Truth and Personhood
I am starting to remember or at least to be vaguely aware of something that was, not so very long ago, and has since faded from my view. It is not that it disappeared, but perhaps I was not yet able to see it in its full color without spending some time away. Or perhaps I simply journeyed toward this destination by some other road than I needed to.
In any case, I have come full circle once again to the fundamental questions that I asked myself back in 2009. As I sit here with my head throbbing from a minor recurrence of meningitis brought about by my careless behaviour, I have had the occasion to think and reflect some more on the previous months and years of my life. At the same time, I have become acutely aware in recent days of the implications of following the path set before me in the name of Christianity. It is not that I have encountered its truths more clearly than before, for if anything the light of their beauty is still hidden from me, but I have discovered the meaning of my choice to follow Jesus and am developing the courage that it will take to not turn back.
As an intellectual I recognise the absurdity of my decision to be a Christian, yet I have seen something more beautiful than logic and intellectualism – than knowledge or wisdom. It has captivated my heart before and I am a fool if I do not seek with everything I have for it to do so again. It reminds me of the time I looked into a girl’s eyes and saw the world of golden stars that spun in circles stretching out toward infinity in a silent sparkling shower of brilliant lights. That moment is enough to say I have lived and is the reason why lovers are madmen. After such a moment, the meaning of everything else becomes dull. Adventure and thrill fall short. Just one touch or reminder of this beauty is enough to overthrow the present moment with a shiver of joy rippling down the spine to reawaken the appetite for more.
This is the kind of joy and contentment that can be satisfied but is never full. It can overflow but such only increases one’s capacity to experience more. It is alive and like all living things, it must grow. Instead of one color it becomes two until it can no longer be described as a single color of blue but is a color inside a color inside a color that glows with a deeper hue than the most priceless jewel held beneath a thousand glowing lamps.
I have sought such depth in history, in art, in honour for the past and this has only served to stir up the desire still further. For in every good story, work of art, and line of poetry there waits a call to something greater and more complete that goes beyond the understanding and appreciation of a single object to provide the reason why such appreciation is beautiful in itself. It is not the existence of art that is valuable, but the relationship between the creator, the admirer, and the meaning which gives it value. The skill of the artist is in creating an avenue for this timeless connection by which the senses of an individual help him or her discover a concept previously hidden. Truth, it could be imagined, is its ultimate object whether the creator or appreciator are aware of its existence or not. For in the very exchange itself, truth must appear in some subtle form to answer the question of why either one chose to participate – each giving time to some visible or invisible irresistible call.
Whether the answer that appears to the individual is satisfactory may be questionable. it’s necessity, however, is undeniable. Even as I try to dismiss the question as irrelevant, I find myself drawn back to it without the ability to resist. I. must. have. a. reason. why!
From experience I have learned that this answer may be a journey, a single moment, or a destination. I have also learned that this reason must be singular. This singular truth must be chosen to the expense of all others. It is the objective to which all other objectives must be sacrificed if it will be attained.
I have chosen my truth and have stood idly by, watching its brilliance fade into obscurity, overwhelmed by the ferocity of a modern life. Now and then I have seen the sacrifice required to hold on to it and decided I am not ready for the commitment. I have let it slip away and slide through my fingers until there is almost nothing left of what I used to know…
If I had let this truth penetrate my life, I may have changed along with it as companions do on a journey. Since, however, it has gone one way and I another, it has lost its life – but so have I. For as truth cannot exist independently of the one who defines it, so one cannot exist independently of the truth that defines him or her. This relationship between truth and personhood expresses itself with infinite variety through those who know and who are ignorant of its significance.
Today I find myself so far away from my truth that I wonder if I would love or hate it should I encounter its incarnation. Would I turn away in frustration and disgust attempting to distance myself from what I once loved in order to embrace a definition of life that finds more wide-spread acceptance? On the other hand, I wonder, will I ever be ready to let my life be defined by the truth that I once held so close? Can I let the light of its brilliance wash over me until all who look my way cannot distinguish my identity from that of the truth that defines me?