“…A free and responsible search for truth and meaning…”
-4th Principle of Unitarian Universalism
I like truth and facts.
My relationship with each of them is athletic.
I like to be challenged by them. I like when they expose my weaknesses.
I like when they tear my ideologies apart again and again, only to rebuild me like a muscle (bigger and stronger). A key feature I look for in a trustworthy person is someone that is in constant competition with themselves, in pursuit of the truth.
Ignorance might be bliss, but I love the humanity and vulnerability uncovered in ones’ search for truth. I like facts that hit me like pails of cold water, shocking me back into consciousness. I like facts that make me aware of you, us, and our surroundings.
Maybe I’m a little sadistic, the way I love the bitter truth.
Truth makes me feel courageous; if I can face it – I can face anything.
Yet I am still so naïve. I feel saddened each time I’m confronted by a person that (from my perspective) can’t deal in truths. It’s like I’m trapped in a Sisyphean version of the movie ‘Groundhog Day’. I welcome the opportunity to understand your truth and to expand my own awareness – but I can’t deal with alternative facts.
Truth is neither my foe nor my friend.
By acknowledging this, I have developed a strong sense of faith and acceptance.
It is my constant pursuit to anchor my truth in facts.
People often don’t understand my sense of reasoning. Many people believe that acknowledging unsavory facts brings them to life – or gives them power.
However, I like to put my cards on the table, and lay it all out – the good, the bad, and especially the ugly. This allows me to identify my area of influence; it helps me to know what fears, thoughts, and beliefs I need to keep, and what needs to be thrown away.
Anthony struck one of many chords with me when he wove a verse from my favorite Kenny Rogers song, ‘The Gambler’, into a sermon a few years ago –
“..You gotta know when to hold ‘em…know when to fold ‘em…know when to walk away…and know when to run.”
I believe if you want to play this game called life, you need to know what to throw away and what to keep – because (as the lyric says) ‘..every hand’s a winner…and every hand’s a loser.”
This way of reasoning and reconciling things gives me courage, comfort, and faith. For example, INOVA Fairfax Hospital’s Advanced Lung Disease and Lung Transplant Center has spent the past 15 years monitoring the progression of my lung disease, and determining if I’ve reached the need for a double lung transplant. If you apply deductive reasoning, that is 15 years that I have been able to extend my life without the need for a transplant.
That’s a big deal.
One of my key pulmonary function numbers is 22% of norm. It has dipped to 18%, and was 15% for a short time this past February. To put that into context, you are diagnosed with lung disease if this number drops below 80%.
My lungs are big – the air trapped in my lungs is roughly 250% of the ‘norm.
One more fun fact? Lung transplants have the highest rejection rate. The survival rate for a double lung transplant is around 80% for the first year, and about 50% at 5 years post-op. These facts are derived from clusters of data points, and acknowledging them is to accept reality.
They motivate me – they do not define me.
There are also data points that are outliers.
And here is my truth.
I am an outlier.
When it is my time for a transplant, I am 100% sure I will be within the 50% that survive longer than 5 years. This is my logic, how I reason, and how I see myself within this interconnected web of life.
For the longest time, I was without a tribe. Given all the dichotomies that shape me (i.e. black/white, able/disabled, spiritual/skeptic, extrovert/introvert), I’ve always found it difficult to find people like me – other outliers and truth seekers. That is, until I found you (UUCC), and the Unitarian Universalist faith tradition.
Our fourth principle (A free and responsible search for truth and meaning) electrifies my spirit. While we might not be moved by the same things, identify the same way, or be at the same place in our own awakening – we are grounded in shared principles.
It is a blessing to be in this community – sheltered together in our sanctuary, and united in our faith tradition’s principles. We are fortunate to have one another’s support, encouragement, and protection as we (individually and collectively) continue this search for truth and meaning.