Jorge Luis Borges’ words, “Nothing is built on stone; all is built on sand, but we must build as if the sand were stone,” seem to describe the world we build when left entirely to our own devices. We build with money, with beauty, with intellect, with notions of romantic love or religion and yet even the surest of these prove to be shifting sand. As Mark Twain said, “Our best built certainties are but sand-houses and subject to damage from any wind of doubt that blows.” The winds of doubt seem to howl and sweep through our society with an ever-increasing force.
What do we build on then when all of our sand-house certainties have been swept away; and how do we build from one day to the next? In one of his teachings in the book of Matthew, Jesus Christ said to the crowd that had assembled, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” There are two key things that I take away from this parable: In order to live with integrity I have to build on a clear foundation of truth and doing this consists not merely of hearing, agreeing with and internalizing the truth – I have to put it into practice.
The title of today’s post is borrowed from the first track on Josh Rouse and the Long Vacations’ Summer 2011 Release. In this playful, sun-infused song a man simply describes the joy found in a life built over generations.