1. On Truth, Faith,
    and the Cycle of Interpretation
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On Truth, Faith,
and the Cycle of Interpretation

I used to think I knew
What truth is.
When very young
I decided
Always to tell the truth.
Sometimes it was hard.
But most times it was easier
Than feeling the turmoil
Inside when I did not.
I used to think I didn't know
What faith is.
When very young
I heard the story:
The size of a mustard seed
Could move a mountain.
But I never felt
I had enough faith in me
To do very much.
Now I have come to believe
That truth and faith
Are tightly tied together.
Every moment
Streams in from our senses
And we decide what to believe.
Some new fact
Resolves a bunch of questions
And I experience a new truth.
But someone who never
Had such questions
Has no basis to understand
Or even believe
The new truth I found.
Truth is a matter of faith.
Each of us builds
On what we have believed
Up to now
In order to decide
What to accept
And what to reject.
I used to get depressed
From some new insight
That felt more true
Than what I'd believed
Up to then.
It was negative,
And fit more facts.
It HAD to be true.
I used to "traffic
In The Awful Truth".
And then someone showed me
I could find
Yet another insight
More accurate
Because it fit even more facts,
But affirmative
This time around.
I lived through
Self fulfilling prophesies
First of unpleasant outcomes
And then of happy ones.
Sure enough,
Truth is a matter of faith.
And there is a cycle
Of interpretation:
Facts seeming to add up
To disaster
And then to hope
And back again.
Now I understand
Both truth and faith.
If you hold onto
The disasterous interpretation,
You get depressed
And you lose
Your ability to function.
If you hold onto
The other, affirmative one,
You are always at your best.
And you can handle it
Even when your best
Is not good enough
And you fail.
Truth is a matter of faith.
It all seems so arbitrary.
So I've been choosing
To hold onto the hopeful one.
No Polyanna fibbing to myself.
Instead, a committment
To search for the next
Accurate and affirmative
In the cycle.
It's been working out
Quite well, actually.

23 January 2002

by Bill Cattey