Schrödinger’s Cat: Uncertainty & the Life of the Soul
The biopsy was on Wednesday. The results would not arrive until Friday. In the meantime, I existed in a space where I could be healthy or sick. Many have heard of “Schrödinger’s cat” – an illustration of a quantum mechanics concept. The hypothetical image was of a cat in a chamber with a radioactive substance and poison. Schrödinger painted such a graphic image in an effort to illustrate a perplexing state: until the cat can be observed, it can be considered simultaneously both alive and dead.
The time between examination and diagnosis leaves one waiting for the chamber to be opened to reveal reality. Until reality can be seen, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead; the mass can be considered both cancer and benign cyst.
But there is One who already knows the reality – knows what will be found when the chamber is opened, observable. In Luke 12:22-32, there is a well-known passage that Christians often turn to when we’re worried. The Message version includes the paraphrase, “People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.”
A momentary crisis can quickly remind you of your own mortality. John Wesley experienced this when he was five years old. The family parsonage in flames, family members helplessly looked up to see John trapped upstairs. Community members created a human ladder to rescue him. He was physically saved by people and went on to assist in the spiritual rescue of people.
Your life is lived out in that space between the temporal and eternal. Every person exists in the space between. While we may all feel caught or suspended in uncertainty like Schrödinger’s cat, at least we are Schrödinger’s cats together. Our “God-reality” is that even in the middle of profound uncertainty, we live in community. My community prayed, encouraged, and when the diagnosis finally came, celebrated with me: benign!
Steeping yourself in “God-reality” means reflecting, like Wesley, on how God saved you, and finding ways to use that to serve others.
What has God saved you from? Who has God saved you for?
Featured image courtesy Georgi Benev via Unsplash.