25 March 2009
post #501: of truth and kissing the postman
This morning I put up my 500th post here. And rather than commemorating the event with some sort of missive of mass importance, I decided to do the opposite. (I really am turning into George Costanza…) I decided to be flippant and trivial, hoping that the triviality would quash any aggrandizing notions that I was carrying with me.
As soon as I posted it I was irritated at myself. I mean, seriously…what would Jesus drink? No harm in it, but really... I never want to be that guy that diminishes the weight and glory of the existence of Jesus into something that might make for a good 30 minutes on VH-1. It can be fun to contextualize, but I looked back and found the whole thing a bit slight. Still, I guess I succeeded in minimizing any weird pride I might have had in posting my 500th. Let’s move on…
So anyway, it all got me thinking… I started thinking about the weight of glory and the way that we all process Truth. I am not talking about “truths”, like if I go crashing out my office window right now I will be badly injured or I feel uncomfortable every time I am in a church with a fog machine. Those things are true, but they do not encapsulate “capital-T” Truth.
I sometimes wonder if I am beginning to see a trend in this life. Like, why do we yearn and seek and strive for all of the things we do? And why do we find joy and transcendence in the things that we do?
I am willing to bet that there are things/events/experiences in this life that stir up Truth within us. Just this morning, I got a call from my wife. I had installed a bird feeder outside on the deck. And I set it so that when one looked out the big windowed doors, they would be certain not to miss anything that may be fluttering around the feeder. And so my wife calls me and says thank you this morning. She opened the blinds and was greeted by a brilliant red cardinal right outside the window. I think, on some level, she found Truth in that experience. Some part of the beauty of Creation welled up within her and she was compelled to call and thank me. This is the Truth I speak of.
Others of you are into things that for whatever reason just don’t move me. Take live music for example. I enjoy live music. I like to go watch friends play at local places and I enjoy going to concerts every now and then. But nothing stirs within me around live music. For some of you, though, it does. You feel charged up as you walk into the club. Just the smell of the joint gets you going, the old wood-paneled walls stained by years of cigarette smoke, sweat, and power chords. Your heart might even begin to pick up as you think about it – discovering a new band that you’ll love, having the perfect drink to go with the perfect song, or just enjoying a night with its own unique soundtrack. I think that in there, in that experience, is some reflection of the Truth I speak of.
It just happens sometimes. Something stirs within us. Something speaks to us on a level that we didn’t know we even had. And the Source of that Truth is always the same. It is just the look of the cathedral that changes. The danger in any of those moments is that we make the glimmer of Truth into truth itself. The reflection is not the real thing. A bucket full of ocean water may smell like the ocean and taste like the ocean and be a composite reflection of the ocean – but it can never fully represent the ocean’s vastness and beauty.
Diminishing the glory and weight of Truth is what we do. Considering that bucket of ocean water as an ultimate, full picture is what we do. We find triumph in sports, a glimmer of the Source, a reflection of the Truth. Yet so many of us get so enraptured by sports that we make them ultimate, thereby denying the reflective value they had and failing to recognize that they merely point to a larger Truth. Live music is great. But we’ve all seen the 80 year-old guy drinking by himself at the bar while a band of 20-somethings plays. Somewhere he thought a life lived around live music was a great idea. Somewhere the Truth escaped him. We long for the beauty and joy in sex. When we take it out of context – when we make life about sex - we diminish its beauty. We end up promiscuous and lonely in practicing something that was intended for pleasure and wholeness. We end up wondering how something so good could leave us feeling so crummy.
Truth is out there. It is yearning to be recognized. And we miss it in the little things. It would be like watching a baseball player make a great catch and then applauding his glove as he tossed it on the bench between innings. Yes, the glove was involved, but it is not the Source of the greatness. It would be like getting a letter telling you that you’ve inherited $1 million dollars and kissing the postman and giving him half. He was involved, but he was only the delivery system. The postman was not the Source, not the originator of Truth.
There is something undeniable about the ways in which we are wired, each of us receptive to Truth in some unique fashion.
Truth is out there. We are all seeking it every day. And it isn’t like there is one Truth for me and a different Truth for you. We have simply been wired in such a way that Truth is able to be delivered through a myriad of unique pathways. Same letter, different postman.
So, here it is. Post #501. Maybe a bit too involved. Probably, despite my best intentions, a bit preachy. Still, I hope that we all look beyond the surface today. I hope we see Truth, no matter what form it presents itself.