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home : opinion : perspectives

4/5/2018 9:00:00 AM
Finding wisdom all around us

The majority of TV news is fear-based commentary, promoting the notion that the world is on an inevitable path to ruin.

Examples of generosity, restoration and benevolence surround us -- but that news doesn't sell. Hot messes do. They keep our eyes riveted and our fingers from flipping the channel.

Like the news, information is available 24/7, and much of it goes in one ear and out the other. Wisdom is uniquely different and applying it often goes against popular trends.

Our son, Sean, recently commented, "Knowledge is the sauce you put on the steak, hoping it will soak in. Wisdom is the marbling of the steak."

I'm no scholar, but I enjoy history and so does my husband, Mike. These days, he is reading about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Contrary to the abbreviated versions we often hear, the founding of the United States of America was a divisive, hot mess. Yet wisdom was undeniably marbled into the mess, and our country continues to function according to these extraordinary documents.

Thirty years ago, when our boys were little, my husband would "surprise" me and stop home with a friend from work. The cushions were never on the couch. Legos and Lincoln Logs covered the floor, and our four color-blind sons had usually gotten themselves dressed, making a memorable eclectic fashion statement.

I was mortified. I hoped our unexpected guests saw through the mess to the creativity and independence I was trying to "marble" into our four little men.

Years later, when our oldest son got married, I wanted to get off on the right foot with my daughter-in-law. I asked the advice of someone who has five daughters-in-law. This woman is a class act with wisdom I was determined to tap.

I said, "Mrs. C., our sons are starting to get married. I want all my daughters-in-law to like me. Got any advice?"

Amused by my question, she whispered, "Keep your mouth shut and move over."

Little does she know the significant role her wisdom has played. The hard part was implementing it.

Recently, one of Mrs. C.'s sons passed away. Amidst her sorrow, wisdom broke through. She said, "It was a beautiful death. People often say their loved ones have 'gone to a better place,' but it is true. While we were in the room with my son, love was surrounding us. Bernadette, love is the answer to everything."

Last week, I heard filmmaker Brett Culp speak at a conference in Phoenix, Ariz. He explored the immeasurable wisdom found in simple acts of love and how they influence the world. Some changes are seen immediately; others are delayed. But all have enduring effects unknown to us.

To illustrate his theory, he used the stars in our solar system. Apparently, it takes eight minutes for the light of the sun (our closest star) to reach the Earth, but it takes four years for the light of Proxima Centauri (our next closest star) to reach us.

Similar to light from the stars, it's difficult to sense the marbling of wisdom surrounding us. With all its joys, sorrows and messes, life often leaves us questioning.

Until everything is neat and tidy, I'm going with what Mrs. C. suggests: "Love is the answer to everything."

(Mrs. Bonanno attends St. Mary's parish in Albany and can be reached at berni@nycap.rr.com.)

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