June 12, 2013: Becoming a Living Mystery

~by Louis Templeman

One of my life long quests has been to discover how it is I should live. Who am I? Does life have meaning? The great psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, declared that humanity’s search for meaning is even greater than the sexual drive. I hear the echo of truth in Frankl’s premise.

So, how do we live? Perhaps, we can begin by learning to become a living mystery. We can embrace a calling to live in such a way that our lives would not make sense if God did not exist. What is a living mystery?

The widow’s mite was a living mystery. Her penny in the offering plate was one of the few times in the gospel narrative where Jesus complimented human behavior. That such a small, insignificant moment of purity and faith could be so heralded in eternity and in the pages of Holy Scripture is a living mystery.

Family is a living mystery, or at least has the potential to be. In fact the simplest and most complete definition of heaven is to call it family. A mother breasting feeding her child for the first time is a living mystery. A craftsman taking pride as he/she looks over a day’s work is a living mystery. A moment of generosity to a homeless addict on the street (a five dollar bill instead of a quarter) is a living mystery.

It is said Van Gogh’s painting says more than he knew. Artistic endeavors are often living mysteries. The broken hearted father in the parable who forgave and threw a party for his profligate son is a living mystery. Kindness is almost always a living mystery which bears the fingerprints of God. Love and faith is the core of such beauty.

Martin Buber said, “You should utter words as though heaven was opened within them and as though you did not put the word into your mouth, but as through you had entered the word.” It would be easy to argue all day what exactly Buber meant by such an esoteric phrase, but it would be no stretch to see he agrees with the idea that people can and should live as though they were a living mystery and do it consistently enough that their lives would not make sense if God did not exist.

My great good friend and wife, Joy, is an addictions therapist. After she lost her oldest daughter to the disease of addiction she found herself praying, “Lord, I work every day with addicts and work to help them get well and here you let my daughter die of this very illness.” After a long and difficult period of grief she found her faith and her resolve to help addicts find their way to recovery strengthened. In a similar way Joni Erickson Tada, a victim of a diving accident which left her a quadriplegic, managed to develop a worldwide outreach to handicapped people that continues to touch thousands. Both Joy and Joni made beauty out of the ashes of tragedy. This is also a living mystery.

By faith, perseverance and love the human life can be lived in such a way that living would not make sense if God did not exist. This is way we can all bear the image of God.

~Louis Templeman


Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D.

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