Truth shows up in surprising places

Published 10:58 am Monday, March 25, 2024

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By Chris Adams

As I write this article, I’m wearing a shirt emblazoned with big, bold letters spelling out the phrase, “Hell Froze Over.” It’s a wrestling shirt, referencing the surprise return to WWE of CM Punk, a former world champion who left the WWE over a decade ago and said “Hell will freeze over before I ever come back here!” Well, he returned and on his first night speaking to the crowd, he began by saying, “Well, I guess hell froze over!”

It was a wild moment. It was unexpected and unpredictable. When CM Punk left, he did so with venom in his mouth. He cursed his former employers and dragged their names through the mud. He had good reason to leave with anger, and it really seemed like he would never step back into a WWE ring. But when his music hit last November, all the fans knew that we were witnessing something special.

And it really was special! It was special not because the fans got something that we wanted, but because it represented something truly beautiful that the world needs to see, not just fans of the WWE. Somehow, in an industry that thrives on combat, people were willing to forgive one another for past indiscretions in the hopes of charting a new and beautiful future for everybody. People were willing to set aside anger, resentment, and hatred, thus painting a picture for the world of how beautiful we can treat one another if we are willing to extend a hand of forgiveness.

Truth shows up in surprising places, like on T-shirt of a professional wrestler or in the conversations you might have waiting in the checkout line at Carly C’s. Where have you been surprised by truth? When have you been caught off guard and received something when you least expected it? We expect it from our holy books and worship services. We look for it in the writings of atheist philosophers and new age spiritualists. I find myself first going to the words of Jesus, which should come as no surprise given my day job.

Wherever you find the truth, I implore you to look for it. Don’t be a passive observer in this life. Think deeply about the world you live in, and the books you read, and the things you watch and consume. Try to find in them virtues worth celebrating, like forgiveness and peacemaking. Let beautiful truths surprise you wherever you are, and see what kind of person you can become when you let them change your life. I wonder what in my life I have said would only happen when hell froze over. Now that it has, am I actually willing to change?

Chris Adams is the Rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington.