Thursday, July 05, 2012

Willing Suspension of Disbelief... for the Moment

English: Reproduced signature of poet Samuel T...
English: Reproduced signature of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. ...Photo credit: Wikipedia
I've always been an avid reader, and being able to escape into a great book is often the most satisfying, rewarding part of a day stuck at home with chronic migraine disease.--Diana Lee-Somebody Heal

If you or someone you care about suffers with a chronic illness, then you know that whatever can bring escape for even a moment is a blessing. A well-told story can enrich a moment and, perhaps, many moments and days ahead. Many of us like what might be called "the escapist genre" of writing, which includes mysteries, adventures, and more.

While my husband and I were dating in college, he introduced me to the phrase, "the willing suspension of disbelief for the moment," coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The willing suspension of disbelief is what we do when watching something out of our world on TV or getting caught up in science or fantasy fiction. We suspend our sense of disbelief or suspicion about the reasonableness of what is happening in the story. We do this when a tale catches us up in the lives and events we never thought possible. 

What I like about these kinds of stories is that coincidence is vindicated. Strange coincidences do happen. Some people call them God-instances, if they have the quality of divine intervention. Even some true stores, then, require us to suspend disbelief and, thereby, suspicion. We accept what is true.

My husband's work with refugee and human migration issues took us to Geneva, Switzerland for ten years, and I found disbelief impossible, as we witnessed many amazing people and events in the face of world crises. On one of our first Sundays there, we heard a new arrival tell about her experience going from Somalia to relative safety in Sudan. During terrifying and frantic moments, she and her husband became separated and were apart for days when a truck saved her and others by taking them into Sudan.   

She could find no one on the truck or in the camp where she was dropped who knew what had happened to her husband. No one had seen or been with him. She began to fear that he was dead.

Somehow, in the middle of a transfer at an area far from home, as she was getting out of the back of a truck, she heard a voice that she recognized. It was her husband's voice. She called out. He followed her voice. They found each other. 

This woman still marveled that among the thousands of people in the same situation as they were, with so many comings and goings over the long time of separation, by different routes, they had found each other not only in the same over-crowded place but within sound of the other's voice.

Like the refugees who could not escape the wars or persecutions that drove them out, there are certain troubles we cannot escape, Yet, God is patient. He wants us to call upon His name. Hard times hit everyone, yet many come through those valleys much different from others who refused to hope, trust, or even care about God. What's more, what we cannot bear, the Lord lifts onto Himself, as we trust willingly. He shares our load.
Copyright (c)2012 Opinari Writers
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