Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: Truth or Pablum

Psalms 5, 6 *10, 11; Proverbs 4:1-27; 1John 4:4-21; Matthew 11:7-15

We have had just an incredibly rainy spring here in DC. Tons and tons of rain, which is good for the grass, shrubs, trees, flowers and plants. Last year we were concerned about months of dryness, with no rain and everything burning out, dying early. This year, the rain is spoiling: outdoor events, sidewalk cafe sitting; and (in particular for me) dog-walking. My Bernese Mountain dog doesn't like the rain and really hates puddles - making acrobatic leaps over them, leaving her master fumbling with the leash and the puddles in a not so pretty way. I am sitting watching the torrential rains pouring down onto the banks of the Potomac River, with my plants in their planting boxes on my terrace thoroughly soaked, and I wonder, how am I ever going to get this dog to poop in this weather? We've already tried earlier this morning, we've already been toweled off. I just have to face the fact that I'm going to be soggy and damp at church today. And Allie will be rather dank and odoriferous. Lovely.

And I think about Jesus talking to his disciples as John's walk away from him, and Jesus' question about what they were looking for when they went out to see the crazy man in the Jordan River. What did they expect: someone in soft luxurious robes? Someone who would provide them with pablum as opposed to truth?

We many times want what we want when we want it, and brook no argument to the contrary. That stubbornness and self-focus can only lead us to eventual unhappiness. For once we get what we want when we want it, we (more often then not) remain unhappy, unsatisfied. John the Baptist was the preamble to Jesus' message. One of the things Jesus is saying today is if we don't understand John's place, how will we ever understand his.

So I can wish all I want that the rain will stop so I can walk my dog in a more pleasant environment: I may want that right now. In reality, that isn't what is all about me at the present time. Rain is. Wishing cannot make it so. Truth is what truth is, not the pablum of wishful thinking. So it is time to slicker up, get damp (well really soaked is more like it) and then towel her and me off. It is just water after all.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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