mystery: something kept secret or remaining unexplained; something not understood or beyond understanding
Baby Girl the Second likes ‘mystery’ stories these days, which leads me to musing about the disparity between the common usage and the true meaning of the word. Of course, the problems presented to the small town backyard detectives whose adventures she follows are never for a minute intended to remain unexplained and invariably prove to be quite understandable to one who reads the clues carefully. No mystery will remain unsolved for more than five pages or a 24-minute television slot, not with Tyrone and Uniqua or Encyclopedia Brown and Sally on the case. In a few years, she’ll discover that Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple are equally reliable in their somewhat lengthier settings.
I have nothing against a good whodunit, although I do wish the genre would be categorically renamed ‘detective’ literature. The problem I see is that we have reduced the – well, mystery of mystery, to the point of excluding any eventuality that remains beyond human understanding. We really believe that if we are observant and resourceful and analytical enough, we can solve any conundrum. When we do run up against something that we absolutely can’t explain, we tend to shrug our shoulders, say “It’s a mystery to me,” and turn and walk away, dismissing anything we can’t define and diagram neatly as not worthy of our attention.
During this Holy Week, this time of remembrance and meditation, I am conscious of both a desperate hunger for and a deep rest in a Presence far beyond my comprehending. God grant me the grace to open myself to the mystery of Christ: Christ in us, Christ in me, in you, the hope of glory.
image by Rebekah Choat
Dark is drawing in
under faintest veil of mist.
A single star is
shining over dusk-rose clouds
as crickets hum evensong.
~ Rebekah Choat
image by Rebekah Choat
Familiar shadow, in whose company
I travel often in the failing light,
your presence has no terror left for me:
we simply walk, as long companions might,
in silence. We move slowly through the rain
and cold, and even when the sun comes out,
its brightness only serves to make more plain
your shape beside me. You linger about
my campsite, or just up around the bend,
ready to join me as I journey on.
You stay with me, as faithful as a friend,
not always close, but never really gone.
So now as morning breaks in clouds of grey,
we’ll go as fellow-travelers on our way.
~ Rebekah Choat
truth: the state of being the case; the property of being in accord with fact or reality
fact: something that has actual existence; a piece of information presented as having objective reality
What is truth?
The question has been under examination of late in a small group of which I am part, and this past week I ventured to comment that truth and facts are not necessarily the same – only to find that I was ill-prepared to articulate to someone of a more analytical bent than myself precisely what I meant.
So here I am, taking another go at it.
Facts are concrete things. They can be tied to a place on the map, or a date on the calendar, or a documented event.
Facts are also fluid, though. They can change over time. They are dependent upon certain conditions. They can be acted upon by outside forces which may alter them.
For example: as a matter of fact, I have long, dark brown hair. Except in certain lighting, where it’s auburn. Except for the streaks that are silver. Except in old photographs of a younger me, where it’s short. And in even older photographs of a much younger me, where it’s blonde.
Truth is incorporeal. It cannot be anchored down in the same way that a fact can. It is eternal – it does not evolve or erode, despite the passage of aeons. It is consistent, regardless of conditions. It remains the same in light and darkness, heat and cold, stillness and storm.