“No Hidden Meanings:” A Redemption Story

“No hidden meanings” is #2 of the “43 Eternal Truths” in Sheldon Kopp’s Eschatological Laundry List.  I have no idea what it means.  None at all.  I do have a vague sense that to say there are “no hidden meanings” oversimplifies the reality of life, diminishes the complexities of our experiences and of the divine, and way, way overestimates our poor abilities to truly grasp how spirit works, and why things happen the way that they do.  But I could be wrong.

And anyway, this is my blog and I get to write whatever I want.  So I’m going to tell you a story which may or may not have something to do with hidden meanings.  I’ll let you decide what you think it means.  Maybe you’ll even write in and let me know.

A few years ago in our community, a woman who was drunk got into a car and got onto the highway.  She drove, in the wrong direction, into a van of people and killed them.  She survived and was sent to prison.  She was vilified. 

Sometime later, I was talking with a friend of mine named Lynn who has struggled for many years with alcohol and drug use, and is tentatively feeling her way through a stretch of sobriety.  She had gotten drunk, drove, was arrested, and because of her record, put in jail.  “The addiction counselor asked me why I went back out after so long,” she told me in her raspy smoker’s voice (“went back out” is AA speak for relapsing).  “I said, ‘I have no idea.’  He looked at me and said, ‘That’s actually the best answer you can give.  Most of the time there is no reason.'”

Lynn’s cell mate was the woman who had killed the people in the van.  Lynn told me that after talking to this woman, hearing her story, she knew, then and there, that she was finished with alcohol and drugs.  That she could have been this woman, that they were no different.  She promised herself that she would never use again.  And she hasn’t. 

“She saved your life,” I said, when she told me this story.  “She saved my life,” she agreed quietly.  “She saved my life.”

Oscar Wilde wrote, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”  It’s one of the most reassuring quotations I know.  Our God is the God of the second chance. 

Hidden meanings?  I have no idea.  Maybe you can write in and let me know.  I would love to hear what you think.

4 Comments

Filed under courage

4 responses to ““No Hidden Meanings:” A Redemption Story

  1. thank you. just thank you.

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  2. No one knows what they are capable of until put to the test. Some will react positively to a situation, event in their lives and some not. Sometimes the reaction is a learning curve, other times it’s set in stone, ingrained into our nature.
    We all have weaknesses, some of them are more obvious than others, some of them have immediate and far reaching consequences (like addictions) and some of them are just as bad but go unnoticed … luck? serendipity? fate? as to who gets what, and in what measure, I think that there should always be an element of ” there but for the Grace of God, go I” and that’s important to remember.
    People are complex and we are all far less than perfect, some imperfections are judged harder than others, the trick is remembering that all imperfections are all the same and that loving people in spite of their imperfections is the key to us each working on dealing with them, and doing our best to make ourselves better human beings. This isn’t a let-out or excuse for people to absolve responsibility though, it should be a measure to spur us to beat our weaknesses.

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  3. Colleen Crowley

    Leslie, I wrote two responses to this and twice caused “error.” Well, it is irony upon irony. I think I have benefited from my brilliance so enough! One must laugh at one self. I wonder what the hidden meaning of all of this writing, submitting and getting “error?” as a response might be? Thanks again and again for the Zen. Love, Colleen

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  4. Hidden meanings; for me, there is no greater example of this than pillow talk – at least for those couples who regularly practice communication.

    Sensing the various levels of our partner (eg. mood, fatigue, etc.), not to mention our own levels, do we always say what we want to say in the way that we would like?

    I’m still alive, proving that I don’t. Take that any way you want.

    There are times for brutal honesty.

    There are times when ‘tact’ would be better, even if it includes hidden meanings.

    There are times when we should tell them what they want to hear. However, in my experience, most of those times are what *I think* she wants to hear. “But you said”, always comes back to bite me in the you-know-where. It’s so humbling to realize that I don’t know everything.

    Privacy; disclosure; no secrets; show me the couple who truly knows EVERYTHING about each other. I would venture to say that even the best couples still have things that they will take to their individual graves, the partner none-the-wiser.

    Oh, what interesting pillow talk this would stimulate, “Honey, is there anything… ANYTHING you haven’t told me yet?”

    As long as there are relationships between any two people, there will ALWAYS be hidden meanings. No two people think exactly alike and see eye-to-eye on everything. Even if one fully exposes his perception, there is no guarantee the other person will ‘see’ it. Thus the ‘meaning’ can still remain ‘hidden’.

    The question remains, do I want to share this with my spouse? “What do you mean by that, Russy?”

    I think I’ve said enough. I’ll go back to hiding now.

    All the best from Toronto,
    Russ

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