“That’s just how I feel, Mom. I can’t lie, I’m not a hypocrite.” It was a very matter-of-fact statement, made in Aisle 5 at the grocery store somewhere between the baked beans and tomato paste. The speaker was a girl, probably thirteen, maybe fourteen years of age. Her mother instantly disconnected from her mentally, and the girl reciprocated. As they ambled down the aisle filling their cart, I could sense they were in their separate worlds. And pretty soon, I was in mine. As a father of four, I fully expect to suffer that sort of rejoinder in the coming years. But what got me writing this article was the confidence and self-assurance with which we, adults and children alike, see ourselves above being hypocrites. We are quite vocal about not being hypocrites, are we not? At first blush, that seems quite honorable. In fact, let me be clear. That is honorable. No one should want to be a hypocrite. Nothing good about being hypocritical. Hypocrisy is a universally despicable attribute, best not to have applied to yourself. But we know the world has its share of hypocrites. The trouble is we also seem to know we’re never among them. So, okay…what on earth am I trying to say here? Let’s look back a thousand years in time, at giants of men and women, people of substance, their bodies and souls flushed with a maturity that saw them shoulder responsibility the likes of which very few adults in today’s world can even relate to. I will consider only one example. Umar. May God be pleased with him. Umar […]
Order. It pervades all things, inextricably linking what we sense in this world with what we cannot beyond it. It’s everywhere. The stars above, and the galaxies of souls below. The tongue, and the eternal Garden it tends to. The soft bloom of a rose welcoming sun, and a prayer answered. The silent obeisance of the trees, and the circumambulation of the planets. I imagine the marauding armies of men portending hosts of avenging angels joined in ranks, faithfully holding back for an appointed time. I suppose then that one may hope to divine the next move of a man by looking to what his child has done. But then I also expect rain at my every act of heedlessness. It seldom falls. In Sonnet Each thing that meets the eye is but a sign Of something that lives on beyond this earth; Our souls reflect celestial design, And cool remembrance brings a Garden’s birth; The answer to a prayer like the sun That bathes the petals of a blooming rose; The silent bowing of the trees as one To match the manner every planet goes. I wonder if the blood that armies spill Portends a host of angels foming ranks Awaiting the allowance of their will To carry out the justice it demands. I often think my sins will bring the rain, But all that falls are hopes that rise again.