Where Faith Comes In
(Happy Easter to all!)
I’d like to share some of the poet Robert Frost’s timeless words with you here, my friends. This poem is personally one of my all-time favorites.
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
If one reads deeply, as well we should, the words can indeed be quite depressing. All the wonderful people and things and experiences we know and love are brief. Oh, so brief. Then. They. Are. All. Gone.
As are we.
To quote another great wordsmith (Shakespeare) regarding life; “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
These poets were neither dim-witted nor pessimistic by nature. They number among the most intelligent and uplifting beings who ever lived here in our world. Especially when it comes to crafting hard truths into words that we can all more easily understand.
For those of us who like to think deeply (and I hope you number among such souls, my friend), we seek to understand the meaning of our lives. Oh, what a quest that is; since the first deep thinkers stared up at the stars and pondered, as did the writer of the Psalms, “What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?”
The more one thinks deeply about the meaning of life, the more likely one may arrive at the conclusion that it is indeed all without any real meaning (except for what artificial meaning we may create within our own minds). But who doesn’t want to think deeply? It is one of life’s greatest adventures.
To be afraid to think deeply is to become a “sheep”, as my mother used to say when frustrated with her Sunday School class (which she taught for 50 years). “They won’t think for themselves,” she’d say. “It’s okay to think. God gave us these big ol’ brains for a reason. Not to be told what to think by some preacher, or some book, or some church, or some Sunday School teacher.” Yes, she was unusually bold and open-minded for a Baptist Sunday School teacher. I remain very proud of her to this day. She was a woman of great faith, but “God is love” was the only religion she ever needed. I have tried my best to follow her lead.
When one thinks deeply, one will inevitably come upon a lot of darkness. The reader, if a deep and honest thinker, may have found this to be true.
Years ago, when I first began my teaching career, a fellow deep-thinking pedagogue (who happened to be an ardent agnostic) asked me, “Mr. T., what happens after we die?”
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