of the first memoirs I wrote for
the Home Page nearly eight years ago mentioned
that I had always been "hungry for orthodoxy," which had led me to change
churches for the first time in my life at age 18. Today's thoughts are not about
capital-O Orthodoxy or even about Christianity per se, but about the quest for
truth. My recollection is that I was always looking out for more information in
a general sense and for "the truth" in a narrower, more focused one.
I'm not aware of what may have started that lifelong quest or if it was inborn
or more a result of influences in my environment, though I think the latter must
have been the case; I must have absorbed it from my mother as I don't remember
thinking that anyone else in my early life had such a quest.
a sense the quest is akin to the search for the truth in a Sherlock Holmes mystery
or Sir Gallahad's quest for the Holy Grail (but I was not exposed to such stories
in my early years; only when they came to television in my junior high school
years, much later than the origin of my particular quest). And "the truth"
is how I look at it now, but I don't think I thought that way as a child. It was
more a matter of "the right," and an ingrained aversion to doing wrong.
I remember that the first time I heard that Davy Crockett's slogan was "make
sure you're right, then go ahead," it resonated in my thinking so strongly
I've never forgotten it; it was a principle I'd already been living by though
I'd had no words to summarize it.
play amateur analyst on myself, I'd say I don't perceive myself as fearing disappointing
my mother (which the stereotypical shrink would most likely suggest) as failing
to achieve my personal best. I was more likely to think of myself as lacking and
therefore needing to compensate rather than thinking I had lots of talents that
could take me anywhere I wanted to go. More to the point, I recognized meager
but potential talents that could be maximized if I developed them in a context
of doing the right and being right about the big picture of life.
"big picture of life" is where "orthodoxy" comes in. The truth,
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is the big picture of life and you
have to test it carefully to make sure it's going to hold you up when you step
out onto it. It's certitude. That's another word for "religion," though
not in a very mystical or cultic sense of the word. It's more religion in the
sense of "whatever you most believe in," whether it's material comfort,
professional success, sports, sex and/or cars or any combination of the preceding,
or relationship with God.
I felt the quest of the truth, grasping the truth, to read back into what I then
probably thought of as the need to find and follow the right, was a source of
power in a life that for the most part seemed powerless. I know now and suspect
that I've always known it, that my mother was a powerful person, despite her diminutive
physical stature and her submissive character. That latter wordcharacterwas
the key to her personna; her character was her strength and in that she excelled
over her much larger and never submissive husband, and she could direct the actions
of four strong-willed and bright, energetic sons, even when they were far away
because I knew that about her, I knew such "character" was a power greater
than any muscles I could build, and that I could depend upon it if I faithfully
sought it and applied it to my life.
complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005
man on a walking holiday in Ireland became thirsty so decided to ask at a home
for something to drink. The lady of the house invited him in and served him a
bowl of soup by the fire. There was a wee pig running around the kitchen, running
up to the visitor and giving him a great deal of attention. The visitor commented
that he had never seen a pig this friendly. "Ah, he's not that friendly,"
the housewife replied, "that's his bowl you're using."
by Trudy Myers