Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
By Mary Regina Morrell
“Therefore I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.” Wisdom 7:7-9
Several nights ago my son decided to order hot wings for dinner. He asked the girl on the phone if the wings were breaded, explaining that he only wanted the plain ones, no breading, with hot sauce on the side. “Therefore I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.” Wisdom 7:7-9
“I’ll ask the cook,” she said.
After a few moments of silence she assured him, “No, they are not breaded.”
“Great, I’ll take an order,” responded my son.
About 25 minutes later the order arrived and my son flipped open the box to see, you guessed it, 10 pieces of darkly fried and heavily breaded wings.
Now he was annoyed. “Can you believe this?? I specifically asked her if they were breaded and she said no.”
He promptly went upstairs to call and complain, and came down minutes later with an incredulous look on his face.
The girl on the phone had explained to my son that the wings were not breaded. “They are covered with flour, not bread.”
What do you say to an answer like that?
My husband then relayed the story that, while on the job last week, he had called the same restaurant to place an order for lunch. After a curt, “Hello,” a young woman on the other end promptly told him that he had called on a fax line and that he wasn’t allowed to call that line to order. It was for faxes only.
“Then why did you answer??” asked my husband.
Ignoring the question, she continued to insist that he had called on a line for faxes only and he had to call back on the regular line to place an order.
“But you are already talking to me,” my husband pointed out.
“I know that,” she admitted, “but this number is for faxes only.”
Growing more irritated by the second, he also pointed out that she could have taken his order twice-over in the time they had spent having this conversation, but to no avail.
“Sir, you will have to call on the other line.”
My husband slammed down the receiver and immediately called the other number.
The same young woman answered, “Hi, may I take your order?”
It was like something out of a Seinfeld comedy, a parody on literalism; a spoof on surface living. But sadly, it was not caricature but as example of the reality in which many people live, unaware or ignoring, the fullness of ideas, of people, or of circumstances.
Such a world view is similar to riding on the waves of the ocean, or traveling over the surface of the earth, and insisting there is nothing below the surface.
Wisdom is never the fruit of literal living; rather it is the fruit of plumbing the depths of life. And who better to offer us insight than Job, who was plummeted to the depths of life and loss but retained his faith in God?
Wisdom, said Job, “is hidden from the eyes of all living, and concealed from the birds of the air … God understands the way to it, and he knows its place. For he looks to the ends of the earth, and sees everything under the heavens.”
We may better understand the work of wisdom by considering Job’s analogy of the miner who puts an end to darkness by turning over mountains and cutting through rock, who hangs in darkness, away from human habitation, to mine the precious things of the earth—stones that reveal sapphires and dust which contains gold.
Of miners, Job says, “The sources of the rivers they probe; hidden things they bring to light.”
We, too, must be miners of our spiritual lives, moving past the easy answers of surface living to the uncovering of wisdom at every level of human existence.
Then we, like Job, may discover that love of God is true Wisdom and the greatest of all treasures.
http://www.renewintl.org NJ, US
Mary Regina Morrell - Associate Editor, 908 769-5400
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