“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.