The Weekly Dream: Symbols and Essence
Question of the Week: Is your life filled with symbols or essence?
I am fascinated by symbols. We are surrounded by symbols. By symbols we know where to go, what to do in certain situations and alerts us to consequences based on certain actions. For instance, have you ever been to a restaurant or a gas station that did not have a sign for the men and women’s bathroom? I watched several people stand bewildered in front of two doors in a restaurant because the bathroom doors were unmarked.
Symbols also cue us as to how to interact with others in society. If you see someone dressed as a police officer, in a police car, you assume he is a police officer. It might not even occur to you that he could be an actor.
And There’s The Rub
What often happens is that we take the symbol for the reality and forget what is behind the symbol. We lose track of the essence. For instance, in society money is seen as the end all and be all, when really, money has no value outside what we assign to it. It is only a medium to facilitate an exchange in resources. But you flash some money in some people’s faces and they turn into prostitutes. As the saying goes, everyone has a price.
The more interesting question is why? Why do we obsess over the symbol rather than the essence? Having a degree does not make you wise. Having the biggest ring does not guarantee a wonderful marriage. Whn the Israelites wanted a King, they wanted a man they could see, it did not matter that God gave them victory and he was their leader. They valued the symbol over the essence.
Luther Vandross understood this completely when he sung “A House is not a Home.” Getting to the essence of a thing and revealing its spirit is a process. It takes work, time and a certain level of consciousness.
Having A Form of Godliness
This is especially the case when it comes to religion. The Easter season being the holiest time for Christians worldwide, churches will be packed with delinquent parishioners. So much so, Easter service is a running joke in some communities. I am glad that these individuals get to church, but something is wrong with that picture. Too often people are playing with God. We all are guilty of it: churchgoers and non-churchgoers. When I realized this, I wondered how many people really have the power of God in their lives. How many of us are receiving everything that God has for us? The truth is not many. We have settled for empty symbols and worthless trinkets.
God is all about substance. He will not settle for our half-heartedness and nor should we. Easter is more than a nice story, Easter eggs or a Mel Gibson flick. For believers, Easter represents God’s love for humanity culminated in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
With that said, I adjure you, to examine the things in your life, do you understand the essence or have you lost sight of it? If you have, it happens to the best of us. But examine yourselves and be honest. That is the only way God can help you.
Once you have more essence than symbols, then you are on your way to true freedom and significance.
Enjoy the holiday and live the essence.
Truth and Peace,
Steven M DeVougas