The deep well that is the truth. I thirst for a drink out of this well. To draw near to its depths and to feel its nourishment. I know I will never reach the bottom of the well, but my desire is to draw near.
I’ve traveled most of the Western United States this past year. I have been enamored by its beauty and complexity. All around the country, I see the simplicity of people. Yet, I know that Pride is the enemy. Bitterness is a snake with a tight grip. In each conversation, I see the same thing in people’s eyes. A desire to know the truth.
What is that truth?
I want to find out.
So far, I have learned that people aren’t who you expect them to be. The desires of my romantic mind are not often shared, and I can’t expect them to be. I will not let my Pride corrupt my soul. I will not let my shame spread like cancer because the world has had enough of that. I want to see the Running of the Bulls, speak with the Wall Street Banker, see the inner workings of Washington D.C., and share a drink with a fellow traveler at Midnight. Why is it that in traveling our beautiful country, I feel that most of what we see is a facade? But sitting on the shores of Lake Tahoe, I hear the whispers of God.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand.”
I see the hints of eternity in the sparkles over the water. I feel that the beauty of Tahoe is a veil that will someday be lifted. A hint of something better that is still to come. I walk off the shores and go to a diner to grab a burger. As I walk up, I see an argument. A lady is telling a woman parking her bike to move away from the handicapped parking spot. My heart becomes angry. Why is it that we quarrel with each other over such small things? Why do we want to lord our power over people and project our shame? Can we not see that we are in paradise? But I am reminded that these feelings come from Pride and lead to bitterness if I am not careful. I silently forgive the woman in her car for her feelings of superiority. I wish she could see the paradise in front of her, but maybe it is not yet time.
The following week, I shared a drink in Tulsa with two travelers. We spoke about Dostoevsky and love. We didn’t agree on every point, but I tried to check my Pride. I tried to listen to their ideas with humility. I asked them what they thought would bring the world back together. They unanimously agreed,
“Conversations like these will bring the world together. Nobody has these conversations anymore.”
I see that familiar look in their eyes as they smoke a Malboro on the street corner. The desire to know the truth. We share this desire. I have learned to love the art of disagreement. Because I’ve never learned a lesson by looking at my own reflection.
All over the country, I find myself searching for the truth. Unfortunately, the things that I know for sure are few. I know that shame is at the root of nearly every problem. I’ve learned that there are more people in a prison of their own making than our government could ever incarcerate. Money can make you a slave, but the love of money comes from a single source. Shame. If we keep lying to ourselves about our shame, we will build the walls to our prison cell and mistake it for a mansion. I am still looking for the love that Jesus showed and will admit that it is difficult to find it in Church.
Last Sunday, I went to Church and listened to a Pastor in skinny jeans. He seemed to enjoy telling his sinful testimony as he highlighted that he slept with many women and was a millionaire before he was thirty. I’m sure it felt good to say to the congregation that he gave up his women and penthouse for his next successful venture. I tried to check my Pride but found it challenging to sit through. I have lost my appetite for the alter calls and hand raising. I have lost my desire to call an E minor the holy spirit. Instead, I find my spirit coming alive, looking out at the beauty of Tahoe. I see unity while sharing a Miller Light with strangers in Tulsa.
God, let me drink from your well. Let me find you. I seek you, so let me see you.