I am preoccupied by knowing truth, especially my own. But I wonder: Is it possible to fully know and understand our original true selves? And if not, how does one really follow that bit of Shakespearean advice – “to thine own self be true?”
Like a bunch of Greek worry beads, I move what I believe to be beads of truth from one end to the other. Back and forth they go, but so far, I’ve nothing to show for my effort. Not even less worries. I think I’m waiting for that proverbial lighting bolt to strike, so I can cry “Eureka,” then in a mad dash, grab some pen and paper to get it all down before I forget my discovery. It would be ideal to write about self-knowledge with a sense of direction rather than from this feeling of lostness.
Two of my worry beads are biblical sound bites from Jesus. The first is a promise — “And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” And the second, which is housed in another Gospel, so certainly not said in the same breath as the first, is this foregone conclusion, “Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” In some hard to express way, these two beads of truth sit together, one against the other.
This past January, I watched two of my grands on their last day of Christmas vacation. Jackson is a wise third-grader and his younger sister Karson is growing up fast — this coming fall she’ll begin kindergarten. Karson and I are ‘old’ pals, as I began watching her a few days a week from the time she was two. Our days then were filled with just everyday togetherness, a mix of chores and playtime activities that always included watching a series of favorite cartoons on afternoon television. And now, with both of them coming to visit, I chose to do nothing more than serve up the best dish of everyday life that a grandma can serve.
While we were watching cartoons together, Karson plopped down beside me on the couch, and without taking her eyes from the cartoon, kept scooting closer and closer, until her body formed itself next to mine. Still looking staight at the television set, I heard her whisper “I love you” in such a breathless rush, it was as if her love had just bubbled up out of her heart and slipped off of her tongue, as if her scooting had just jarred her words free. No big production, no thought of gain, no thought of holding back. Out came her love as natural as breathing, which I imagine may be something like the way love reigns in the kingdom of God.
As I sit muddled in my thinking on truth, it strikes me that Karson and I were just two beads of truth sitting close together that January day; Karson was the bead of trusting love, who hasn’t yet learned to be self-conscious in wearing her heart on her sleeve. And that makes me the wizened old woman, who knows truth when she hears it.
Every young child worth their salt knows that where love reigns, there’s always a happily ever after. And every wise grandma worth her salt knows when to surrender to love and give up the lost cause of knowing it all. Like Karson, I need to just freely share my love the truest way I know how. And stop worrying.