It’s funny how you come across something that encapsulates an experience for you. That happened with me a I read something by Richard Rohr on finding truth.
This past week I have been in the nitty-gritty of people’s lives… a funeral, a divorce, a radio interview talking about shame where I answered some painful call in questions, and my usual sessions at the addiction treatment center. These are situations that most people dread…topics that most people avoid. Maybe I’m a little odd but I find something rich about talking about the pain we suffer. It just seems so pregnant with truth.
Richard Rohr on Truth
Richard Rohr summarizes my feelings…
The truth comes from the edges of society. Jesus’ reality is affirmed and announced on the margins, where people are ready to understand and to ask new questions. The establishment at the center is seldom ready for the truth because it’s got too much to protect; it has bought into the system. As Walter Brueggeman says, “the home of hope is hurt.”
Yes…the edges. The margins. That’s where I spend time with people…where things aren’t working so well. Sadly, people apologize all the time to me for being there. They are sorry to be there. Sorry to “waste my time”. But I want to push “pause” and say…no…wait…this is rich. This is where the really good questions in life come from. This is where we find clarity. Don’t apologize. Invite God into this moment and listen to what he’s saying. It could change your life!
Beauty in a Funeral
For example, the funeral I presided over last week for a man that was developmentally disabled and spent his whole life being cared for by others. There were only ten people in attendance…no family…just a guardian and people that had cared for the man all his life.
I had never performed a funeral like that before. I didn’t have words to express what I felt needed to be said. So we put our rows of chairs in a circle and I asked these caregivers to tell ME why this man’s life was valuable. What a powerful time. One man who also lived in the margins with humble people shared about dignity of the deceased. He sat and shared stories with tears and insight that were priceless. I loved being there. It was such a privilege.
I’ve spent time with the educated and the rich and the theologically wise. But I have never found as much insight as I have in the margins with people who don’t see themselves as spiritual at all. There is wisdom there. We would all be better to slow down and listen.
Question: What truth have you found on the edges of society? Leave your comment below.