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The Scenic Route

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The four conclusions

Concluding a search for The Truth

Once upon a time, I was asked by Somebody—or believed that I was—if I would give up the woman I loved for world peace. I agreed—eventually—that, as a decent human, I would have to. And, I did—again, eventually. After arguing and posturing and trying to make deals and rationalizing for a few years—or was it a decade?—I finally did. 

This giving up was accomplished in my search for The Truth, and I believed it would lead to something remarkable, and it did. But, it wasn’t what I wanted or envisioned. World peace did not ensue. In fact, the world has since gotten less peaceful; crazier, more violent, more unpredictable. But, my world, the personal space in which I live, has become more peaceful. The Truth was that this woman I loved did not love me, and moreover, it wasn’t in her to do so. And, I have become at peace with that, which is what I can do for world peace. Funny how that works. 

It’s been 25 years since I embarked on that search for The Truth in earnest, during which I found and embraced The Truth perhaps as many times as it has been years. Each time, though, it was eventually revealed to me that I was, at least partially and sometimes wholly, wrong. Speaking of funny stuff, it is somewhat hilarious in retrospect, watching the clown me run from one Truth to the next. There is also the hilarity of relief in knowing that, more than likely, I don’t have to do that anymore.

In seeking The Truth, I also sought God, for I believed—and still do, for that matter—that God is where The Truth lies. In the search, I read Thomas Moore, Viktor Frankl, Marianne Williamson, Don Miguel Ruiz, Deepak Chopra, "The Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous, The Bible, "When I Say No, I Feel Guilty," "The Shack," "The Road Less Traveled," "Addiction and Grace" and dozens of other self-help, spiritual and religious books. In each of these, I found nuggets, strands, hints and clues—even an occasional Answer, as I initially viewed Chopra’s Seven Laws of Spiritual Success—but in a quarter of a century of reading, research, prayer, reflection, meditation and memorization, I did not achieve a lasting peace or find the God I thought I sought. 

I have come to some conclusions about this. 

The first is that I will never quite know what is The Truth, no matter how hard I seek it.

The second conclusion, then, is that after all of my seeking God and peace, it is time now for God and peace to seek me. In this game of hide-and-seek, it’s my turn to be found. I didn’t ask to be born, nor did anyone on this planet. If I was, indeed, blessed with a life—and I think I was—the Giver of that life is somewhat responsible for giving it to me. 

So, I have stopped seeking, for the most part, though after a hard day, week, month, year—of which sometimes there seems to be no end—I still tend to whine and wonder what in the world God is up to. At the risk of apostasy, I question God as to God’s purpose in all of this. At the risk of being Job, I ask God, sometimes, just who the heck He thinks He is, playing with us humans as She does. 

But, so far—here is a third conclusion—it appears to be none of my business. So, I do the best I can every day with what I have to work with and let God be God and me be me—an error-prone, ignorant, sometimes frustrated and angry, but trending toward more peaceful human. 

Don’t get me wrong. I love God, Whoever God is; particularly for all the gifts of living on this planet in the place and time that I live. I am awed and somewhat confounded by the Grace I experience every day. In world news and history, I find myriad places and times that I might otherwise have been placed and breathe a sincere and fervent “Thank you!” for when and where I fell into this planet. How can I not? 

But, it’s easy to say “Thank you,” for where and when I live. Others say the same prayer living in a mud hut in Africa or under siege in some Middle Eastern city or marching to a death camp in Siberia or Eastern Europe—they continue to be grateful for what little they have. In gratitude, I’m a piker. 

A fourth conclusion, then, is that judging others for their beliefs, ignorance, education, poverty, wealth, success, failure, living conditions, history, culinary habits, dress, customs or any other diversion from my own culture is counter-productive and really also none of my business. 

As a friend once said to me, “The less I judge others, the happier I am.” Amen, sister! 

I fail this—often. But, it doesn’t add to my personal peace when I engage in judgment. It only brings me closer to my own failings, exposes my foibles and frequent mistakes.

This is not all bad. Pointing that finger makes me increasingly uncomfortable with my own points of departure from living the life that is good for me. And, The Truth is, I think, that God wants us to live a life that is good for us. Not self-indulgent, nor self-centered, but a life that makes us happy through what we see to be right action and striving for personal peace. 

This sort of life is the great hiding place in the cosmic game of hide and seek. If we are going to play, let us find an incredibly good place to hide. Let us quit seeking so hard for something we know not what and let God instead find us busy tending the garden She set us in. Let us play hide and seek by rules in which God finding us is as important and fruitful as us finding God. And let everyone have a turn.

 

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Author info

Sandy Compton Sandy Compton Sandy Compton is one of the original contributors to The River Journal, and owner and publisher at Blue Creek Press (www.bluecreekpress.com). His latest book is Side Trips From Cowboy: Addiction, Recovery and the Western American Myth

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editorial, god, truth

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