"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is." - Yogi Berra
As many of you know, I am a lifelong acolyte of a spiritual fraternity that bends knee to the one true gang engaged in the national pastime of the United States: The New York Yankees. Sometimes referred to as; "the Bronx Bombers" , "the Bronx Zoo ", "Murderer's Row” ,"the Evil Empire", "the Pinstripes", "Damn Yankees,", and my very own construct - “The Oligarchy of October. I make this claim – the NY Yankees are the only real baseball team in the business. Everyone else is just trying to be them. They have won 27 World Series, 40 American League Pennants, 17 Division titles, and 4 wild card berths (for years when George Steinbrenner could not shut his mouth and let the team do what they do best).
I come by this zeal honestly. When I was a kid I attended Yankee games and got the chance to meet some of the greats of the team at that time; Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Whitey Ford, and the one true philosopher of the franchise…Yogi Berra.
“What? That’s absurd! He never made sense at all! All answers to my stance on Yogi, and I stay firm on my belief on his abilities as a philosopher. His record as a player and a coach stands for itself and does not need repeating. His words do, however.
The above quote about theory and practice hit a chord with me when I read it this morning. I have some “issues” going on at the moment which have brought me to that place where I clamor to know, on a philosophical level, what the hell is going on. The “issues” are of a Basic Needs level and my needs are barely being met at the moment. I have experienced somewhat of a downturn in my life and desperately seek respite. I am currently without personal transportation for an inability to pay the monthly vig on the car note (in a town with woefully inadequate public transportation) and my internet was turned off for the same inability to pay. I haven’t been in real bad straits as I have a friend who willingly picks me up to take me wither and yon. That is, until he decided to go on vacation with his girlfriend.
I have been stuck in my house with no internet except that which is accessible on my 3G smart phone for a week. Without an ability to upload and download files, my income as a freelance writer came to a screeching halt. Well, truth is that it wasn’t traveling very fast in the first place so coming to a stop is not the catastrophe it might seem. Combined with health, home and happiness issues this has presented to me a rather dismal experience.
So here comes Yogi and the truth about theory and practice. There are many reasons why a well-educated man can achieve and maintain a comfortable lifestyle, that is, at least in theory. In practice, it comes down to another thing. In practice a life is only as successful as the person pursuing it.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This is what American’s claim in the foundational document the Declaration of Independence states. It is not a legal set of rights in that it had no force behind it to ensure these rights. But it is a really great idea.
Pursuant to this, I launched an investigation into self for the purpose of attempting to obtain my share of these rights. I have definite ideas and feelings about our founding fathers and those words are for another place and day. What I read in this famous quote from history is that these rights I yearn for (especially the happiness part) are given to me by God! It is not for me to search any further then the conversations I have with the Power Greater then myself in my life.
This calls for the employment of activities directly related to the attainment and retention of God’s will in my life. But how does this happen? Quite simply I find it eminently helpful to awaken in the morning and recognize the relationship I have so far developed with this mysterious creature that most of the world believes in and who goes by many names. The mystery of God is central to the practice of accepting and being certain of His intentions toward my well-being. His presence is not required on a corporeal level, and has most assuredly been absent since I first heard that God loves me at the knee of my Dear Sainted Mother.
So what is there left to do? If I cannot see Him, and, and I cannot touch Him, I cannot hear Him how do I know he is real? I have faith. Faith in the everlasting message I have come to as a result of bad times such as I am experiencing. This particular downturn of life events is not the first time for me and, perhaps, may not be the last. Each time there have been occasions occur that challenge explanation which have altered my reality for the better. This time will be no different.
Now what or how “better” is achieved is not of my making or design. Well, usually that is. Becoming an HIV/AIDS counselor happened as a result of worshiping my God with a group of people ministering to that population. The experience changed me evermore in that I became intimate with people who I never would have, and, it helped to show me the way to the miracle of recovery.
Becoming a teacher happened at the end of another “dry spot” in my life and it allowed me to associate with children with difficulties in their lives where my education and life experience could be an instrument of God’s will. I never wanted to be a teacher, but the feeling I received the first time I looked in a young man’s eyes and saw the light bulb of discovery pop on, will stay with me forever.
It was during another of my “recessions” that I opened a book and had the opportunity to read something I had written and got paid for. That feeling has happened several times since and WILL occur again. How do I know? I have faith.
Faith takes practice and is not overly zealous where it comes to theory. Theories must be proven, and often suffer many setbacks before a positive conclusion. Faith simply takes practice.
The best way I can explain it is with an old joke I once heard about two fellows going to a circus. They arrive at their seats only to see a monkey on a shortened version of a high wire sitting at one end behind a wheelbarrow. One guy turns to the other and says:
“Do you believe that monkey will pick that wheelbarrow up and cross that wire safely?”
“Sure,” the other guy proclaims, “they wouldn’t have it there if he was going to fall!”
Sure enough the trainer blows a whistle and the monkey picks up the wheelbarrow, walks on the line to the other end. Once there he turns the wheelbarrow around and sits down.
“Now,” the first guy asks his comrade, “do you have faith that the monkey will do it again?”
“Okay then, go sit your ass in the wheelbarrow.”
So what is my point? I’m just looking for a monkey with a wheelbarrow.