Thursday, May 19, 2005

Reality V. Truth

In its annual pilgrimage the sun passes the vernal equinox - an imaginary line, a border of sorts set solely for that celestial body. Most ancient civilizations timed the start of their year in apprehension of the approximate period of the passing - all seasons and cycles were adjusted accordingly, as if nothing short of life itself depended on that passing.

This occurrence survives in our present-day collective as a cue. Always towards the end of March, we in the northern regions - certainly those of us north of the Mason-Dixon - look forward to the gradual thawing and greening, towards a Romantic and slow, slumbering Summer before the colors of Autumn befall us and we wrestle again with the hibernation that is Winter.

As the sun makes headway to its northern-most destination, warmth lags behind like a distracted child on a leash. The sun passing our imaginary line is a welcoming, like the ice cream man beckoning all children outside to his luxurious treats. We, in turn, answer that call. The clothes stay indoors. The feet, however, migrate towards the east in Chicago, toward the lake and our two massive public fountains.

Buckingham Fountain

Millennium Park Crown Fountain

But this year in Chicago, at least, that's not occurring. The green has made her appearances, but she shivers like a leaf in the cold. As a consequence of a very mild Winter, Mother Nature is calling in for her Faustian wages. It is Spring. Mid-Spring. And nary a hint of t-storms and BBQ's.

There is a substantial difference between truth and reality. Truth can simply be summed up as, what is. What is underneath it all, above it all, in it all, beyond it all. Truth is transcendent. It, simply, is what it is. Reality, on the other hand, is perception of what is. It is our grasp on the tenable.

Truth is, Spring has been upon us for nearly two months. Reality speaks that it's 10-20 degrees (Celsius) below what it normally is this time of year, that frost still lingers at dawn, that April was dry.

Reality says that there are people who are ugly as well as people who are pleasant. I do not refer to merely physical attraction, but of the grab-bag of personality, or social interaction, of the soul. Abuela calls it "the heart." There are those with whom conversation is nice, it is pleasant, it flows well, it grabs your attention, it produces joy. Then there's the others, wherein conversation employs the greatest skill, the utmost timidity, or inhumane self-control in order to redeem a time that doesn't seem redemptive. Through the lens of reality, they are nasty people with few good qualities. In truth, they are created in God's image and deeply loved by God.

Truth is also that the earth revolves around at least two axes (I'm not a geo- or astro-physicist, as you may have summized) - one being the Sun and the other being a line between its own North and South poles. But it never appears that way from the view down here. The sun - comparatively still relative to the planets rotating around it, but yet constantly moving in space away fro the center of the universe, away from its creation point - does not rise in the East as a new bride awakening her groom, nor is it comparable in size to any athletic equipment ever designed or dream-able. Nor does it actually cross any sort of border. Nor does it hide, betray emotions or betray anything resembling anthropomorphic sensibilities. It does not get hot one day and cold the next. It is a supremely massive ball of radioactive fire. Yet our sense of reality tells us otherwise. I am glad for the truth. The sun, unlike myself, can not take a sick-day, it cannot be late to work. It will not grow cold (well, not in the next few hundred million years or so). Millennia pass and yet it is faithful to its purpose, to its character. It remains. It burns. That's all it needs to do. The rotations of the earth are likewise true to science and faithful to their character.

In this instance, reality is more poetic, yet truth stands the test of time. Truth is the assurance. Faith, in essence, is being rooted and surrounded by reality, yet being able to look beyond the simple earth, above the mountains of reality and look past them to see a deeper glimpse of truth. Reality is truth, but it is not the whole part. And in many circumstances, it is not adequate.

This essay was triggered in part by a discussion I had with a friend the other night. He was mentioning how much stuff goes on in his life I may not look favorably towards - and he's right, for they are unhealthy and destructive - but that I need to accept them, because it's reality. No one needs to tell me of reality. No, scratch that. Even in my diverse, expanding and oftentimes humiliating circumstances I still have no idea what 2/3's of the world are feeling. But I know that what we experience and see at this present moment are only parts and parcel of the whole of truth. Babies having babies and children shooting each other and living apart from their captive fathers is not the way we were designed. It's not the way it's supposed to be. It may be real, but it doesn't have the essence of truth. It will not last. Unlike faith, hope and love.

Spring is here. In time, we will feel its presence, its sweet, reassuring presence.


  1. This was a stunning write.

    Do not call this an essay! It was an observance, it was a collective-exhaustive opinion, it was detailed commentary. But not an essay, because you didn't write this keeping the 5 paragraph rule in mind, whilst making sure your thesis statement lined up with your conclusion (and it did, btw, but that's not the point).

    You wrote this from your heart. And I embrace that as truth.

  2. Not an artificial essay, you mean. The type they hammer into our heads in high school and intro. comp. in college.

    but i'm flattered. really. i spent the better part of a week working on it, just not satisfied with the speed, the fluidity, the economy, the weight of it. and still not really.

    but i think the colors helped add to the ease of it, eh?.

    dag, you type fast, child.

  3. Are you Prince's mom? What is there for you to be unsatisfied with?! When dove's fly?!?!

    I thought the piece was stellar. For real.

    The colors added to the attractiveness, yes. For I, marvel, at purrdy cuhlers. Like the the ones that float and weave through the Fountains. Ooooo. Ahhhh.

    And I don't type fast! :P I'm just scatterbrained.

  4. yeah? me too. which is why i type so lame. maybe that's why we get along so well.

    moochie grassy a*s,


Be kind. Rewind.