Monday Aug 23 2010
A Word to the Wise: Tunneling through the mysteries of life
By: Tom Rupp
A recent article in the Telegraph told of the underground tunnel on Sutter Street. It brought up intriguing issues, mostly concerning when they were built and why they are there in the first place. It may be safe to go down there for a look, but I did not envy Telegraph photographer Philip Wood, whose pictures brought the tunnel out into the light of day for the rest of us. I wonder what went on down there? Do we really want to know? Don’t ask the question if you might not be happy with the answer. On a more macabre note, another story from Los Angeles tells of some old trunks and doctor’s satchels uncovered from an apartment complex’s storage room. The items had been there for at least 70 years. The two satchels contained the mummified remains of two newborn babies. What stories of woe and mystery such discoveries as these uncover. Author Jonathan Franzen was on the cover of Time magazine in an article about his newest release. I mention this for two reasons. First, he was born on exactly the same day and year as me, yet he made the cover before I did. Second, he makes good money writing fictional tales. If one has eyes to see and ears to hear, one can easily note an abundance of mysterious stories all around us that have the added benefit of being true. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that they contain truthful aspects. Who knows where the truth ends and speculation begins on many current stories? In our so-called “information age,” it is amazing how much we still don’t know. It reminds me of the verse in the Bible that says the world is “always learning and never able to acknowledge the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). Another says that some people, “although they claimed to be wise, became fools” (Romans 1:22). My favorite is 1 Corinthians 13:9, which declares, “We know only a little.” I like the character in the Coen brothers’ movie, “A Serious Man,” who says, “Accept the mystery.” That’s the way to live. There is mystery all around us. There are leads to chase and stories to unravel. There are tunnels to dig and tales to tell. Rilke declared, “Live in the questions now. Perhaps you will then, gradually, without noticing it, live along on a distant day into the answer.” Tom Rupp is a Bible teacher at Capital Bible College. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.