Saturday, March 27, 2010

Is There a Problem Officer?

It is my prayer that none of our readers has ever uttered that idiotic question. Of course there is a problem! Can you seriously believe that he stopped you to swap recipes for apple crisp or compliment you on your taste in fuzzy dice hanging from your mirror? He already knows the location of the nearest Krispy Crème Doughnut shop and doesn't’t need your directions. Be patient, he will explain it shortly after he politely asks for your license and registration. Or worse, after he extracts you from the vehicle and places your hands on the roof of the car and asks you to spread your legs. If you take note that he has undone the retaining strap on his holster you are in deep doo-doo.

The odds are 9999 to 1 that you already know the problem and are just waiting for the first round of a judicial encounter. For all the criticisms of law-enforcement, they are extremely unlikely to make a frivolous traffic stop or interrupt a citizen pursuing his normal daily rounds just for grins.

To answer the question; the problem is you.

We’ve heard the mother—sister, brother, father, uncle, et al--who hears the judge’s sonorous sentence for murdering, in barbaric style, a house full of people exclaim in a tear filled plea, “My little Rollo wouldn’t do that.” This generally comes after two weeks of valid testimony and possibly, a confession. Regardless of his pleas, the perp knows full well who the villain is but may not admit it.

What this all boils down to is fully understanding that all too often when a person is wrong in either thought or behavior he will stubbornly insist on his own righteousness. In the above example; what family would wish to admit they spawned a sadistic killer? Why give away an easy verdict when you can scream your innocence?

One thing which I have always admired about the Catholic Church is the ordinance of requiring confession of sin. That necessity to purge the missteps of the preceding period forces a level of acknowledgment of one’s imperfection of which all are subject. To make that vocal admission to an agent of the Lord brings an important reminder of human frailty. At the heart of the issue is the penitent’s ability to recognize the truth of his personal condition. And, he must be willing and ideally, eager, to repent.

Herein is the answer to most if not all of the problems which plague our society. When confronted with the truth, rather than accept it, we are more likely to ask, “Is there a problem officer?” In quiet private moments, some introspective thought may well reveal the truths which we hold dear need re-examination. Is it possible that in that accumulation of data which we call a brain, we may have some seriously false information? Would we be willing to input other ideas and concepts which may alter our thinking? Can we finally acknowledge that 2+2 does not equal 3? Although a simplistic example, there are many who would argue into the night the truth of it. We see it done daily in our news sources, taught in our schools, and at political rallies.

As a personal and anecdotal example I submit that relief from personal addiction came only after certain truths became apparent. It became necessary for me to acknowledge to myself that I was a drunk with all the distasteful habits which accompany that affliction. It was also necessary to realize that a price had to be paid to recover and return to a normal life. In the words of the “Big Book”, “my life had become unmanageable.” That was thirty years ago and any subsequent success in my life since is directly attributable to confronting the truth and allowing God to direct my life. He does not intrude where He is not invited but willingly accepts a sinner.

So as a result I am now healthy wealthy and wise. No, actually I am now old, poor and continue to be amazingly stupid on occasion. However, the gifts I have had since are immeasurable and constantly reward me for one of the few really good decisions I have made in my life. He has returned the love of my family, provided sustenance as needed, insured a measure of forgiveness from those I injured, and returned me to a state of normalcy. To ask for more would be greedy in its epitome.

This example is not cited to be praise worthy. It is simply an example of what the affect of understanding the truth can bring. It does require that the lies must cease. Yes, we may continue to be incorrect in our conclusions or falter as a result of fallacious input. But for successful recovery from the deceits of life, we must be open to constant correction and re-evaluation of that which we assume to be facts.

Even as I type, I am one click away from an unending source of confirmation of fact which I may represent on the page. Only laziness can keep me from verifying information of which I am unsure. How many? How high? What percentage? How old? Who knew? It’s all there—not just for me—for anyone with the wit to check it out. Even the occasional typo is self-corrected or underlined making it difficult to even make an unintentional mistake. One can only ask where was this stuff when I struggled with English Comp?

In the final analysis, we are by nature frail and fallible beings but only exacerbate matters with any intentional reshaping of the facts. In the process, here’s a little bit of advice. If you wish to take the counsel offered here I recommend you find role models other than those you might see on TV, in higher education, among the political classes, or just about anywhere where money is changing hands. If you know people that you suspect or actually know have been beaten by life and made the turn around successfully, check them out. A lot of crazy uncles qualify under that definition. I personally prefer the advice of a man who rolls the thought on his tongue before speaking over the ready retort artist.

Most important, never, never, never be tempted to lie to yourself. We have the capacity to be our own best friend or also, our worst enemy. We are penalized by that deception. Don’t fall for the political correctness and misrepresent your condition. Learn to be comfortable with who you are and drop any false pretense. You will find folks pleasantly surprised by your honesty. You might even become the role model they were looking for.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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