Ever so often I stumble upon truth.
I’m surprised when it happens. Even when it comes during my normally prescribed meeting time with God.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I always expect truth when something of God is let loose in my life. But it’s when truth comes veiled as a ready response to questions I’ve just posed that I grow still with shock, as if I’ve just been caught with my hand in the cookie jar.
Just a few days ago, I wrote of my tendency to focus more of questions of doing. Not being. For “no matter how much time we devote toward self-knowledge, for now, we must be content to scratch the surface…”
What I didn’t know then, was that an answer I wasn’t looking for would come bounding into my world this morning, set loose long ago by Frederick Buechner’s pen, as it scratched out these few words on paper:
“…I believe that in sibilants life is trying to tell us something. The trees, ghosts, dreams, faces, the waking up and eating and working of life, are trying to tell us something, to take us somewhere. If this is above all a Christ-making universe, then the place where we are being taken is the place where the silk purse in finally made out of the sow’s ear, and the word that life is trying to speak to us is that little by little, squealing and snuffling all the way, a pig either starts turning into at least the first primal porcine version of a hero, or else is put out of his piggish misery. At the heart of reality — who would have guessed it?– there is room for dying and being born again.”
It was Buechner’s use of the phrases “sow’s ear “and “silk purses” that first snagged my attention. For as I acknowledged a few days ago, taking on sow’s ear projects with the hope of turning them into a proverbial silk purse has always been part of who I am.
Buechner scratchings invited me to scratch the surface of my own truth, to see that my doings, my deepest desires, reflect what I most long to become myself. It’s not just the untended gardens or untended houses that I wish to make silk purses. Underneath all the doings, it’s me that wishes to become the silk purse. I want the sow’s ear part of me to die. And like the renewal that comes with Spring and Easter, I wish to be born again as a silk purse.
It’s ironic that today’s prescribed med, from Buechner’s Listen to Your Life, was appropriately titled: Trying to Tell Us Something.