Truth is a rumored far-off country known only through myth and legend and yet whether we believe it is there or not it remains steadfast and unchanging in the distance awaiting our arrival.
Truth is like the the Undying Lands in Tolkien’s Middle Earth – the place one hopes to journey to and, with citizenship, one becomes like the land itself…undying.
We are not truth. Sometimes we think and act like we are but we are not. We are flux; we are entropy; we are changing always. We are changing in time and space and thought – there is nothing about us that does not change. In this way we are the opposite of truth.
Truth is constant and we are inconstant and this impacts how we perceive unchanging, constant and reliable truth.
We are born into a stream and caught up in a current and life is like an ocean that we are swept up on. We occupy small boats with maybe one oar. We can make small changes in our position but are bound by the larger movement of the water and the wind (pneuma) that pushes us west toward that shore…toward truth.
Depending on our character we move toward truth in isolation or as part of smaller or larger flotillas. Small islands lashed together against the capricious sea joined as families, friends, lovers or all or none.
As we journey the shore becomes clear in the great distance. We begin to discern its character and are confronted with a decision – how we perceive truth impacts how we relate to our fellow travelers.
As we rise and fall with the waves, as we see the shore through sun and rain; through the light of sunrise, noon-day and golden sunset; as we see it through our own aging and changing vision we can come to a place where we believe truth to be an inconstant, unreliable, fickle and ever-changing destination with no absolute character…
we can come to realize that truth is absolute and unchanging and that it is our position in the journey that changes how it appears to us. We see one facet then another; we see it reflected by the moon at night or through the fiery mists of dawn.
To believe that we are the pillars of absoluteness rooted in one place as fickle truth journeys toward us; to believe that we have come to understand fully the nature of this distant truth and can measure others by it – this is the height of hubris and sets ourselves up as having arrived; or worse still as the destination toward which our fellow travelers must journey instead.
In reality as we journey we must be wary of too clear a definition of truth for often the clarity comes from the hopes and dreams of the one offering the definition rather than reality. Truth becomes the high and challenging mountain to the one who climbs; truth becomes the great, unending metropolis to the lover of cities; it becomes the verdant green pastoral fields to the lover of creation…it becomes what we desire and in doing so is corrupted.
Truth is not a filter or a mirror; truth is not a checklist nor is it a guest list; truth is a destination to which there are no travelogues.
Ultimately we do not reach it of our own strength – it pulls us toward it. It seeks us out. It comes east into the barren lands and lives in our midst demonstrating its character to us by operating within our own constraints that we might have hope. It offers its own breath to fill our sails and pulls us toward it in embrace.