(Our Lady of the Lost and Found Author:Diane Schoemperlen)
Sometimes I feel fed up with all the irony and injustice in the world, utterly exhausted by the Sisyphean effort of trying to make sense of things: of myself, my life, of the world (which is both mine and not mine), of other people (who both are and are not like me)
“Our Lady of the Lost and Found” p.252
Perhaps it was more important to ask these questions than to have all the answers. Perhaps God was just as interested in hearing about my doubts as anything else. I finally understood that just as, according to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, a system is changed by the observer, so, I, too, was being changed forever by asking the questions in the first place…I wanted to be able to admit that I did not know how to make sense of it all and that, in the end, my knowing did not matter.
“Our Lady of the Lost and Found” p.253
Over the centuries, a great many things have been said and written about truth. Some of them might even be true. It is an inherent and inevitable characteristic of human nature, I think, to go looking for truth. We use the word truth in the same way we use the word history: both with and without a capital letter. We seek both the truth about ourselves as individuals and the Truth about the universe at large. Deeply ingrained in each of us is the expectation that someday we will indeed figure it out. We share the belief that finding the truth will ultimately bring the seeker only and all good things: peace, love, justice, joy, safety and salvation.
To our way of thinking, the words true and good are synonyms.
We envision Truth as a magical set of laws by which the universe and all things and creatures in it are governed. It is as if Truth were a sophisticated and invisible system of checks and balances operating behind the scenes of daily life, a system that keeps us (well, most of us anyway) from running completely amok.
To our way of thinking, the words true and evil are antonyms.
But much as we may sometimes ponder Truth with a capital T, mostly when we talk about truth, we talk about it with a small t. We talk about the many varieties of truth. We qualify and modify the word with circumstantial adjectives and strategic disclaimers. We talk about poetic truth, human truth, scientific truth, metaphysical truth, half-truth, whole truth, plain truth, simple truth, hard truth, gospel truth, the absolute truth. But mostly when we talk about truth, we talk about ourselves. We say:
-I believe in God. I do not believe in God.
-I am lonely. I am not lonely.
-I am afraid. I am not afraid.
-I am patient and impatient, responsible and irresponsible, rational and irrational, certain and uncertain, faithful and unfaithful, innocent and guilty, lost and found. I am truthful. I am a liar. On any given day, I am all of the above.
“Our Lady of the Lost and Found” p.277-278
As soon as I started liking a man, I started disliking myself. Whenever I became interested in a new man, I began to rewrite myself. I can see this only now, in retrospect, thanks to the miracle of twenty-twenty hindsight. At the time I looked with scorn at women I knew who changed themselves to try and catch or keep a man: women who suddenly found an interest in hockey, fishing, or fast cars; women who suddenly lost twenty pounds, quit smoking, or bought a whole new wardrobe because the man had mentioned that he thought skirts were much sexier than jeans. At the time, I could see the deception and the danger of this in other women’s lives but I could never see it in my own.
“Our Lady of the Lost and Found” p.285
Consider the case of two people who have recently become romantically involved. Call them Lovers A and B. At this early stage of their relationship, Lovers A and B are just getting to know one another, each trying to take the accurate measure of the other. Following the uncertainty principle, this is technically impossible. Both will change and be changed by the advent of the other in their lives.
Lover A gets her hair cut, begins wearing leg makeup to cover up those unsightly spider veins, buys new underwear and perfume, starts reading self-help books, and stops schlepping around the house in her sweats in case Lover B decides to drop by.
Lover B has his teeth cleaned, buys season’s tickets to the symphony, gives up greasy burgers for Lent, starts renting romantic comedies instead of sci-fi thrillers, stops making (and laughing at) politically incorrect jokes about women, and cleans up his filthy apartment in case Lover A decides to drop by.
Both Lovers A and B soon become kinder, cleaner, friendlier people. They are more talkative, more attractive, and more patient in their dealings with the rest of the world. They take to smiling at strangers in the street, Both Lovers A and B are, for the time being, better people all around.
Consider the possibility that, according to the uncertainty principle, by the time Lovers A and B actually do believe they have fallen in love, they will bear little to no resemblance to the people they were before they met. When I was in my twenties, I did not understand why this could be a dangerous thing. I did not understand how you are changed, a little or a lot, for better or worse, by each new person you choose to let into your life.
“Our Lady of the Lost and Found” p.285-286
I am neither the victim nor the villain of this story.
“Our Lady of the Lost and Found” p.286
Here’s the trouble with truth: it is disorganized, plotless, unsatisfying, often unbelievable, apparently pointless, sometimes boring and it frequently amounts to much ado about nothing.
Thinking about the truth too long and too hard leads me into a metaphysical labyrinth where I experience a kind of panicky paralysis, where I realize that every single thought I have ever had or pushed away, every single word I have ever whispered or shouted, every single sentence I have ever written or deleted, could just as well be false and that, if the truth were known, I might be, after all, the consummate unreliable narrator.
“Our Lady of the Lost and Found” p.287