From My Bookshelf – Day 52

We’re afraid because there appears to be no truth. Except in the most superficial way, no one can agree on what “the realities” of any situation are or on just where meaning and importance lie. One voter sees a truth about a particular politician, yet to another voter the reverse is true. An obvious truth for one city or nation is not true at all for a neighboring city or nation. Within families, merely discussing what is true or important about the smallest of issues can cause deep division. During televised games, not only do fans and commentators disagree about what just happened, but, in addition, each camera angle reveals a different “point of view.” And in a trial, a witness will swear in the name of God that he saw something different than another witness. This apparent absence of truth makes “getting at” the truth a world-wide obsession, despite the fact that we feel a nagging doubt about almost any pronouncement we make or hear someone else make. 

“Truth” is the ground we walk on, yet it shifts beneath our feet. Countless truths lead to countless fears, and even the nature and value of fear itself is seen in contrasting lights. There is no final way to determine what a given fear means or what anyone should do about it. 


I think my life is a logical puzzle that I have only partly put together, so I spend my time moving around the pieces that don’t yet fit. If I can just get these remaining few to work, my life will come together. Yet even as I seem to set one or two more in place, the puzzle itself changes, and I have to begin again. 

As I look back on my life, I see that I never reached a point at which I said, “Everything is as I want it.” Nor do I know anyone who has. Clearly, the ladder we climb has no top. “Search but never find” is the only outcome this approach can have. 

In time’s long string of moments, stretching from one side into the recent and ancient past, and from the other side into the near and distant future, only the moment where we stand shines like the risen sun. Only this moment is eternal and indestructible. Only this moment encompasses everything real in brilliant perfection. God’s name is I Am, not I Used To Be, or I’ll See You Later. The door to heaven is open to us this holy instant, but at no other time.

Hugh Prather — Spiritual Notes to Myself (pp. 82-93)

Truth is one of the funniest things I’ve come up against. Everyone—and I do mean EVERYONE—assumes they are in sole possession of truth. Some hold more staunchly to their truths than others do, yet we all defend our truths with dogmatic fervor. I have learned through personal experience and witnessing plenty of others that religious, political, and national truths create the most zealous followers. How many of us know families ripped apart by religious differences? I have witnessed parent after parent willingly lose relationships with their children before loosening the grip they hold on their religion.

Two things come to mind: we’re all doing the best we can attempting to navigate our way through a life none of us are experts on. And, “truth” is one of the most personal and subjective things in the universe.

When someone attempts to shove their “truth” down your throat, no matter who that person is to you, be wary. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once said, “A submissive sheep is a find for a wolf.” And dealing with people who are fervent about their “truth” requires keener caution than anyone else.

When it comes to putting together the puzzle pieces of my life, it has been a long and arduous task, requiring innumerable miniature failures. Some days it felt like I was coming back to the drawing board to rehash the exact same problem for months on end. I woke up between 0430-0500 for months to wrestle with the puzzle pieces. When I got one to snap into place, another two or three pieces snapped out of place. It was a constant give and take. Even now, with my next occupation comfortably falling into place, I find myself still fitting different puzzle pieces together. It’s a never-ending process.

I don’t ever expect to come to any magical conclusions where I forever stake my claim on one specific truth. For me, MY truth is the consistent attempt to go beyond what I know. I will continue to learn and grow and apply anything I can to my ever-unfolding life.

I have plenty of people in my life—as do you—who are eager to share “their” truth with me and long for me to accept “their” truth as my truth. In the past, not knowing exactly what was true for me, I found myself trying on others’ truths until I wrestled with my own truth long enough to lovingly decline theirs. One thing I did learn, if you’re unsure about your own truth, there’s a long list of loving and unloving people eager to shove theirs down your throat if you let them.

What’s true for you?

Have a blessed day.

Peace and Love,

~Travis

 

 

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