How are you doing today? I woke up in the middle of the night and I thought it was time to write you a few lines. Let me tell you a little something about a book I’m currently reading. It is entitled Confessions, by Saint Augustine. It is considered one of the great books of the Western tradition. In it, the narrator makes his full confession to God, describing an ordinary life through the prism of guilt. There is always an inner conflict within him. After chasing every whim of doctrine he reads about in philosophy books, he finds his truth in the Bible, cradled in the bosum of the Catholic Church. I’m only half finished with the book, so I don’t know what it’s leading up to, but it was written in the fourth century AD and it has a surprisingly modern feel to it.
My letters to you have also been, at times, a confessional. I tried organized religion once, but all I found was entertainment and advertising. “Evolution is the big lie,” the preacher once pitched to us. He also told us that homosexuality is a sin — not something as complex as genetics, but merely a lifestyle choice — and that people with these proclivities should not be granted equal rights in our society, because, as Christians, it impinges upon our religious freedom. Christianity was once a religion of the humble and the poor, but this new belief spread rapidly in their pursuit of converting people, and it soon became the religion of kings, bishops, and mighty popes. It is now a religion of materialism for the worldly, even though the practitioners of it claim otherwise.
My personal search for truth has been conducted in the field of psychology, but these books leave me feeling cold and barren. My search has ended by seeking universal love and kindness. One afternoon, Laura and I exited a restaurant with a take-out box full of left-overs. We were approached by a sad and bedraggled homeless man, holding up a cardboard sign we couldn’t read. When Laura gave him the box of food, his face lit up with a smile and he thanked us. Laura had done her good deed for the day.
In a country as wealthy as our own, I feel that homelessness is unacceptable, but it exists here anyway and thousands of people go to bed hungry.
The next morning, Laura wanted to go to a yard sale. We drove to the location, and we saw mostly old clothes hanging on racks, but upon the tables beside them were trinkets and knick-knacks of all shapes and sizes. Laura bought some Christmas tree ornaments, a fancy clock, and a bird cage. I saw two pieces of amateur art for a dollar a piece. One of them was the scene of a blue sky with a flock of Canadian geese in flight behind two trees, while the other was a multicolored sea horse under water.
“I wish I could be talented,” I thought to myself.
When we read stories in books, or hear about great artists or political leaders, some of us tend to wish ourselves the same fame and fortune. Give a teenager an electric guitar and he wants to be the next Eddie Van Halen, or give someone some art supplies and he aspires to be the next Picasso. Every writer wishes he could become a great one. But what is wrong with living an ordinary life? What is wrong with being average? I have a to-do list which involves folding clothes and putting them away, washing dirty dishes, vacuuming the carpet, and sweeping the front porch. It can’t be interesting to read about, or is it? Every day has challanges and victories for each and every person.
Just a few thoughts and musings. The morning sun is high up in the sky now, and I think I’ll call Laura to wish her a good morning. Until we communicate once more, may you have an amazing day.