We build our foundations in stone. We pick up our rock-solids, our cement, our bricks, our pieces of wisdom, our lessons learned, our life-truths and we put them together with a trowel so that we won’t lose them.
I say we…because really it’s not all me. It’s not all you…it’s not all them. It’s not that guy who showed up with his cement truck.
I suppose it starts with the parents. You pop out of the womb and you land in their arms and at first, they don’t know quite what to do with you. But then – it comes to them. They pull out their wheelbarrow and their stones, their cement and their trowels…and they start building. They’ve spent years accumulating truths and they want you to have them. They want to build them into you so that you don’t have to discover them all by yourself. Your infant mind does what it does best and soaks it all in.
And then, one day…
They hand the trowel and the wheelbarrow and the stones to you. And you stand there dumbfounded, staring at what they started. You stare at this stone and that. Are there any cracks? Are these truths your truths? Should they be truths at all? Sometimes you marvel at how certain stones got there without you even realizing it. You puzzle and you ponder.
(Run your hands over this stone and that.
What to keep…and what to lose?
There’s your love of the land,
your prejudice against booze.
There’s your fondness for work,
and how much you hate to schmooze.)
I picked up the trowel…tentatively…as I start all things. And I found three truths that I decided to keep. To keep buried deep.
1. There is a God.
(I never doubted –
laid down long ago
it stands against the blow.)
2. God is good.
(Did I doubt –
perhaps I did –
those times when I hid.)
3. Humans are basically good.
(I saw more of the world
and as it unfurled
so did my doubt.)
I thought about removing number three from my foundation. Lover of logic, I weighed out the evidence and I found it against me.
But one day, in a deli (of all places), wearing an apron, holding a huge metal spoon destined to plunge into potato salad…I found the Truth.
And it was this: God would not create something that was not basically good. Therefore, humans must be basically good.
Simplistic? You bet. But it is Truth, nonetheless. And I will keep it.
Because logic is cold.
Because there are some questions that it just can’t answer.
Because the fact of the matter is, without a faith in humanity, I lost some of my faith in God. And faith, coupled with love, makes me better than I could ever be otherwise. So I will keep my three Truths. What are yours?
(Foundations are made of stone,
so heavy we can’t build them alone.
Come, bring your weighty things –
your brick, your lessons learned,
your cement, your life-truths,
and share them with me.
Maybe I’ll add to my three.)