I love the line from the movie A Few Good Men when Jack Nicklaus says to Tom Cruise “You can’t handle the truth!” He says it with such conviction. I believe that most of society today can’t handle the truth and therefore avoid it or alter it. Advertisers, politicians, journalists, authors, teachers and even our best friends pave the way to easily avoid the truth.
“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, reminds me of the road to freedom that so many of us choose not to take because it is the unknown, less traveled, road. This causes me to want to return to the fork and direct the passer-by to the way of freedom. “Stop following the crowd and follow your heart!” What is it that draws us down the path that leads to bondage?
Shakespeare’s “Nature of Mankind” gave me some insight as I listened to my son recite it to memory this week for his literature class …
"… Now, whether it be beastial oblivion, or some craven scruple of thinking too precisely on the event, a thought which, quartered, hath but one part wisdom and ever three parts coward …”
Maybe it is merely one quarter of all people that take the road less traveled because the nature of man is to feed the cowardly beast that lives inside our hearts rather than wisdom, being God.
This month I took a group of special-needs persons to serve at a camp in Florida to help get it ready for it’s summer campers. The 40 or so participants worked on various jobs cleaning windows, laying mulch, digging trenches and hammering chair pads into the legs of chairs. When not working, we sang songs, played games, ate meals and lived life together. I have to admit it was exhausting, but it was also rejuvenating. Everyone was happy all the time. Everyone treated one another with respect and love and no one judged anyone, regardless of their ability or lack thereof. It reminded me of Cloud Coocooland in the Lego movie, where everything is awesome and where there are no rules of any kind because everyone is kind and loving. We had no distractions like television, cell phones or computers; there was no negativity and no consistency. We were all unique. All of our communication was face to face and we talked about things that are hard and things that make us happy. In today’s world most people would call that “coocoo.” I call it beautiful.
One of my friends who is confined to a wheel chair has the most awesome attitude about life that I have ever witnessed. She is always positive, encouraging and is filled with so much gratitude. We became very close as she had to depend on me for everything during her time there. However, one night she cried with me privately. Her tears were not for her, but for me. She felt so badly that I had to do so much for her day after day. She had no way to return the favor except by saying thank you over and over. When I told her she had thanked me enough, she asked me why she was this way. I had no logical answer except that if it were not for her disability we probably would not have become friends, which would be sad because it was through her that I saw the heart of God. I didn't understand the significance of my own words until I returned home. It hit me that I feel the same way about God who gives me strength, unconditional love and forgiveness everyday. When He helps me through a rough time it brings tears to my eyes because I can only say 'thank you' a thousand times over! I know God appreciates my thanks but what he really wants from me is to share His heart by loving others well and revealing His truth. My friend in the wheelchair has so much more ability to do this than I do. It is I with the greater disability of pride, relying on myself and not asking for the help from my creator. The truth is that He knows me better than I know myself. If I surrender and give God control over my life, then I can be free to live a fuller, more purposeful life.
Like Shakespeare and Frost exposed in their writings, we who have the ability, will, strength and means to do as we please are the one's who often take the path of least resistance. Emmet, the Special, carried the piece of resistance for his friends. They believed in him and were ultimately set free by the truth.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."… John 8:31