“Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon absolute truth.”~Friedrich Nietzsche.
The human race is hung up on symbols. We judge each other by the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the color of our skin. We make instant decisions about total strangers based on their external appearance. Which is ridiculous, to say the least. But we learn from an early age to respond to signs. There is danger if we do not learn to stop at the curb and look before crossing. We are taught to fear ‘strangers’, and not to poke metal objects into electrical sockets. Before we can understand the deeper meanings, the rationales, the whys and wherefores, we are programmed to take short cuts in our interpretation of the world.
This morning, a day when I did not have to get up early, a songbird decided to serenade me with the full variety of his repertoire, starting at 3:20! I was puzzled, intrigued and of course ultimately annoyed as he made it very difficult for me to fall back asleep! But as he warbled on, I realized I was trying to figure out the significance of his timing inaccuracy. Was he foretelling some event? Was there severe weather coming? Was it a message for me? (A Friday morning message perhaps?)
Before there was organized religion there were superstitions. People noted connections (good and bad) between actions and events. This was also before science. So the natural world could only be explained by human actions, things we brought upon ourselves. Yet despite the advances in science and technology, when bad things happen the prehistoric part of our brain kicks in. If a woman gives birth to a less than perfect baby, she immediately falls down a rabbit hole of self-recriminations. Perhaps it is a sign of our feelings of self-importance that we assume that we have such power to control events! And unfortunately there are actions that we take that can have dire consequences, which are known and can be predicted. There are choices that we make that can have bad outcomes which could have been avoided. But much more often, it is due to forces beyond our control.
Failure to read the signs can also lead to mayhem. How often have we been in a relationship that didn’t feel right, but we ignored our feelings and pushed through. Sometimes we don’t pay attention to the signs because we think we have no choice, or we believe this is our duty, to stick things out even when the voices in our head are screaming at us to leave! Sometimes we need an external sign to give us permission. We hang our decision making on a random event, to allow us to take a daring step. But even those external events depend on us for interpretation. How many signs may be flashing at us that we missed along the way?
If there is a truth in all this (and Nietzsche has already warned me that words are symbols, subject to the perspective of the reader), it is that the human brain and body are amazing creations. But the human spirit is even more wondrous. It cannot be measured or weighed or shown on an X-Ray, but it keeps us going through the darkest hours. It reads signs, it responds to love and faith and the mysterious energy that flows through the universe. When a loved one is sick, we look for that spark of their spirit to feel reassured that they will make it. When our parents breathe their last, we give thanks, not just for the physical union that gave us life, but for their spirit that inspired and guided us. And when that spirit is extinguished, we look for signs that it is still around, a wisp of attention that lingers despite their physical absence.
For many of us Easter weekend comes with a host of memories of our childhood. From Jamaican bun and cheese, to the English Easter Egg (chocolate for days!), my memories are definitely food related! It is indeed ironic that these Christian Holy Days were built on the foundation of pagan celebrations! A time when people celebrated the signs that winter was over and the earth was renewed, a time of fertility and life and hope! As a secret pagan and moon worshiper myself, I love that to this day the date of Easter is determined by Mother Nature – it is the first Sunday after the full moon which follows the Spring Equinox! With all our computers and manmade machines, we are still guided by our natural world.
On this Good Friday morning, a day of symbols for Christians everywhere, I hope you have time to recognize the strength of your own spirit. I hope you can take time to do those things that nurture and support that part of you that makes you special and unique. When you look for signs, I hope you see them and interpret them in a way that gives you hope. And when you read my words, I hope you find some truth in them, even if not the absolute truth! Have a Wonderful Weekend Family!