What Can We Really Know?

What can we really know about life itself and what does it really matter?

It seems like we spend our lives trying to discover something that we only have a vague idea about in the first place.

Some days it seems like life really has a purpose and everything is falling into place. Other days are the opposite. Nothing seems to work or go right. Just when we think we have it all figured out, life throws us a curve ball.

Spent the late morning Sunday in the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Winston-Salem. Had a $100 gift certificate that needed to be spent and today seemed like the day to do it. We meet for church at 5 pm so this schedule leaves time during the day to do a little more than just read the paper and take a nap.

Anyway….after finding an African music cd, I went to the poetry section to see if something jumped off the shelf at me. Having the Spanish language on my mind, I naturally thought of Federico Garcîa Lorca. It turned out I was thinking of Octavio Paz, but that’s another story.

So I buy Lorca’s selected poems and within the first few sentences of the introcduction, the translater tells me that Lorca’s major theme is the impossible: the melancholy conviction that all of us have certain indefinable longings that cannot be satisfied by anyting around us. That to Lorca, the essence of poetry is mystery and “mystery” means that language can only point at, and never adequately name, what it is that we want.

So I am sitting in my easy chair reading this and thinking that there must be one reality in life…that the setting sun is just the setting sun and so forth. Yet I realize that to each of the billion people on the earth, the setting sun has certain emotional qualities attached to it…if and when one would take the time to think about it. It’s the same sun all around the world although the geography of where it rises and sets is different. The time zone is different, the language unique to the town or country.

But I can relate to what I am reading about the way Lorca thinks. Words and pictures and music do not adequately explain who I am and where I have been. The depth of me has never been totally reveled.

In Ecclesiates 3:11 I read: He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set enternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

I have always felt this meant that we can have the belief that there is a lot out there, but we will never truly grasp the depth of it. That a compete sense of purpose and destiny will never come our way. That we will keep aiming for something that we somehow know exists, but at the same time will never completely understand it.

We are all unqiue…there are no two of us alike. As I drove back from Winston, the thought occured to me that even though trees have a certain similarity, no two of them are alike as well. They all have trunks and branches and leaves but none are identical.

We are all going to see things a little differently from each other. The you said “po tay to” and I said “pa tat to” thing.

We can keep trying to understand the world around us. We can keep trying to attain the perfect expression of what the family of God looks like.

We need to grab ahold of the handle bars and hold on for all we are worth. And trust that the tires will hold and the brakes will work if and when we need them.

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