The blogging world that I frequent has been presenting blogs about "things" or "Truths" we know for sure. Most are captioned "10 things I know to be true."
I want to play along but I think I am going to do this in series! There is the Time involved and mix in a little humiliation because, quite frankly, I am not really sure I know 10 things for sure!
Socrates said "an unexamined life is not worth living"? I swear, my life is nothing if not self-examined and over-self-examined, but I have never counted or made a list of "Truths According to Toni" or entitled a journal, "Toni's Universal Truths!" Though I confess that my ego and I are quite tickled at the idea of a little leather tome with just such a title etched in gold leaf on itselegant little spine! I would publish it in a New-York-minute if I wasn't so sure that the magnus opus of my life would just sit unsold and un-dusted in a clearance book store at the far side of some factory outlet mall.
Maybe I could talk my friend Brooke into placing it into her library at school and conduct a "token" check-out once a month for the sake of my image to my descendants! (Does one's ego burn up in the cremation process or will it linger about for a century or two still seeking external validation?)
Toni's Universal Truths: These things I know to be true.
1. There is a God.
Frank and I were driving through the mountains last weekend listening to a CD from his repository of inspiring presentations. (digression: (which will be one of the universal truths for me but don't know where on the list) We always take talk-CD's for inspiration, yellow pad and pen for notes, soda on ice to stay hydrated and a loaf of good bread, grapes, cheese and maybe little chipotle chicken strips to keep the growling tummies from interferring with discussions)...so, anyway...
Frank and I, still driving and listening, when the speaker reminded us of the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's comment during his flight through space, "I don't see any god up here...". I pushed the button to stop the CD and looked at Frank. He looked at me. Both of us, profoundly saddened by such a statement and the poverty of spirit!
Neither of us can imagine, floating in space, thousands of miles above the earth, surrounded by the dark and stars and wonder...how could one NOT see God!!!
Our old friend, Pastor Jim Ledbetter, once told me if you don't believe in God there is nothing anyone can show you that will make you believe but if you believe in God, everything you see is proof that God is real. I truly see the hand of God in almost everything I see.
What is real? Definition: "real, noun, realm of actual or practical experience as opposed to theoretical, abstract or idealized realm." Do I believe that somewhere there is a throne in heaven and a male-being with a long white beard is sitting there? No, absolutely not, but have I had actual and practical experience with God, hell yeah! Okay, maybe I could have said that better, but I KNOW and BELIEVE with everything in me that a Universal Spirit of unimagined intelligence and passion exists.
There is a God. This much I know to be true.
2. There are Universal Moral Truths.
Truth is not something that should be voted on nor should moral laws. While some things or notions can be declared to be the truth my majority of voters or critical mass or 100th-Monkey-thinking there are some things that are flat out not open for interpretation or relevence.
I feel my whole body slipping back in time now, being drawn back to Ethics class in college (ah, those were the days, oops, digression! ). Ethics: Critical Thinking? Just Wars? Theory of Value? Morality? Yes, that's it, Morality? Are there universal laws ruling morality? I say, again, Hell yeah!
Swept back in time, I sit in the classroom, the heavy, emotional, discussion is about defining morality. How do we define what is moral and what is not? Majority of the students were, apparently, die hard believers in the values of democracy. Opinion was majority rules on what is right and what is wrong? "Is prostitution moral?" "Is rape moral?" Popular opinion in the classroom that evening: What does the majority think? Well, excuse me, who is the majority in any given situation? In a world of 200 sailors, home from years at sea and a village of 20 women and children what do you think the majority is going to vote for?
I tried to explain to class that there has to be a universal moral truth that surpasses democratic principles of voting and majority rules.
In a skilled nursing facility you will usually find a demographic ratio of 30 percent (give or take) Medicare, 60 percent Private Pay and, hopefully (bottom-line-ese) not more than 10% Medicaid/MediCal/Welfare patients. In such an environment the Majority of residents would be paying privately or through insurance. If a vote is taken as to who's call bell should be answered first, the majority might suggest that money talks and money provides privilege. The residents paying their way should get first call (according to last Wednesday;'s vote) but what if the private pay resident just wants someone to fluff a pillow for them or hand them a phone or their knitting and the resident in the non-out-of-pocket-minority of voters is in desperate need of assistance to the bathroom? Morally, who should be served first?
Lets say you desire to get out and dance a little, drink a little, score a little and your dependent child is hungry, dirty, sleepy, or just wants you to hold them? Is there a universal moral answer to this dilemma?
There exists Universal Moral Truths. This much I know to be true.
3. If there is a Heaven it will have Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia in unlimited supplies. This much I know to be true.
4.The spoken and written language is inadequate when it comes to true communication.
Love cannot be described in "real world" terms. When an expectant mother feels that first stir of movement in her womb, an emotion that has been developing (good choice of words, huh?) with the baby reaches a level of intensity that threatens to sweep mother away. How can one describe the intensity of emotion with the mere word "LOVE!"
I love lasagna! I love autumn! I love homemade clam chowder in a sour dough bread bowl! Okay, the word love kind of works there. But I LOVE Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia just falls short. Doesn't quite tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
How can I use that tiny word to pronounce the depth of emotion when holding my husband in my arms in the wee hours of the morning, or when he is teaching one of our granddaughters about clouds or photography?
When I witness a mother giggling with her daughter or a father smiling at his young son as they throw a softball back and forth? LOVE falls short, way too short.
The profound emotion that surges from your heart the very moment your newborn baby utters her first sounds? Can this emotion be described in words?
The consummate grief one feels at the loss of a loved one? Can you tell me in words just how much this hurts?
Psalm 46:10 states (more or less, I am not that good with Aramaic to know the original statement): "Be still and know that I am God."
"Knowing" is very much a way of being still, being passive and letting the truth come to you, allowing the knowing to fill you up. Communication is only part spoken or written word. Communication is about communion.
The spoken and written language is inadequate when it comes to true communication. This much I know to be true.
to be continued: