threes.
Taking good fortune with bad without superstition is the exercise of maturity and the practice of faith. Adhering to truth is wisdom, especially in the presence of a temptation to believe in fate. Truth can be relied upon; fate cannot.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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