“The fit was perfect. The people looked. And looked. And looked. Some frowned. Some smiled. Some even laughed. And some cried. And they began to understand. Time passed and upon the beautiful land the trees climbed like ladders to the stars, the waters shone like mirrors, and the people saw their beauty. A breeze stirred and they heard its music. Tiny truths fell by day and night, gentle as the rain and snow, and the people found them and kept them in their hearts. And slowly, as the people met other people different from themselves, they began to see…themselves.”
– Old Turtle and the Broken Truth by Douglas Wood
There are two distinct types of readers. The first type are the reason click bait is so successful. You, who inadvertently crown the author a philanthropist, naively crafting the comforting womb of self-righteousness for those who were born to be a rolling stone.
The rest of you have depth enough for choir robes.
To be fair, I’ll state the obvious and recognize here that we’ve all found ourselves guilty and/or virtuous of both. So, let’s proclaim the playing ground level and be very honest.
Whether you henceforth regard me Star Mag or Simone de Beauvoir is of no consequence because, while “dying to self” may at first sound like the twitchy cliché of Christian-ese, it’s still the only answer. It’s the only way to live that keeps my heart beating steadily. The only way that allows me to breathe. I can no longer deem myself more morally sound than milk-in-the-back-candy-bars-up-front superstores, despite that they do always seem to have everything I need in between. But, alas, I am lost because I have strayed.
If you’ve ever had a real encounter with God (stay with me!)…the real One…you’ve glimpsed the kind of humility necessary to experience a fulfilling, conscientious life that is only found in the supernatural. The unexplainable. And, to be clear, I’m not eluding to anything outside of the one obvious difference between the human race and the baboon. A soul. Free will. The power to recognize, and ultimately choose, right from wrong. The utter terror of, and disdain for, death. The one picture nobody has ever nor could ever satisfactorily paint in words. In any language. It’s always somehow incomplete. And, Lord knows, we’ve tried.
Keep your towering cities, grand plans of financial comfort, and ubiquitous Get-Happy-Quick schemes. Whomever you are, if you haven’t really faced the reality of your mortality as a human being…if you haven’t put in long hours quietly contemplating the real reason everything is so temporary here…you are either a robot or the walking dead. And you most certainly are missing out.
I believe it is our duty as humans, as leaders, followers, thieves and liars to never cease our search for Truth. Not in one another, but despite one another. I’m referring to the perfect yet difficult and broken Truth. Even if we only have a morsel left on this earth to discover, a morsel of Truth is worth infinitely more than a lifetime of deceit and chosen ignorance. I believe, deep down, whether you live in a cardboard box or a penthouse on 5th Avenue, you are fully responsible for determining why you are here at all. And that the faster you run from that reality, the tougher life is for you, regardless of your bank balance, reputation, or position of authority.
I beg you to go sit under a tree and give it five minutes of serious reflection. If five minutes doesn’t turn into more and you ultimately deem it a waste of time, so be it.
I suppose I originally named this article for the point I thought I would be making – a point which, if my underlying precept were actualized, would take care of itself. (I’ll view it as an encouraging sign that the path I’ve been wandering is finally straightening out, but not because of anything I’ve done except learning from the detours.) My first thoughts as I thought up a clever title was that we are robbing our children the nourishment we are meant to give when we are not honest with ourselves, when we are too arrogant to say we’re sorry and admit when we’re wrong. And, somehow, I know that for myself I may have never learned this so deeply until I became a mother. So my intention was to paint a picture from the perspective of a parent. But the reason our kids touch us this way is because we can’t really understand Love until we understand the overwhelming desire to put someone else first and then choose to put in the almost unbearably hard work required to cultivate it. For whatever reason, for some of us, this only seems to be realized when we become parents. But I know there are some of you who will read this and understand that every person who crosses our path is an opportunity to learn from and teach about Love. Each encounter can be a step closer to finding and recognizing the Truth. I believe it is not only something that can be found, but something we are meant to find.
Love is not easy. It means responsibility and honor and integrity. Most of us are prone to wander our own way with the ridiculous notion that we can do it ourselves. But each of us have experienced that moment – that terrifying blink of clarity when we are made acutely aware of our own vulnerability. It is terrifying.
So I’ll be here, praying for a miracle. I’ll be striving to become the miracle or find a miracle somewhere every day. Because I, like you, am in need. And I’ll hope that you will be found to be a miracle for someone else and feel the glow and warmth of Heaven we can have right here. Just enough to keep us striving for the biggest picture. And I’ll be learning right by your side.
Peace be with you.